CASCO – The 84th Maine Open was unveiled Wednesday at the steamy Point Sebago Golf Club to professional and top amateur golfers from around New England and beyond.
Geoff Sisk of Marshfield, Mass., posted the low score with a first-round 67 on the par 72, 6750-yard layout. Sisk, the 1995 Massachusetts Open champion, was out early in the day and turned in a 1-under par front nine and was as hot as the day on the back nine. Sisk birdied Nos. 10, 11, 15 and 16 to shoot a scorching 32 on the back.
“Number 15 was a tough pin placement, on a down slope,” said Sisk. “I hit a good shot below the hole and putted it back up [the slope].”
His five-footer found the bottom of the cup. On the next tee, Sisk boomed a drive on the 400-yard par-4.
“I hit a real good drive up the left side and it caught a little hot spot and it ran down there,” said Sisk.
The big drive set up a 9-iron approach that he placed five feet away. Converting the putt put him 5-under, where he finished.
Sisk is closely pursued by Dana Quigley of Rehoboth, Mass. Quigley, also out early, fired a 3-under par 69, continuing his stellar play of late. Quigley won the Rhode Island Open last week with scores of 64-64-66-194.
“I played the Rhode Island Open last Monday and Tuesday [36 holes on Tuesday] and won by 11 shots,” said Quigley. “The week prior, I played the CVS Classic at Pleasant Valley [a PGA Tour event in Sutton, Mass.] and missed the cut, so I’m on a bit of a high.”
Quigley started slow with a bogie on the first hole but rattled off birdies on Nos. 2, 11, 13 and 17 to close out the round.
The players in the afternoon seemed to have more problems as the greens firmed up and got more spiked. These problems led to higher scores. Only Rich Parker of Lebanon, N.H., seemed to solve the greens with a 2-under round of 70.
Parker is a logjam of golfers at 70. Eric Egloff of Rockville, Md., Greg Disconti of Mt. Vernon, N.Y., and Pete Morgan of Valrico, Fla., round out the group at 70.
Brian Lawton of Hampden, the winner of the Greater Bangor Open two weeks ago, missed several short putts and had trouble getting his approach shots close to the pins because of the firm greens.
“I had trouble with the greens all day,” said Lawton.
Many of the players praised the layout that opened all 18-holes just this year. The front nine was opened for play last year.
“This is a great golf course,” said Sisk. “You’ve got to keep it straight out there.”
“It’s definitely a ball-hitter’s golf course,” said Quigley. “There are huge greens, but it does no good to just get it on the green, you have to get it on the right level of the green.
The Maine professionals are led by a trio of golfers. Tim Angis of Saco, Greg Sandell of Portland, and Sean Clark of Ellsworth each shot even par.
James Pate of Lexington, Mass. and Biddeford’s Casey Bourque lead the amateurs with 1-under par 71s.
Bourque, a Florida Southern University player, aced the 134-yard par-3 17th hole. His wedge hit three feet left of the hole and trickled in.