Teenager was runner-up last year

Historic performance: Cole Anderson wins 100th Maine Amateur by eight shots

Three-time winner Jones joined Cole Anderson for final round July 11; James Anderson, Mazurek, Adickes miss cut
By Mark Haskell | Jul 12, 2019
Photo by: Mark Haskell Cole Anderson of Camden at the Maine Amateur Golf Championship tournament on July 11 in Portland.

Falmouth — Perhaps it is fitting on the 100th anniversary of the fabled, historic and coveted Maine Amateur Golf Championship that an incredibly talented 18-year-old from Camden — the future, if you will, of the game — turned in a remarkable three-day, 54-hole performance and essentially lapped the field.

Cole Anderson went wire to wire to win the event as he led at the end of all three days of the tourney held Tuesday through Thursday, July 9-11 at the Portland Country Club.

Anderson, a member of the Samoset Resort Golf Club in Rockport, finished a whopping eight shots — a tremendous advantage in a three-day stroke-play golf tournament — ahead of the field to run away with the title.

The extremely fit, 5-foot 11-inch, 175-pound Anderson finished at 65-69-67—201 or nine-under par for the tourney.

The runner-up was Reese McFarlane of Purpoodock, who finished at one-under. They were the only two to finish the tourney under par. Jason Gall of the Portland Country Club finished third.

Cole Anderson, McFarland and Gall were paired together for the final round.

Click for complete scores.

Watch video and see more photos below.

Anderson finished as runner-up — by a stroke — in last year's 99th version of the tourney. The previous year, Anderson finished third in the event.

Ricky Jones of Thomaston, a three-time winner of the event and also a Samoset member, finished 76-75-79-230 (plus-20) to finish tied for 29th. He was the only other Midcoast resident besides Anderson to make the cut.

To say Anderson, a 2019 Camden Hills Regional High School graduate now enrolled at Florida State University on a golf scholarship, had this tournament marked on his calendar would be an understatement.

“This is as bad as I’ve ever wanted to win a golf tournament," he said. "For sure. I really don’t like losing.”

“The last two years, to feel like I had not only a legitimate shot, but a shot that I should have pulled out, to come back [today] and not only win, but to sort of win by a good amount feels pretty good.”

After two days and 36 holes of strong play — including 22 pars, 10 birdies and four bogeys, Anderson went bogey-free on Thursday as he converted birdies on holes 1, 11 and 16, while earning 15 pars the rest of the way to help maintain his sizable lead that grew larger in a hurry after only two holes.

“I just wanted to go out and play aggressive when I could, but play to the smart sides of everything,” he said. “I don’t think I short-sided myself once today. I was hitting to the fat part of the greens when I missed it and my speed control was pretty perfect.”

Anderson teed off on the par-4, 295-yard first hole and his ball plopped down into the bunker just in front of the green.

As it turned out, that was by design.

“That was my strategy all week was to try and hit three-wood into that front bunker,” he said. “Today I actually came about six inches from it landing in the rough just over the bunker and bouncing up onto the green. But it landed in the face of the bunker and kicked backwards.”

From there, Anderson dug out with his wedge and landed inches from the cup, and, ultimately, for a tap-in birdie.

Anderson said “these bunkers aren’t terrible to play out of.” In fact, leaving shots shorter than he typically could have was part of Anderson’s game plan for the tournament.

“Donald Ross, the designer of this golf course, that’s what he’s famous for,” he said. “You can’t miss long ever. And basically every green out here you can’t hit long. Anytime there was a question of ‘what club should we use the longer one or the shorter one,’ I basically picked the shorter one and just said ‘step on it’ and if it comes up short, so be it.”

Then, on hole two, deemed the Portland Country Club's signature hole, Anderson used a 2-iron to get to within 143 yards of the pin.

From there, Anderson used a 9-iron for his second shot and, landed roughly 12 feet from the hole before the back spin carried the ball over the lip of the cup for a near-eagle.

The ball rolled about 25 feet away, where Anderson two-putted for par.

“It’s just a really hard green to hit,” said Anderson. “I almost thought about hitting like six iron off the tee today so that I would have to hit something that wasn’t going to spin into the green. The problem is it’s not that hard to hit the green, it’s hard to keep it from coming all the way back.”

The second hole was, for all intents and purposes, a backbreaker for Gall and McFarlane. Gall, who had an ace on the fourth hole on Wednesday, carded a triple-bogey on the hole and McFarlane a double.

Not that Anderson used that opportunity to rest on his laurels.

“Reese scares the hell out of me when I’m playing with him,” he said. “He’s one of those guys that out of nowhere can make six, seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch. He’s got so much talent and he hits it so far and he’s got such a good ability to work it both ways that there’s not really a flag he can’t get to. I never count him out.”

While Anderson's approach shot on hole two was memorable, he called his approach on the par-4, 431-yard 11th hole — which he birdied — "the best shot I hit today."

"I had 185 [yards to go] which is normally a six-iron," he said. "But again, you can't go over any of these greens. It was into the wind [and] I just told my caddy 'I'm just going to try and roast a low draw seven-iron' and I just stepped on it. It started exactly where I was looking and ended up like four feet behind the flag."

Then, on 16, Anderson used a driver and ended up on the right and in the rough. However, with a sizable lead, he dug out safely, chipped close to the pin and converted what was his final score of the tournament.

Anderson said he only hit fairways with his driver 4-of-12 times on Thursday.

“Luckily the rough [here] isn’t terrible," he said. "If this had been a course where I had to hit driver all over the place, we could have definitely been in trouble. But thankfully I was hitting everything else decent.”

He added that putting his name on such a star-studded list of champions for the prestigious tournament — on the event's 100th anniversary, no less — was "the cherry on top for sure."

"It’s really cool," he said. "There’s been a lot of really great players to come out of here. I think we’re a really underrated golf state honestly. We’ve had some guys that have made some pretty deep runs in U.S. [Amateur tournaments] and guys that have absolutely dominated this tournament like Mark Plummer and Ricky’s had quite the run for sure. It’s cool to add the name to the list for sure.”

Alex Plummer, pro at the Goose River in Rockport, was Anderson's caddy.

At the conclusion of play Wednesday, Anderson led the field of 132 golfers — and was the only golfer under par — as he enjoyed a six-stroke lead with a 6-under par 140 over Joe Alvarez of Webhannet Golf Club, Gall and McFarlane before the field was trimmed to 41 players for Thursday's championship round.

James Anderson and Nick Mazurek of the Rockland Golf Club failed to qualify, as did 12-year-old Kellen Adickes, also of the Samoset, after the first two days.

After day one, Cole Anderson held a three-shot lead with a 5-under par 65 over Alvarez and Garrett Olson of the Brunswick Golf Club.

On day two, Cole Anderson shot a one-under 69, when he collected 12 pars, four birdies and three bogeys.

Cole Anderson began on the 10th hole on day two and parred the first six holes before he earned a birdie on the par-5, 512-yard 16th hole. He finished the back nine with back-to-back bogeys on 17 and 18.

On the front, Cole Anderson birdied the par-4, 295-yard first hole before he bogeyed hole two and converted another birdie on the par-4, 378-yard third hole.

From there, he parred five of his final six holes, while also getting a birdie on the par-3, 184-yard seventh hole.

"I didn't love how I played today, but I ground out a good score all things considered," said Cole Anderson, who also is a three-time Maine Principals’ Association Class A schoolboy individual golf champion and qualified for the U.S. Amateur Golf Championships in 2017. "[I] stayed pretty patient and just tried to take my birdies where I could get them. I didn't drive it great and the course definitely played quite a bit tougher in the afternoon today than yesterday morning. But I'm happy with where I'm at and looking forward to tomorrow."

Jones, on day two, shot a 5-over 75. He birdied the par-4, 368-yard second hole and had three bogeys, while also shooting a triple-bogey on the par-4, 455-yard 18th.

James Anderson, on day two, shot a 12-over 82 and 6-over 76 on day one, while Mazurek shot a 14-over 84 on day two and an 8-over 78 on day one. Adickes shot a 16-over 86 on both day one and two.

Adickes was the youngest golfer in the field.

On day one, Cole Anderson collected 11 pars, six birdies and one bogey and was three under on the front nine and two under on the back. He recorded birdies on the par-3, 154-yard fourth hole; par-4, 377-yard fifth; par-4, 408-yard ninth; par-4, 431-yard 11th; par-5, 512-yard 16th and par-3, 201-yard 17th.

“I putted nicely today,” said Anderson on his day one performance. “[I] hit some good shots [and] gave myself some good looks at birdies. And when I mishit a shot, I left myself some fairly straightforward two-putts.”

Jones, as a multiple-time previous winner, has a lifetime exemption from having to qualify for the Maine Amateur, while Anderson also had an exemption due to his qualifying for the final round of play at the 99th Maine Amateur Championship last year at Belgrade Lakes Golf Course.

James Anderson and Mazurek played their way into this year via their performances in one of the three qualifiers held last month at various courses throughout the state.

The course plays as a par 70 and measures around 6,500 yards for the championship.

Maine State Golf Association hosts the tourney. The Portland Country Club opened in 1895 and was one of the founding member clubs of the MSGA in 1917. This is the 14th time that Portland CC has hosted the state amateur, the first being in 1919 and the most recent in 2011 when Ryan Gay won his third and final Maine Amateur.

Last year’s championship was held at Belgrade Lakes GC and was won by Jack Wyman with a score of 207 (-6). He defeated runner-up Cole Anderson by one stroke. Wyman, who also won the 2017 Maine Amateur at Brunswick GC, was not in the field this year to seek a three-peat as he has since turned professional.

With Wyman not competing, Ron Brown, John Hayes IV, Ricky Jones, Mark Plummer, and Andrew Slattery were the only former champions in the field.

In all, there were 47 exempt players to register, and 85 players who earned spots at qualifiers in June held at Biddeford-Saco CC, Poland Spring GC and Waterville CC.

Any player who made the cut for the final day is exempt from qualifying for the 2020 Maine Amateur Championship at Biddeford-Saco CC.

Additionally, the top 16 and ties will earn a berth in the 2019 Match Play Invitational, to be played at Point Sebago GC in August.

Fun facts

• The field is comprised of 132 players who represent 38 golf clubs from around Maine.

• Martindale CC has the most players in the field with 13, followed by Biddeford-Saco CC with 12, and Brunswick GC and Val Halla GC with 10.

• Fourteen of Maine’s 16 counties have at least one golfer in the field.

• There is one set of brothers competing in the championship; Joe and Mike Walp from Falmouth CC.

• There are 10 players in the field named Mike or Michael.

• The oldest player in the field is Truman Libby (73), and the youngest is Kellen Adickes (12). The two players are paired together for the first two rounds. The two are separated by 61 years — which proves age is just a number.

• The mean average age is 35.9, and the median age is 34.

The field is made up of players from the following golf clubs, with the number of players from that club in parentheses: Augusta (4), Bangor Municipal (2), Barnes Brook (5), Bath (1), Biddeford-Saco (12), Bridgton Highlands (1), Brunswick (10), Cape Arundel (1), Falmouth (8), Fox Ridge (2), Hidden Meadows (1), Island (1), JW Parks (1), Kebo Valley (1), Lakewood (2), Martindale (13), Natanis (1), Nonesuch River (2), Old Marsh (2), Penobscot Valley (2), Poland Spring (2), Portland (7), Presque Isle (1), Prouts Neck (2), Purpoodock (9), Riverside (5), Rockland (2), Salmon Falls (1), Samoset (3), Spring Meadows (1), Springbrook (3), Turner Highlands (1), Val Halla (10), Waterville (5), Webhannet (2), Wilson Lake (1) and The Woodlands (4).

Maine Amateur
Maine Amateur Golf Championships on July 11 in Portland. (Video by: Mark Haskell and Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Cole Anderson of Camden with his Maine Amateur championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Cole Anderson of Camden with his Maine Amateur championship trophy. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Cole Anderson, middle, with his mom and dad, Tia and Derek. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Three-time champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, left, and his caddie, Alex Plummer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, left, and his caddie, Alex Plummer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
The crowd that follows the group with champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, right, and his caddie Alex Plummer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, right, and his caddie Alex Plummer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, right, and his caddie Alex Plummer. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, middle. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, middle. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, left, receives his award. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, left, receives his award. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Champion Cole Anderson of Camden, left, receives his award. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Cole Anderson, middle, with the television media. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Cole Anderson, middle, with the television media. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
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