BAR HARBOR, Maine — Joe Alvarez of Hampden opened defense of his title with a 1-over-par 71 at Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor on Saturday in the first round of the Harris Golf Paul Bunyan Amateur Golf Tournament.
That left him a stroke shy of first-round leader Tom Ellsworth of Gorham and a stroke ahead of the quartet of Alex McFarland of Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth, Eric Fitch of Hancock, Ray Hawley of Madison and Henry Fall of Bath.
Four more players shot 73, setting up a tight race for Sunday’s 18-hole finale. The top six in the A flight only will be re-paired for Sunday.
“You can’t win today,” said Alvarez, “You can just give yourself the opportunity tomorrow. I’ve given myself a chance, now I’ve got to do it tomorrow.”
Sunday’s final round for flights A and B is at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono. The C and D flights played at PVCC on Saturday and will finish at Kebo on Sunday.
Alvarez felt he missed some chances to go lower.
“I missed about four putts I would normally make that I wasn’t even close on,” said Alvarez.
Several players mentioned the necessity of putting from below the cup because the downhill putts, if missed, would run well past the hole.
“On three of my bogeys, I had putts inside 5 feet I didn’t make,” said Alvarez. It all evened out, though. “I think when I look back, I shot about what I usually do, 70-71,” he said.
He opened with a birdie after Ellsworth, playing in the group ahead of Alvarez, made bogey. They reversed those scores on the second hole.
Ellsworth bogeyed the third and birdied the fifth and parred the rest of the front to make the turn at even-par 34. Alvarez parred the third, one of his two pars on the front, then went bogey, birdie, birdie, bogey before one more bogey on No. 9 had him turning at 35.
Both players parred the back, but Ellsworth had birdies on 13 and 17 erased by bogeys on 15 and 18. Alvarez birdied 11, bogeyed 13 and parred the rest.
The leader in Class B, which also played at Kebo, is Jerry York with a 77.
Tops in Class C is Kevin McConnell, who posted a 4-over-par 76 at PVCC.
The D flight leader is Roger Blackmer with a 78.