News from the course

Sizzle zone: Anderson's impressive golf play as hot as weather

Rockland Golf Club member sets front-nine course record, finishes close to 18-hole mark
By Ken Waltz and Mark Haskell | Jul 05, 2018
Photo by: Mark Haskell James Anderson.

Rockland — James Anderson's sticks were smokin' hot on Wednesday, which was, perhaps appropriate because over about a four-hour period the talented golfer created dazzling and memorable fireworks on the hot and humid course in the perfect celebration for the country's day of independence.

There is no doubt the Rockport resident is a talented golfer as the young man has proven time after time he is one of the Midcoast's best and most consistent amateur players.

The 2004 Georges Valley High School graduate has experienced a higher level of success on the course than most, with thousands of standout shots and hundreds of stellar rounds under his belt.

He has won tournaments on many levels, so playing well, even under pressure, is no stranger to Anderson.

But, appropriately perhaps, Anderson found himself in the rarefied "zone" on the Fourth of July. As it turns out, his game was as sizzling as the 90-degree temperatures on the links.

Anderson, 32, had a round to remember, one that included setting one course record and coming within a stroke of another.

Playing his home Rockland Golf Course, Anderson's had laser focus and a laser-like game, as he shot a blistering 29 on the par-36 front nine holes to set that club mark, previously held by Chip Allen at 30..

Anderson, fresh off winning his second Seacoast Security Classic title in late-June, finished his 18 holes at 61, one shot off the overall course record 60 set in 2008 by Ricky Jones of Thomaston.

Anderson's impressive round included 12 birdies, three pars and three bogeys.

“My drives were decent, but everything I putted — well almost everything — dropped," Anderson said. "I didn’t have this feeling like everything was going to go my way, but I went into the next hole thinking, ‘I’m going to birdie this one, I’m going to birdie the next one.’ There was just so much momentum, you keep birding all these holes and you think you’re going to continue to birdie more, which is kind of a rare feeling.”

Anderson's playing partners were Bill Willis and Mark Manzi.

How well did Anderson play? He is a 1.7 handicap, which essentially means when he steps on the first tee of the course he is expected to shoot one or two over par, or 71-72, for 18 holes on the par-70 RGC layout.

He finished 9-under par for the 18 holes, which included 7-under for the front nine.

Anderson's playing partners essentially shot to their handicaps, as Manzi, a 13 handicapper, shot 84 and Willis, a 14, finished at 83.

That means Anderson played, literally and figuratively, on another planet. Manzi and Wills played solid all-around golf, but their playing partner, Anderson, was, on this day, at another incredible level.

Anderson's round included four straight birdies, a bogey, amazingly, on the course's shortest hole, the 136-yard, par-3 fifth, and then four more birdies to finish at 29 for the front nine. He finished with eight birdies and a bogey on the first nine holes.

To start the back nine holes, Anderson had a par and bogey on the opening two par-3s and a par on the 12th. Then he went back to work with birdies on the 13th through 15th holes, a par on the 16th, another birdie on the 17th and stood on the par-3 18th, with a tee shot that has to travel over a quarry, with a chance to set the course record.

At that point, Anderson sat at 57 and a birdie would have given him a 59 and the course record, while a par would have given him a piece of the course record with Jones at 60, but Anderson finished with a bogey on that final hole and a 2-under par 32 on the back nine — and 61 for the 18 holes.

“It was a peculiar round," Anderson said. "You usually don’t shoot that low and have three bogeys. You usually have kind of a clean card.”

Anderson said he had his game going pretty well on the front nine holes, but, “after the front nine I hit kind of a lull.”

“At 18, I was sitting at 10-under and I could have tried [to tie] for the record, but I kind of wanted to aim for the record myself and shoot under 60," Anderson said. "That’s kind of the watermark for golf. Like the four-minute mile of golf."

Anderson did not hit the type of tee shot he hoped, "which was unfortunate, but [I had to go for it]. As much as I would have wanted 60, I wanted 59 much, much more.”

That aggressiveness speaks volumes for Anderson's competitive nature and his desire to finish with one final impressive firework — a 13th birdie — and the best round ever played on the course.

Anderson, who has worked at John Morris Architects in Camden for more than seven years, did shoot a 59 for 18 holes playing a course in Long Island with his brother in March, but they played from the senior tees, which traditionally are closer to the greens, thus do not count for overall non-senior course records.

Anderson, a tennis player and golfer in his Buccaneer high school playing days, said Wednesday's round was the most consistently solid of his life, but he did not hit every approach shot stiff to the pin, as one might expect with such a fine score.

“I started birding a bunch of holes in a row [on the front nine], " he said. "I was hitting it well, but I wasn’t knocking down every flag stick or anything. But I was hitting all my putts.”

Alas, Anderson, who next will play in the Maine Amateur Championships, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the state, Tuesday through Thursday, July 10-12 at Belgrade Lakes, now must wait until his next opportunity to put it all together — get back in the "zone" — and chase that elusive decade-old Rockland Golf Club record.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
James Anderson. (Photo by: Mark Haskell)
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.