ORONO, Maine — Jason Harvey’s bid to defend his Paul Bunyan Amateur Golf Tournament title was slowed Saturday when the opening round of the two-day event was canceled due to weather.
Heavy rains at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono forced cancellation of play in the A and B flights. Rain plus lightning delays canceled play at Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor for the C and D flights.
For Sunday’s round, the full field of 288 players in the 46th Bunyan will move to the clubs where they were originally scheduled to play their second rounds — A and B flights at Kebo, C and D flights at PVCC.
Sunday’s tee times are set up differently than those for the usual final day. The top players will tee off in the first groups of their flights as opposed to the final groups, which would have been the case if Saturday’s round had been held.
Harvey, a Bangor resident and coach of the Husson University baseball team and co-coach of the golf team, will have only one day to pit his game against that of the some of the state’s top amateurs. They include former two-time Maine Amateur champion and four-time Bunyan winner Ricky Jones of Thomaston, 2008 Maine Amateur titlist Ryan Gay of Pittston, and 2008 Bunyan winner Joe Alvarez of Hampden.
Jones, Gay and Alvarez, who had been placed in the same threesome for Saturday, will tee off first at 7 a.m. Sunday at Kebo Valley. Harvey heads up the second group, at 7:09, playing with Brandon Wohl and Scott Sirois.
Two other players who could be factors in this one-day shootout are Erik Fitch of Holden and Mike Norris of Newburgh, who have been posting some very good winning scores in the Maine State Golf Association single-round weekend tournaments. Their threesome starts at 7:45 a.m.
More rain is in the forecast for Sunday, especially later in the day.
Saturday got off to a soggy start at both courses, but more so at PVCC, at least at first.
“It started raining early,” said PVCC assistant pro Errol Andrews, “then about 6:30 we had a break of about 45 minutes.”
Players started teeing off at 7, then the rain started again.
“Between 7:15 and 7:30, it started raining heavy,” said Andrews. “Six groups got [started], none made it through the fourth hole.”
There was a better beginning, slightly, at Kebo, but a flashier finish.
“When we started at 7, there was a light rain, not real heavy,” said head pro Peiter DeVos. “But I knew something was coming.”
Standing on the fifth tee, DeVos saw a lightning flash and the horn was sounded to call in the players.
“Thirty minutes later, I was ready to send them back out, and there was another flash of lightning,” said DeVos. Twenty minutes later, as play was halted at PVCC, lightning flashed again at Kebo.
“It wasn’t safe and [the course] was becoming unplayable,” said DeVos.
Play then was called off there, as well.
“All the guys were good, they completely understood,” said DeVos. “It was one of those things.
“We had a great spring and the first rainy weekend is this weekend.”