Jack Wyman had been bothered by a sore wrist earlier this summer, but he is healthy now as he prepares to defend his Maine Amateur golf championship beginning Tuesday at the Belgrade Lakes Golf Club.
The 54-hole event concludes Thursday at the 6,723-yard, par-71 course created by late Waterville philanthropist Harold Alfond in 1999.
It was designed by renowned British golf course architect Clive Clark.
The 99th annual Maine Amateur will have 132 players from 47 courses, and the low 40 scores and ties after two days will qualify for the final round.
“I’m ready to tee it up,” said the 27-year-old Wyman, a Falmouth native and 2013 Endicott College (Mass.) graduate who plays out of the Portland Country Club. “At the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t able to put my work in for a while. But I’m finally healthy, and I’ve been playing good. I have high hopes.”
As is customary, the defending champion, the Maine Senior Amateur winner and the Mid-Amateur Tournament victor comprise the first threesome and will tee off at 7 a.m.
So Wyman will be joined by Manchester native Mark Plummer, who was the Senior Amateur winner and Peter Wright from Dunegrass Golf Club in Old Orchard Beach, who captured the Mid-Amateur title by three shots over Wyman.
The Senior Amateur is for players 55 and older, and the Mid-Amateur tourney is for players 25 years of age and older.
Wyman said he doesn’t envision any extra pressure as the defending champ.
“I’m just going to do the best I can,” said Wyman, who considers Belgrade Lakes a beautiful course.
“If it stays pretty soft like it has been, people will be able to do pretty well out there. Weather permitting, I think the (winning) score will definitely be under par,” said Wyman, who plays out of the Portland Country Club.
But the course will be challenging, he added.
“It’s one of those places where if you don’t hit it good off the tee, you probably aren’t going to find a lot of your balls,” he said. “You have to keep it in play in front of you.
“The greens are real good. There is a lot of slope to them. I don’t know how fast they can get them. They’re very smooth. It will be a good test for us. They will definitely be tricky.”
It will be the first major tournament hosted by Belgrade Lakes, said Kyle Evans, a managing partner.
“We’re very excited to host this,” Evans said. “The course is in wonderful shape. The greens are going to be a little quicker, a little firmer. They’re very undulating. Whoever putts the best will win. And we’ve allowed the rough to grow up a little bit. Errant shots will be penalized.”
The course record is 62, set two years ago by 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover.
Plummer held the previous record when he shot a 65.
Wyman said there are “probably a dozen players who could win it.”
University of North Carolina-Wilmington golfer Reese McFarlane from Cape Elizabeth, who plays out of the Purpoodock Club in his hometown; defending three-time champion Ricky Jones from the Samoset in Rockport; 2015 winner Johnny Hayes IV from Sable Oakes in South Portland; and 2014 champion Andrew Slattery from Martindale CC in Auburn are among the contenders.
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