May 24, 2018
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Will Mitchell grabs 2-stroke lead in Greater Bangor Open golf

By Dave Barber, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Will Mitchell of Bowmanville, Ontario, cruised to a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Greater Bangor Open Golf Tournament on Friday.

Mitchell, who won the long drive contest Wednesday, had a couple of hiccups in the final holes but posted a 4-under-par 65 at Bangor Municipal Golf Course for a two-day total of 132.

Jon McLean of Weston, Fla., and Louis-Pierre Godin of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, are tied for second at 134.

McLean, the first-round leader, posted an even-par 69 Friday, and Godin shot a second straight 67 to match McLean.

McLean was a little disappointed with his round, especially considering he posted a double-bogey 6 on the 17th hole.

“I didn’t hit it as good today,” said McLean. “Instead of a lot of birdies, I had a lot of long birdie putts. I did make a lot of pars.”

McLean foresaw the possibility that his status as co-leader at the time could be taken away from him.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see somebody go low today,” he said somewhat dejectedly, but he did see a ray of hope in his round. “I got out of there even par, so it could have been worse.”

Tied for fourth are Jesse Larson of Mendon, Vt., and Eric Ross of Burlington, Ontario. Larson shot a 64, tied for the best round of this tournament so far, for his 135 while Ross recorded a 67.

Kerry Johnston of Indio, Calif., Rich Berberian Jr. of Derry, N.H., Alexis Anghert of Quebec, Kyle Gallo of Kensington, Conn., and Jason Parajeckas of Woburn, Mass., share sixth at 136. Johnston shot his second 68 in a row, Berberian carded a 66, Anghert a 67, Gallo a 69 and Parajeckas a 64.

Defending champion Jesse Speirs, a Bangor native now living in Memphis, Tenn., shot a 66 and sits at 137, currently tied for 11th. Shawn Warren of Windham, the 2008 GBO champ, had a 68 and is among those tied with Speirs.

“I made a few less mistakes,” said Speirs, whose first round was hurt when he hit his tee shot on No. 10 out of bounds, which runs down the entire right side of the hole.

He never gave himself the chance to do that again.

“I hit 3-wood down the left side and almost made birdie, but I did get the par,” he said, saving a couple of strokes compared to the first round.

“I easily could have got discouraged yesterday, but I told myself to hang in,” he said.

Jason Harvey of Bangor is the low amateur at 138 after also firing a 66.

Johnston also won the two-day senior pro title by a stroke over Jim Becker of Windsor, Conn. Pros 50 and older have the option of playing in only the senior competition, the regular competition or both.

The pro field was cut to the low 40 and ties for Saturday’s final 18 holes, and that came at 5-over-par 143. All of the amateurs, who compete for a separate prize pool, will compete Saturday.

Mitchell parred the first three holes before getting his first birdie, on the fourth hole, the only par 5 on the card. Then he caught fire with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn at 3-under 32.

He added two more birdies on 11 and 13 to get to 5 under for the day, but he played the last three holes bogey-birdie-bogey for his 65.

McLean’s round started innocuously enough as birdied No. 4 and parred the rest on the front.

He bogeyed 11, erased that with a birdie on 13, added another birdie on 16 before suffering the double bogey on 17.

“It was quite a bit different [with the lighter wind Friday],” said McLean, “but I didn’t play that well today. It was kind of a struggle.”

Godin birdied the two par-3s on the front, turning in 33, but he was more up and down on the back. He bogeyed 12, birdied 13, bogeyed 16 and birdied 18 to complete his 67.

Larson birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 9 to also turn at 32, then added two more on 13 and 17 for an error-free 64.

Ross never made a mistake either. He birdied No. 5 on the front and No. 14 on the back.

Speirs matched Larson’s front nine with birdies on 4, 5 and 9. His lone bogey came on 12, but he birdied the next hole and parred out for his 66.

“I stayed patient,” said Speirs. “My only bogey was a three-putt on 12.”

He figures to stick with his plan as he seeks to retain his title.

The key Saturday is “just getting the old magic on the greens,” Speirs said with a smile.

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