NEWRY, Maine — Seth Sweet of Madison birdied three holes in a row Wednesday on his way to a 2-under-par 70 that gives him a six-stroke advantage heading into the final round of the Maine Amateur Championship at Sunday River Golf Club.
Sweet’s two-round total of 140 gives him a solid cushion over J.J. Harris of Bath, the 2011 runner-up, who also tied for the day’s best round with a 2-under 70 to vault into second place at 146.
The low 40 golfers and ties move on to Thursday’s deciding third round in the tournament conducted by the Maine State Golf Association. Forty-two players made the cut, which came at 159.
Ricky Jones of Thomaston and Mike O’Brien of Sable Oaks in South Portland are tied for third at 149, nine strokes off the pace. Jones is a two-time winner of the Amateur.
Mark Plummer of Manchester, a 13-time champion in the event, is among four players tied for fifth place at 151. That group also includes Jason Gall of Augusta, high school senior Sam Grindle of Deer Isle and 15-year-old Will Kannegieser of Minot. Rounding out the top 10 are Brady Chapman and Henry Fall at 152.
Mike Doran of Portland, who went into Wednesday’s round two strokes behind Sweet, shot an 84 and slipped into a tie for 22nd.
Sweet birdied the third hole on Wednesday, but ran into a bit of trouble with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5. He responded by rattling off eight consecutive pars, then birdied 14, 15 and 16 before finishing off the day with a pair of pars.
Sweet also had birdied 15 and 16 in Tuesday’s opening round.
Harris, who played in a group with Sweet and Jones, bogeyed two of the first six holes in the second round. However, he posted three straight birdies starting on the seventh and played the last 12 holes at 4 under to remain in contention.
Two-time defending champion Ryan Gay of Pittston went into the day tied for fifth, four strokes behind Sweet. He finished with an 83 that left him tied for 27th place, 17 strokes back.
The final threesome of Sweet, Harris and Jones will tee off at 9:40 a.m.