Jason Harvey of Bangor knows that winning his second straight Paul Bunyan Amateur Golf Tournament won’t be any easier just because he won last year.
“This year is a new year and nothing is handed to you,” said Harvey, who has only recently been getting his game into shape.
The 46th Bunyan, presented by Harris Golf Co., gets under way at 7 a.m. today at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono for the A and B flights and Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor for the C and D flights.
The flights switch courses Sunday, with A and B at PVCC and C and D at Kebo. Second-round tee times will be determined by Saturday’s scores. Higher scorers will tee off first, and Saturday’s top scorers will play in the final groups starting around 3 p.m. Sunday.
There is a forecast for rain at times both days, including a threat of thundershowers.
In addition to his duties as head baseball coach and co-head golf coach at Husson University in Bangor, Harvey and his wife Kristin have a baby, 7-month-old Jacoby.
Harvey, 26, has made the adjustment to less playing time.
“Golf comes second to him and baseball, and that’s a good thing,” said Harvey. “As a matter of fact, we’re sitting here together watching college baseball.”
Harvey did get out earlier Friday, playing a practice round at Kebo in a group that included Joe Alvarez of Hampden, the 2008 Bunyan champ and runner-up by a stroke to Harvey last year.
With the Husson Eagles advancing to the NCAA Division III tournament baseball regionals this spring, that has made for even less practice time.
“I’ve played four or five times in the last week,” said Harvey, a member at PVCC. “I’m starting to slowly get in my groove.”
He feels like his tee shots are coming the way he’d like, but “my short game is taking a little while to come back,” he said.
Harvey sees Alvarez, 2008 Maine Amateur champ Ryan Gay of Pittston and Ricky Jones of Thomaston, a two-time Amateur titlist as well as a four-time Bunyan winner (2001, ’04, ’05, ’07) as prime contenders.
Mike Norris of Newburgh, the 1999 Bunyan victor; Erik Fitch of Holden, a contender last year who has been playing well in Maine State Golf Association weekend events this year; and Tom Ellsworth of Gorham, last-year’s first-round leader with an even-par 70 at Kebo, could all be in the hunt again.
Harvey believes the list won’t end there, though.
“With a two-day tournament, you’ve gotta put together two good rounds,” said Harvey, “and with the field we have, there are quite a few guys who will come into play.”
Harvey isn’t counting himself out.
“I’ll take what comes,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll come in the last three or four holes with a chance to win.”
BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL YORK
Jason Harvey of Bangor won his first Paul Bunyan Amateur Golf Tournament in 2009 with a two-day total of 2-over-par 144. Joe Alvarez, Ryan Gay and Ricky Jones are among other top players in the field for the tourney, which begins today.