MILLIS, Mass. (August 5, 2013) — They may differ in age and stature, but Kevin Carey (Dennis Pines GC) and Ryan Clancy (Glen Ellen GC) brought the same stellar golf game to Glen Ellen Country Club on Monday.
Following the first round of competition at the 2013 Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship, the 58-year-old Carey stands tied with Clancy – who is 36 years his junior – with a score of 3-under par 69.
The starting field of 113 competitors was reduced to the low 69 scorers. Only those players will return to Glen Ellen Country Club on Tuesday to take part in a second and final round. This year's cut line fell at 8-over par 80.
For Carey this represents a chance for him to capture his fifth MGA title. To date, Carey has been victorious at the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship (1994, 1995) and the Massachusetts Senior Four-Ball Championship (2011, 2012).
He began his title pursuit this week with a round of 3-under par 69 which included a 5-under par 31 on the front nine.
“It was just one of those nines where every shot I hit went right at it and I hit a couple of putts,” said Carey.
After making par on his first two holes of the day, Carey found the red on the 387-yard, par 4 3rd hole.
“I hit a wedge right over the top of flag and had a 12 footer straight down the hill,” said Carey. “It went dead center and it wasn’t going fast. That got me going.”
With both of his playing partners in with birdie on the 408-yard, par 4 5th hole, Carey was up to the challenge as he rolled in his eight-foot birdie putt.
“The pressure was really on because they rolled it in before me,” said Carey who was playing alongside Carter Fasick (Pine Oaks CC) and Dave Houghton (Captains GC). “I was thinking that I was 2 under and I hadn’t even played the par 5 yet which is an OK position to be in.”
He followed that up with an approach on the 526-yard, par 5 6th hole that landed just four feet from the hole and then sent his 7-iron tee shot on the 144-yard, par 3 8th hole to four feet. He capped off his stellar front nine – where he was 5-under par during a seven-hole stretch – with a tap-in birdie on the 490-yard, par 5 9th hole.
“I made sure that I kept it left of the pin and down below and chipped up to one feet for birdie,” said Carey. “I made five birdies and it didn’t seem like I had been doing anything. It was just one of those nines.”
Carey would make seven pars and two bogies – on the 12th and 13th holes – but his final score was matched by only one other competitor in the field.
That one player was none other than Clancy, who knows this course as well as anyone in the field. After all, Clancy lives in Franklin and plays all of his golf at the host club. In fact, Clancy captured the club championship just last week. He becomes the second one in his household to earn such an honor. His father Chris won the club championship in 2004 and 2005.
“It runs in the blood,” said Clancy, who will turn 23 in November. “I play here quite a bit. I have been busy with work this summer, but when I play I play here because this is where I grew up.”
He certainly looked like he felt right at home on Monday. Clancy made birdie on the 3rd, 4th and 9th holes to make the turn at 2-under par 34 (he made bogey on the 2nd hole). He kept the positive momentum going by making birdies on the 10th, 13th and 14th holes to go 5-under through 14 holes.
“I have been playing a lot of really good golf lately so it was pretty easy to maneuver my way around the home course,” said Clancy, who is entering his senior year at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. “We had a different wind out here today. It was side to side and I couldn’t control the ball off the tee too well, but I got it done. I was pretty comfortable out there.”
After chipping close on the 490-yard, par 5 9th hole, Clancy drained an 11-foot birdie putt on the 521-yard, par 5 11th hole. Three holes later, he managed to get up and down from left of the green on the 495-yard, par 5 13th hole. He then stuck it close on the 358-yard, par 4 14th hole for a tap-in birdie.
“I am pretty comfortable on each tee box,” said Clancy. “The key part for me is 120 yards in. Driver is the best club in my bag so I have no problem getting off the tee. If I am not dialed in from 120 then it will be a tough day. Putting and chipping is where I spend most of my time when I practice.”
The only trouble that Clancy ran into on Monday came on the 352-yard, par 4 15th hole where he suffered a double bogey. He capped of his low round by making three straight pars for a 3-under par 69.
“I ran into a little bit of a wall,” said Clancy of the 15th hole. “I was right of the green and the chip came up short. I chipped up and two putted. That was only big flaw of the day. Other than that, it was pretty peaceful out there and I kept it together.”
Carey and Clancy will be joined in that final group by Herbie Aikens (Pinehills GC), who was first to post a score of 1-under par 71. Competitors will tee off beginning at 8:00 a.m. off the 1st and 10th tee. The final tee time is scheduled for 9:39 a.m.
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