KENNEBUNK – After the first day of play at the 2022 Maine Amateur Championship, Webhannet GC showed its teeth to the field of 132 players from across the state. Despite the short yardage that the scorecard shows, the course played difficult in the opening round with some gusty winds and tricky greens testing the field on day one. Mike Arsenault, Jr. led all scorers on day one, firing an opening 68 (-3) to take a two shot lead into tomorrow’s second round.
Arsenault, a southpaw who plays out of Val Halla GC, started on Webhannet’s back nine and made birdie on 11 to get into red numbers early in his round. He never got worse than even par on the day in an up-and-down round that included seven birdies against four bogeys to lead the field with his opening 68. Arsenault has played well in the last few Maine Amateurs, but hopes to keep his momentum going over the next two days to earn his first Maine Golf major victory.
Only six players broke par on Tuesday’s opening round, including two players who went out in the opening pairing of the tournament. Mike O’Brien (Biddeford-Saco CC) and Ron Kelton (Purpoodock Club) earned their spots in one of the marquis groupings by virtue of winning the Senior Amateur and Mid-Amateur, respectively, in the last year. They both shot 70 (-1) to remain close to the lead after day one.
Playing with O’Brien and Kelton was defending champion Caleb Manuel (Brunswick GC), who faltered late with bogeys on three of his last four holes to shoot 72. Manuel remains within striking distance with two rounds to play, as he hopes to be the third consecutive player to win back-to-back Maine Am titles, following Jack Wyman and Cole Anderson who claimed the four titles that preceded Manuel’s win last year at Kebo Valley.
Jason Gall (Portland CC), Mitchell Tarrio (Augusta CC), and Andrew Slattery (Portland CC) were the only other players to break par on Tuesday, also shooting a round of one-under 70. Gall had the only clean card on the day from the field, impressively making 17 pars and one birdie. Slattery is a former champion of the tournament, having won at the Woodlands Club in 2014.
The weather got windier as the day went on, and as the course got more difficult, so was the scoring. Of the players in the top ten after day one, eight went out in the morning wave to take advantage of the more benign conditions. Toward the end of the day some thunderstorms were near the golf course, but play was luckily able to conclude for the entire field before any severe weather forced a stoppage in play.
The second round will begin at 7:30 a.m. again tomorrow, with play going off of both tees in morning and afternoon waves. When all 132 players have completed 36 holes of play, the low 40 players (and ties) will advance to Thursday’s final round.