Monday, March 10, 2014
Kennebec Journal staff
AUBURN — It took Luke Ruffing 39 holes Tuesday to advance to today’s quarterfinal round of the Maine Golf Association’s Match Play Champion-ships. It earned the Maranacook High School senior the right to play a familiar opponent this morning in Cape Elizabeth’s Reese McFarlane.
Last week the 16-year-olds represented Maine at the New England Junior championships in Connecticut. McFarlane finished second in that tournament while Ruffing placed 18th. Together they helped Maine to a fourth-place finish. Last fall, McFarlane won the Class B schoolboy individual title while Ruffing finished second for the second year in a row. The pair tee off this morning at 7:30 at Fox Ridge Golf Club.
Ruffing needed 19 holes to outlast Scott Weymouth of the Woodlands in the morning round and another 20 to beat Steve Lycette of Falmouth Country Club in the afternoon. McFarlane posted a couple of comfortable wins, beating Mark Plummer of the Augusta Country Club 4 and 3 in the Round of 32 before downing Bath’s Jordan Jones 5 and 4 in the Round of 16.
“I was pretty tired at the end,” Ruffing said. “The guys I played with had carts and they let me ride a little bit so that helped.”
The other quarterfinal matchup in Ruffing’s bracket features a pair of collegiate players in Portland’s Jack Wyman and Falmouth’s Joe Walp. The second half of the bracket pits current Maine Amateur champ Ricky Jones of Thomaston against 2010 match play champ Joe Alvarez of Penobscot Valley.
The second half of that bracket features two Sable Oaks players in Mike Doran and Matt Greenleaf.
The semifinal round will be played this afternoon with the finals scheduled for Thursday.
Ruffing led for most of both matches he played. Against Weymouth, he held a 1-up lead for six holes until he bogeyed the 18th. Weymouth hit two tee shots out of bounds on the first playoff holes, opening the door for Ruffing.
“From there it was hit the ball on the green, take your bogey and move on to the next round,” he said.
Ruffing jumped out to a four-hole lead through the first six holes against Lycette, who drew even on the 15th hole. Lycette drained a 16-foot par putt on the 18th hole but Ruffing matched him with a 7-footer of his own. On the 20th hole, Lycette missed a par putt while Ruffing got up and down out of a bunker for his par.
“I feel like I played OK,” said Ruffing, who finished 33rd in the Maine Amateur. “I didn’t play great but I made the putts when I needed to.”
Former Cony High player Scott Sirois of the Woodlands beat Brian Bilodeau of Martindale 5 and 4 in the Round of 32 before losing 3 and 2 to Walp in the afternoon round. Waterville’s Denver Jalette lost 7 and 5 to Andrew Slattery of Fox Ridge in the opening round.