Brian Bickford, the executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, is determined to expose more Mainers to competitive golf.
Toward that end, the organization is trying to extend its reach by holding tournaments at courses all over Maine.
That is among the reasons the MSGA Four-Ball Championship is being contested for the first time at Bangor Municipal Golf Course on Saturday and Sunday.
Bickford said he doesn’t want to have the tournament schedule overloaded with events in southern Maine.
“And I love going to the Muni,” Bickford said. “I used to love playing the course. It’s a good test. It’s got the longest greens in the state. You can hit all the greens and still shoot an 80 if you don’t putt well.”
The Tournament was played last year at the Kebo Valley Club in Bar Harbor.
The Four-Ball Championship is made up of 32 two-player teams that take the lowest score on each hole. For example, if one golfer gets a birdie and his teammate gets a par, the birdie will go on the scorecard.
“The guys really look forward to playing with a partner,” Bickford said. “It’s always fun. It’s about who is the best team and that makes it very competitive. Partners can really get into a rhythm and shoot low.”
Brian Angis and Joe Hamilton of the Biddeford-Saco Country Club in Saco are the defending champs and tee off at 9:20 a.m. Saturday. They’ll be preceded by a foursome that includes Holden native and Duke University golfer Drew Powell and partner Will Kannegieser of Minot. Kannegieser played his collegiate golf at Williams College.
Powell won the 2014 Class A individual state championship while at Bangor High School. He finished second by one stroke to Reese McFarlane at the Downeast Metro Amateur in June held at Bangor Muni and Kebo Valley.
The golfers will tee off beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. on Sunday.
Social distancing guidelines will be in place and tee times will be staggered by 10 minutes. Two teams will go off in each group.
“It’s a fun format,” said Rob Jarvis, the pro at Bangor Muni. “The MSGA is doing a great job rotating their big tournaments and we’re glad to be in the equation.
“Amateur competitions are the heart and soul of the game,” Jarvis said. “There’s no money on the line. They’re just competing for trophies.”
He said the course is in good shape, with recent rainfall helping to soften a few things up during this unusually dry summer.
Jarvis said the tournament will boost the local economy with the influx of players and help fill a void on Muni’s schedule left by the loss of the Greater Bangor Open. The tournament had been held for 52 years but was halted in 2019 due to a declining number of golfers and sponsors.