Schedule change lets Harvey play

Posted July 07, 2009, at 10:17 p.m.

AUBURN, Maine — Jason Harvey of Bangor hadn’t planned on playing any more golf tournaments this summer after winning the Harris Golf Paul Bunyan Amateur last month.

“That was the plan,” he said as he sat in the food tent after finishing the first round of the Maine Amateur Golf Championship at Martindale Country Club in Auburn on Tuesday.

Harvey is the baseball coach at Husson University in Bangor, and he said his boss, Cindy Connelley, was going to be on vacation, so he would have to mind the office.

Plans changed just before the Amateur qualifier June 16 at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono. Connelley told Harvey she could get someone to cover and he could play if he wanted to.

“I told her it might be too late,” said Harvey, but she told him to go to the qualifier and see if he could get in.

He could, he did and he earned a spot in this week’s tournament.

“She said, ‘You’re all set,”’ said Harvey.

He shot a 6-over-par 77 Tuesday and is tied for 25th place. The top 40 and ties after the second round advance to Thursday’s final round and also automatically qualify for the 2010 Amateur.

He does plan on getting some baseball work done, though.

“[Wednesday] night, I’m going to Portland and check out some people,” he said.

How dry I’ll be

Defending champion Ryan Gay, 18, of Pittston will be taking his game to a new venue in more ways than one this fall.

He received a full scholarship to play golf for the University of New Mexico.

“It’ll be a lot drier,” said Gay who, like most Maine golfers, has been enduring a persistently rainy late spring and early summer.

He started visiting colleges about a year and a half ago.

“At the beginning of summer (2008) I was talking to about 50 schools, near the end it was about 10,” said Gay.

“I just narrowed it down until I made my decision,” he said, which came Aug. 3.

Back nine toughest

The three toughest holes for Tuesday’s Maine Amateur were all on the back nine, according to statistics kept by the Maine State Golf Association, which conducts the tournament.

The 603-yard 12th hole was the most difficult, averaging 6.095 strokes per player, more than a stroke higher than its par of 5.

The next hardest was the 160-yard, par-3 11th hole, which has a crowned and tilted green as its major defense. It played to an average of 3.937 strokes.

That was followed by the 372-yard, par-4 15th at 4.738.

The downhill 252-yard, par-3 ninth hole was the toughest on the front nine at 3.690.

Early to bed, early to rise

Don Speirs, the father of Jesse Speirs who acted as his caddie Tuesday, thought Jesse might be traveling back and forth to Bangor each day rather than staying in a motel somewhere nearby.

“He likes sleeping in his own bed,” said Don, “but that means leaving at 4 in the morning (for a 7:10 a.m. starting time).”

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