The long winter and late-arriving spring have finally given way to warmer temperatures and that means golfers are out in force chasing the little white ball.
More than 100 of them will invade the Bangor Municipal Golf Course and the Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor this Saturday and Sunday for the fourth annual Downeast Metro Amateur Golf Tournament.
The A and B flights will play at Bangor Muni on Saturday and Kebo Valley on Sunday with the C and D flights teeing off at Kebo on Saturday and Bangor Muni on Sunday.
There will be senior divisions in all four flights but, for the first time, there won’t be a women’s division for the 36-hole event.
Bangor Municipal golf pro Rob Jarvis explained that the Maine State Golf Association’s Mixed Championship Tournament is being held at the Cape Arundel Golf Club in Kennebunkport on Sunday so that will draw some of the women who would have played in the Downeast Metro tourney.
He also noted that they had only four women in the Downeast Metro tourney a year ago.
“I’d like to have at least 16 in a division so it will be competitive,” he said.
Augusta’s Carrie Langevin won the first three Downeast Metro women’s division titles.
Jarvis, who works closely with Kebo Valley head pro Pieter Devos, said they have approximately 120 entrants and they are still taking entries.
“It’s fine. It is a difficult time of year. You still have graduations going on and the MSGA has that mixed championship that we didn’t really know about, and that has taken some players. There’s a lot of things to play in and I’m happy with that. I’d love to see 200 players,” said Jarvis.
He has been happy with the growth of the event.
“The players are excited to play in it. It’s something they look forward to every year,” said Jarvis. “It’s a great time working with Pieter and his Kebo Valley staff. It’s good for both golf courses.
“I’m really excited where it’s gone and the fact it has gained momentum. I think it will grow in time. All things take time,” he added.
Eric Morris, the assistant pro at Kebo Valley, said he has noticed a definite surge in entrants among Kebo Valley members.
“We hadn’t had a lot of our members playing in it in the past but we’re going to have double to triple the amount this year,” said Morris. “It’s starting to grow in our area.”
Jarvis and Morris said their courses are in tip-top shape.
“Our course is in great shape. Obviously, we’re going to get a little rain the next couple of days. We’re hoping for good weather [for the weekend]. The greens are rolling. We’re excited about it,” said Morris.
“The course is excellent. We’ve heard nothing but good about it from the players,” said Jarvis. “The players are going to have a blast this weekend.”
Both Jarvis and Morris noted that the Downeast Metro kicks off the tournament season in Maine.
“Even though we’ve been open a number of weeks, this past week was the first week we saw the masses on the course. Camps are opening, graduations are winding up,” said Jarvis.
John Hayes IV of Cape Elizabeth is the defending Downeast Metro champ after finishing one stroke ahead of Lincoln’s Lance Bernier. Hayes fired a one-over par 142 and survived Bernier’s tourney-best 66 during Sunday’s second round at Muni. Hayes shot a two-over-par 72 at Kebo and followed that with a 70 at Muni while Bernier had shot a 77 at Kebo.
Jarvis said Hayes hadn’t entered the tournament as of Monday.
But 2016 champion Gavin Dugas, who owns the tourney record at 138, and younger brother Eric will be in the field and are two of the favorites.
The Dugas brothers are from Pittsfield and play for their father, Mike, at Husson University in Bangor.
Eric Dugas, who was a freshman, finished tied for 12th among 217 golfers in the NCAA Division III championships at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, North Carolina, last month.
He carded a 292, representing the lowest four-day tournament score in Husson program history.
Eric Dugas finished fourth in the Downeast Metro Tournament a year ago with a 145.
Gavin Dugas, who was a junior at Husson this season, tied for 15th last year at 152 with Yarmouth native and inaugural Downeast Metro winner Matt Greenleaf.
Another favorite will be Cape Elizabeth’s Reese McFarlane, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington who helped lead the Seahawks to the Colonial Athletic Association title this spring. His older brother, Alex, will also be in the hunt.
“It’s going to be a very tight field. There are probably going to be 15 guys fighting it out,” said Jarvis.
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