June 24, 2018
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Speirs, Stewart share second-round lead in GBO

By Dave Barber, BDN Staff

BANGOR — Bangor native Jesse Speirs shot a 3-under-par 66 to earn a share of the lead Friday after the second round of the 45th Greater Bangor Open golf tournament at Bangor Municipal Golf Course, and another Mainer, Shawn Warren of Windham, is a stroke behind.

They could both enjoy fan support, but Speirs will likely have the edge, according to Warren.

“His fans will outnumber mine 100 to 1,” said Warren, smiling.

Speirs, who now lives in Germantown, Tenn., has a two-day total of 133, and is tied for the top spot with Taylor Stewart of Bonita Springs, Fla.

Stewart, playing in the group after Speirs, posted a 64 to go with an opening-round 69.

Rich Berberian Jr. of Derry, N.H., Jesse Smith of Dover, N.H., and first-round co-leaders Warren and Jason Caron of Greenwich, Conn., are tied for third at 134. Berberian turned in a 63, Smith a 66 and Warren and Caron a 69 each.

Dustin Cone of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Eric Higgins of Kennebunk share seventh at 135. Cone, the 2010 Maine Open champ, shot a 66 Friday and Higgins, the 2007 Maine Amateur winner, had a 67.

Michael Carbone of Brewster, Mass., winner of this year’s Maine Open, posted the day’s best round, a 62, and shares ninth at 136 with a large group that includes defending champion Scott Hawley of Shrewsbury, Mass. Hawley shot a second straight 68.

Former GBO champ Rich Parker of Lebanon, N.H., won the two-round senior pro crown by shooting a 67 for 137.

On the amateur side, Lem Clement of Alexandria, Va., leads Rick Sinclair of Brewer by a stroke. Clement shot a 73 for 148, and Sinclair also recorded a 73 for 149.

Friday’s cut to the low 40 pros and ties came at 143. Those pros plus all 11 amateurs will play in the 18-hole finale Saturday.

Warren, the 2008 GBO titlist, said he’ll probably be glad he’s not playing in the final group with Speirs.

“Everybody’ll be cheering for him,” said Warren, who is familiar with hometown support because he had it when he made a strong run at winning last month’s Maine Open in Falmouth.

Speirs won’t dwell too much on what any home-course advantage might mean.

“Even though this is my home course, I have to be careful not to free-wheel it,” said Speirs, meaning he has to do more than just show up in order to win.

The short game will still be paramount for any of the contenders, according to Speirs.

“The greens are getting firmer,” he said, pointing to the wind and oppressive heat for drying them out.

There were exceptions, according to Speirs.

“Some were more receptive than others,” he said.

Speirs, making his best bid to win this event since he was runner-up in 2002 as a 15-year-old amateur, stayed out of trouble for most of his round.

He birdied the first hole, added another on No. 4 and a third on No. 7 to turn in 32. He picked up birdies on 11 and 15 to get to 5 under, but an errant drive on 17 cost him a double bogey.

“That was my only mental mistake,” he said.

“I tried to hit a hard draw down the right side, but I got too much draw,” continued Speirs.

His ball ended up about five feet into the trees on the left toward the 15th tee. Speirs tried to punch out but only caught the top of the ball and moved it about a foot, he said.

Speirs punched the third shot into the fairway, knocked it on and two-putted for 6.

“You just take your medicine and move on,” said Speirs.

Stewart played the front 3 under par, with birdies on 3, 4 and 9, and added a fourth on 10 before suffering his only bogey, on 14. He followed with two more birdies on 16 and 17 for his 64.

Warren had hoped to score like that as well, but struggled over his final eight holes to finish even for the day.

“I had an eagle putt on 13 (a par 4) to get to 7 under (for the tournament),” he recalled, but he two-putted for birdie, bogeyed 15 and 16 and missed birdie putts on 17 and 18.

“To finish at 4 under (overall), I feel like I kind of stumbled in,” said Warren.

“It was an OK round,” he added. “I put myself in position to win. … That’s what you want coming into the week.”

Speirs feels like he has a shot, too.

“The big thing was putting,” he said. “I was rolling it better, and I was more comfortable on the greens.”

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