Teenager Cole Anderson of Camden, already armed with a golfing resume that includes three individual Class A high school state championships and a trip to the 2017 U.S. Amateur, is at it again.
The 17-year-old Anderson, who plays out of the Samoset Resort Golf Course in Rockport and is soon to enter his senior year at Camden Hills Regional High School, fired a 5-under-par 66 Tuesday to take a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the 99th Maine State Golf Association Amateur Championship at the Belgrade Lakes Golf Club.
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Anderson, who in January 2017 verbally committed to continue his golfing career after his high school graduation at Florida State University, fired six birdies and made just one bogey while besting the 3-under scores of 68 turned in by defending champion Jack Wyman of South Freeport and the Portland Country Club and Drew Powell of Holden, a former Bangor High School standout who now plays at Brown University.
Ashley Fifield of Sable Oaks Golf Club in South Portland, Caleb Manuel of the Brunswick Golf Club and former Husson University golfer Joe Alvarez of the Webhannet Golf Club at Kennebunk were next, each at 2-under 69.
Former champions Andrew Slattery of Martindale Country Club in Auburn and John Hayes IV of Sable Oaks each shot a 1-under 70, as did Bill Boyington of Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono.
Lincoln native Lance Bernier, who now plays out of the Boothbay Harbor Country Club, finished at even-par 71, as did Michael Nowak while playing on his home course.
Mark Plummer, a 13-time winner of the event, shot a 3-over-par 74 in his opening round. The 66-year-old veteran, playing out the Augusta Country Club, was part of a seven-way tie for 20th place among the event’s 132 starters that also included three-time champion Ricky Jones and Daulton Wickenden of the Samoset Resort, and brothers Eric and Gavin Dugas of J.W. Parks Golf Course in Pittsfield.
Anderson, also the reigning New England PGA junior champion and the 2016 New England Golf Association Junior individual champion, played errorless golf on his front nine and scored back-to-back birdies on the 510-yard par-5 sixth hole and the 409-yard par-4 seventh.
Anderson had his lone bogey of the day on the par-4 10th hole, then bounced back with birdies on four of his final eight holes.
That run began with a birdie on the par-5 12th, followed by additional birdies on his final three par-4s of the day at 14, 15 and 18.
That was more than enough for Anderson to hold off the solid efforts of both Wyman and Powell.
Wyman, who last year became the first left-hander to win the Maine Amateur with his victory at the Brunswick Golf Club, shook off a double-bogey 6 on the seventh hole to make the turn at even-par 35, then birdied 12, 15 and the par-3 17 to stay within two strokes of the lead.
Powell, who places out of the Penobscot Valley Country Club, went the opposite route, scoring birdies on 3, 4, 6 and 8 for a 4-under 31 on the front nine, then reached 5-under with a fifth birdie at 11 before bogeys at 13 and 17 — both par 3s — left him at 3-under overall.
Play continues Wednesday, with the final round of the 54-hole event scheduled for Thursday.
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