CUMBERLAND, Maine — Six years is a long time to wait for redemption.
But six years it took and that made winning the 2015 Maine Mid-Amateur Championship that much sweeter for Mike Doran.
The Maine Mid-Amateur is for players aged 25 and older. In his first eligible year, Doran faltered in his title attempt, losing in a playoff at Penobscot Valley Country Club by bogeying the last hole then losing in a playoff to eventual winner Scott Sirois. But this year, playing at a beautifully-manicured Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland, Doran carded the lowest round of the two-day event -- a bogey free three-under-par 69 -- to finish at one-over 145 and bring home the crystal.
It was especially sweet for him, as he had teamed up with three Sable Oaks fellow members to win the Club Team Championship earlier in the year, and again with Joe Baker to win the Maine Four-ball Championship two weeks ago. But this title is all his own. Doran was seven over par after eleven holes on the first day, but rallied over the rest of the tournament with six birdies and no dropped shots for a score of 145 that beat Ricky Jones by one.
As the tournament director for the MSGA, Doran had considered withdrawing earlier in the week as he felt he might leave the event short-staffed. However, thanks to dedicated volunteers -- like former MSGA Tournament Director and recent Golf Hall of Fame inductee Romeo Laberge -- the MSGA made due, giving Doran the shot.
Finishing in second with the only other sub-par round for Sunday was Jones, who fell short in his quest for his seventh Mid-Amateur championship. Finishing alone in third place was Rockland's James Anderson, who shot a solid 147 to win the tournament-within-the-tournament -- that is, the top three players from this tournament not already qualified for next year's Maine Amateur Championship are now exempt.
Joining Anderson in the exempt column were two of Val Halla's home course contingent of 10 competitors, first day co-leader Jay Burrell and Brandon Wohl. Both players shot 150 to earn their spots at York.
Another Val Halla contender, Tony Polito, summed up the experience very nicely after his round: "This was a big boy golf course today," said Polito. Val Halla was represented well by not only its players but also by the staff, especially the grounds crew which brought Val Halla to the next level condition-wise for this, the final major championship of the MSGA season. Many thanks to all who worked to make this such a successful event.
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