CAPE ELIZABETH – Keith Patterson was the only player to shoot even par at Purpoodock Club on Tuesday and holds the lead at the halfway point of the 61st Maine Senior Amateur Championship. A trio of players sit one stroke back after opening with rounds of 72, and nine players are within four strokes, meaning this tournament is still wide open with 18 holes to play.

It has been a few years since Purpoodock has hosted a Maine Golf championship, and many of the players in the field were surprised to see the amount of trees removed around the Cape Elizabeth layout, which opened in 1922 and is celebrating its centennial this year. The course proved a tough but fair test of golf on day one, yielding no rounds under par on the opening day.

Patterson’s even-par 71 was jumpstarted early with a dream start, beginning with a birdie on the 1st and a hole out eagle on 2. Despite giving back five shots in the middle of his round, the Biddeford-Saco member birdied the 16th and 17th holes to get back to even on the day. He’ll be joined in Wednesday’s final pairing with Dave Bucci (Portland CC) and 2020 Senior champion Daniel Falcone (Riverside GC), who shot 72 on day one. Claude Hoopes (Island CC) was the other player who carded 72 and sits just one stroke back.

In a sub-plot that will play out today is the race for the 2022 Senior Player of the Year title. The wrap-around season points race ends on August 31, and entering the tournament three players from Biddeford-Saco sit within 20 points of each other, meaning that today’s championship with its large points total will likely decide who wins the yearly accolade. Mike O’Brien currently holds a narrow lead on fellow members and good friends Scott Dewitt and Patterson. O’Brien and Dewitt both shot 76 in the first round at Purpoodock, meaning that the race is still within their grasp despite Patterson’s tournament lead.

Play will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, with the leaders set to tee off at 2:20 p.m.

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