MILLIS, MA (August 6, 2013) — There was not a place on the Glen Ellen Country Club property where one could not hear the hoots and hollers on Tuesday.
The cheering came to a crescendo on the 18th green when Ryan Clancy (Glen Ellen CC) tapped in his par putt and celebrated his victory at the 2013 Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship.
Not only was it Clancy’s first-ever MGA Championship title, but it was made extra special given that he tied the competitive course record – a 7-under par 65 – and won on a course that has been his home since he was a young boy.
“The feeling is a little surreal,” said Clancy, who finished with a final score of 10-under par 134. “It has been a long time coming. I finally got past the mental side of things and got it done.”
Along for the ride all day and serving as caddie on Tuesday was Andy Ingham, the head golf professional at Glen Ellen Country Club. The teacher and student enjoyed a special moment on the 18th green after the round.
“I have known Ryan for about 12 years now and have seen him grow up as a little kid,” said Ingham. “With how he played yesterday and seeing how his game has developed over the years, it was my intention that I was going to be with him throughout the entire round today to keep him level headed and in the moment … it was an absolute pleasure to be involved in this.”
Clancy entered the final round tied for the overall lead after posting a first-round score of 3-under par 69. With a large gallery following him all day and with staff and club members following his progress with each passing hole, Clancy rose to the challenge and delivered one of the most emotional wins in recent memory.
On hand to celebrate with Clancy was his family which included his father Chris, who is a two-time club champion at Glen Ellen Country Club.
“This is the best day of my life so far,” said Clancy. “I looked up and saw Dad, and he hasn’t come to many events… I got a little emotional before I putted out, but I made the putt and then we both got emotional.”
Before that magic moment came, Clancy had to get past some early-round jitters. Playing alongside four-time MGA Champion Kevin Carey (Dennis Pines GC) and perennial all-star Herbie Aikens (Pinehills GC), Clancy shook off two early bogies – on the 1st and 2nd holes – and began a stretch of golf that won’t soon be forgotten.
“I was a little nervous standing on the first tee next to 6-6 Herbie Aikens and Kevin Carey who has won I can’t even tell you how many events,” said Clancy. “I was tentative on those first two holes, but then Andy looked at me and said ‘let’s go play some golf now’ and we went and got it done.”
Beginning on the 4th hole, Clancy played 7-under par golf through his next eight holes to extend his lead from one stroke to six strokes with seven holes to play.
It all began on the 322-yard, par 4 4th hole where he decided to pull out his driver when many would play it safe with a lesser club off the tee. Home-course knowledge paid off as Clancy went on to make birdie on that hole for the second day in a row.
“Not many hit driver here, but I knew to take it over the trees up near the green and chip up,” said Clancy. “I made birdie there and that set me on my way.”
A cut 3-iron second shot on the 526-yard, par 5 6th hole set up a two-putt birdie from 15 feet. He followed that up with another birdie on the 357-yard, par 4 7th hole.
“I hit a good, good sand wedge shot coming in for a 10-foot birdie putt,” said Clancy. “That really got the ball rolling and I knew where I stood by then. I told myself to just keep it going.”
Fireworks went off on the 490-yard, par 5 9th hole. With both Aikens and Clancy on the green in two, Carey chipped in from off the green. Once the cheers died down and after Aikens just missed his eagle putt, Clancy drained a 15-foot eagle putt to make the turn at 3-under par 33.
He continued his domination of the course’s par 5s (he was 8-under par on the par-5 holes this week) with back-to-back birdies on the 521-yard, par 5 10th and 430-yard, par 4 11th holes. That allowed him to enjoy his largest lead of the tournament.
Several competitors – including Aikens and Brett Malboeuf (Cyprian Keyes GC) – made a run at Clancy, but they were unable to catch him down the stretch as they simply ran out of holes and Clancy did not give them any openings.
Aikens – a three-time Massachusetts Four-Ball Champion – made the biggest move when he executed a three-stroke swing with an eagle on the 495-yard, par 5 13th hole and a birdie on the 358-yard, par 4 14th hole. Clancy made birdie and par on those holes which left him with a three-stroke lead with four holes to play. Malboeuf, meanwhile, carded the day’s second lowest score – a 3-under par 69 – to finish in third place.
“I knew that Herbie was making a comeback, but we focused on just picking out our spots,” said Clancy, who also made birdie on the 13th hole. “It was not about getting it in the hole or getting it close but hitting that spot and letting it run out. That is what we did, and it worked out well.”
Clancy gave himself some breathing room with a birdie on the 15th and 17th holes and then made a two-putt par to close out the victory.
It was a truly a moment that Clancy – and the entire Glen Ellen Country Club – will never forget.
View results for Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Golf Championship