NEWRY, Maine — Seth Sweet of Madison birdied the 15th and 16th holes at Sunday River Golf Club on Tuesday to post a 2-under-par 70 and take a two-stroke lead in the Maine Amateur Golf Championship.
Mike Doran of Portland is alone in second in the field of 128 at even-par 72 in the first day of the three-day tournament conducted by the Maine State Golf Association.
Len Cole of Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono and Mike O’Brien of Sable Oaks in South Portland are tied for third at 73.
Two-time defending champion Ryan Gay of Pittston is tied for fifth at 74, 2008 Bunyan champ and reigning Maine Mid-Amateur winner Joe Alvarez of Hampden shot 75, two-time Amateur titlist Ricky Jones of Thomaston and 2011 runner-up JJ Harris of Bath are tied for 12th at 76, and 13-time Amateur victor and defending Maine Senior Amateur champion Mark Plummer of Manchester shares 20th spot after shooting a 78.
The competitors will play a second 18 holes Wednesday, after which there will be a cut to the low 40 and ties for Thursday’s 18-hole final.
Sweet, who teed off in late morning, opened with a birdie, but he bounced up and down between 1 under par and 1 over par. He returned to even par after bogeying the 14th hole before making his final two birdies on 15 and 16. He parred the last two holes, including a tough, par-4 18th, to stay at 2 under.
The 18th hole, a 443-yard dogleg left par-4 with out of bounds on the right side, has had three players post double-figure scores there, but that kind of result has been registered on other holes as well.
Doran also birdied the first hole, then bogeyed Nos. 2 and 5. He birdied eight and 12 to get back under par, but a bogey on the 497-yard, par-4 17th left him at even.
O’Brien birdied three of the first four holes, then had to withstand a bogey string to get in at 73. Cole bogeyed Nos. 2 and 4, then erased them with birdies on Nos. 5 and 9. He bogeyed 10 and 14 before getting a stroke back with a birdie on 16, then parred the last two for his 73.