MANCHESTER, Maine — The Augusta Country Club continues to be a hot spot for Maine golf this summer.
Next week, the course that recently hosted the Maine Amateur Golf Championship will be the site of one of the state’s most prestigious tournaments.
A field of 156 players, most of them professionals, will descend on the historic layout for the second straight year in the Charlie’s Maine Open Championship.
Defending champion Dustin Cone of Jensen Beach, Fla., who is participating in the 47th Greater Bangor Open at Bangor Municipal Golf Course this week, returns to the site of his 2012 victory.
A total of nearly $51,000 will be up for grabs at the Maine Open, with the winner slated to take home a first-place check of $10,000. Cone won $9,000 a year ago.
Vermont native Cone goes into Saturday’s final round of the GBO with a 67, four strokes behind the first-round leaders. In last year’s Maine Open, Cone made a par putt on the first playoff hole to edge Jim Lytle of Ocean Ridge, Fla., for the title.
He also was the Maine Open champ in 2010.
Lytle also is among the 120 pros scheduled to play in the Maine Open. The field includes 105 open pros and Maine Chapter PGA professionals.
Several former champions also will participate, including 2011 winner Michael Carbone of Brewster, Mass., who won in a playoff at the Falmouth Country Club.
Other previous Maine Open winners set to tee it up at Augusta are John Hickson of Topsham (2008) and 2006 champ Ricky Jones of Thomaston. Jones, the last amateur to take the tournament title, appears to have a good feel for the Augusta Country Club layout after winning the 2013 Maine Amateur two weeks ago with a three-round total of 6-under-par 204.
Pro Shawn Warren of Cape Elizabeth, who won the Open as an amateur in 2004, also could be among the contenders. He was the runner-up in 2011.
Warren recently captured the State of Maine Championship at Sugarloaf Golf Club in Carrabassett Valley.
Jones and Warren are among only 10 amateur champions in the Maine Open, and the only two since Steve Robbins accomplished the feat in 1971 at Riverside Golf Course in Portland.
Continuing the parade of former Maine Open champions are Ryan Ouellette of Pflugerville, Texas (2002), Geoff Sisk of Marshfield, Mass. (1996), and Jerry DiPhilippo of Gorham (1995).
Jesse Larson of Mendon, Vt., who is one of two leaders in the now rain-shortened Greater Bangor Open, also will be in attendance.
The host course also has a talented group of entries in the field, headed by fledgeling pro Ryan Gay of Pittston, perennial amateur standout Mark Plummer of Manchester and amateur Jason Gall of Augusta.
Before last year, the Maine Open had not been contested at Augusta Country Club since 1960.
The tournament is a two-day affair preceded by Sunday’s invitation-only pro-am event. There is no cut for the pros in the 36-hole Maine Open, but the list of 35 amateurs will be reduced to the top 20 and ties after Monday’s opening round.
The pro-am serves as the largest fundraiser for the Maine State Golf Association Scholarship Fund, which on Aug. 5 will celebrate its 500th recipient during the annual scholarship banquet at the organization’s offices at Val Halla Golf Club in Cumberland.