Former winners and Cape Elizabeth natives Reese McFarlane and John Hayes IV will tee off together at 7:50 a.m. Saturday at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course on the first day of the 8th annual Downeast Metro Amateur golf tournament.
The 36-hole tournament is held at the Bangor Muni as well as the Kebo Valley Club in Bar Harbor.
The A and B flights will play in Bangor on Saturday and at Kebo on Sunday while the C and D flights will tee off at Kebo on Saturday and Bangor Muni on Sunday.
Last year’s winner, Topsham’s Caleb Manuel, who shot a tournament-record 12-under-par 129, won’t be back to defend his title because he is preparing for the U.S. Open on June 16-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Manuel, who just completed his sophomore season at the University of Connecticut, earned his spot at a 36-hole Monday qualifier at two courses in New York.
McFarlane, a former player at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, won the 2020 Downeast Metro with a two-under 139 and Hayes triumphed in 2017 with a one-over 142.
Hayes formerly played college golf at Towson (Maryland) and the University of Colorado.
They will be in a threesome with Gorham native Nathan Roop, who formerly played at Maine Maritime Academy.
McFarlane and Hayes will be two of the favorites and another will be former Brown University and Duke University golfer Drew Powell from Holden.
Powell, who won the state Class A individual championship when he was at Bangor High School in 2014, finished one shot behind McFarlane in 2020.
There will be 171 golfers in the field, three fewer than last year’s record-setting number.
“When you have two consecutive big fields, it makes you feel good about what you’re doing, for sure,” said Bangor Muni golf pro Rob Jarvis.
Pieter DeVos, the pro at Kebo, said he and Jarvis hoped the tournament would grow like it has when they started it.
“It’s great to see. The players support it,” DeVos said.
Both pros said their courses are in exceptional condition.
The Bangor Muni is a 6,345-yard course and the par is 71 while Kebo is a par 70 and plays 6,131 yards long.
Presque Isle’s Ralph Michaud has played in all seven Downeast Metro tournaments and has a Seniors Division championship to his credit.
He said the two courses offer a distinct contrast and his scores one year exhibited that disparity.
“I shot a 70 at Bangor Muni and an 80 at Kebo the next day,” said the 61-year-old Michaud. “Bangor is a little more open. The greens aren’t as undulating. There’s a little more room for error.
“You have to place the ball around the course smartly at Kebo. And the greens are fast,” he added.
He thoroughly enjoys the tournament and said Jarvis and DeVos have done a “real nice job with it.”
He enjoys playing the Bangor Muni but admitted that playing Kebo is special.
“I told somebody at the Maine Amateur last year that Kebo is like a high school senior girl, and I am like a freshman boy. The senior girl doesn’t know I’m alive,” Michaud said.
He thought it was “pretty awesome” that last year’s winner is going to play in the U.S. Open, one of the four major tournaments.
“That’s wicked cool. And it’s being held in New England, and he’s a New England guy,” said Michaud, who plans to attend the tournament a week from Friday.