Friday, December 13, 2013
Dick Browne accepted the Maine Golf Hall of Fame award on behalf of his late father, Paul, at a 2006 ceremony.
Seven years later, Dick Browne will accept the award on his own behalf.
"A special time," he said. "I got to accept for him and was able to talk about him. It was a special time."
Browne, 53, of Vassalboro, is one of three people who will be inducted into the state's golf Hall of Fame on Sept. 12 at Poland Spring Golf Course.
The Natanis Golf Course pro, Browne will follow his father and two brothers -- Jim and Bob -- into the Hall of Fame.
Jim and Bob Browne were inducted in 2008.
"To follow my brothers and father in, it's humbling," Dick Browne said. "It's also unexpected. I found out awhile ago I was nominated but I just figured they needed some names to fill in. It's quite an honor."
Browne served for more than 20 years as tournament director for the high school golf state championships. He previously coached at Winslow High School, as well.
"I think I'm going in as a combination of everything," he said.
Next up for Browne is preparing his speech.
"My biggest fear is that I'll leave somebody out who I want to thank," he said. "I just want to thank everybody I know who helped me."
• • •
Luke Ruffing is ready for his golf marathon.
Well, almost ready.
"I'm getting back in shape," he said. "I'm running and just strengthening my core. I need to be stronger for this week."
Ruffing, 16, of Manchester is preparing to do something he's never done before: Play competitive golf for five consecutive days.
He qualified for the 54-hole New England Junior Amateur Invitational by virtue of his second-place finish in the state tournament this week.
The top six from each state qualify for the New England tournament, which runs Wednesday through Friday next week at Connecticut National Golf Club in Putnam, Conn.
The following morning, on Saturday, Ruffing will try to defend his club championship, a two-day tournament, at Natanis Golf Course.
"Friday night I will leave Connecticut, come home and get ready for a 6 a.m. tee time Saturday at Natanis," Ruffing said. "This is the first I've ever done something like this. Usually, I play one-day or two-day tournaments but never something like this. But more golf is fun."
Ruffing, who lost to Matt Kannegieser of Minot by one shot at the Maine Junior Golf Championship this week, added qualifying for New Englands was the highlight of his summer goals.
"This is what I wanted," he said. "All year I've been working to get on this team. I'm pleased with how I'm playing, especially the way I'm hitting it right now. I do know that it's going to be a marathon and not a sprint next week. It's going to be fun but it's going to be a mental strain. I'll just have to relax more between shots. I'm looking forward to it."
• • •
Pittston golfer Ryan Gay has competed in eight tournaments since turning pro after the Maine Amateur.
"It's going pretty good," he said. "I've been traveling around playing in a bunch of stuff."
Gay competed at the Boston Open last weekend, where he finished tied for fourth that earned him $300. He previously finished tied for 13th in the Greater Bangor Open.
"I've been playing pretty good," Gay said. "It's weird sometimes getting paid for it now, but it's still golf."
Gay will also try to qualify for the Great Waterway Classic, a PGA Tour Canada tournament that begins Aug. 19 in Morrisburg, Ontario.
This fall, he will move to Florida and finish up his degree at St. John's University through online classes.
"I have a full semester worth of classes I still need to take," Gay said. "I'll do that and then be done with it. Then I will try for the PGA Tour Latin America in the winter."
Bill Stewart -- 621-5640