Haverhill, MA — What was scheduled to be a 36-hole event turned into a longer affair but that was just fine with Keith Smith (Franklin CC).
Following a three-hole sudden-death playoff at Haverhill Country Club on Wednesday, Smith captured the 2013 Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship by making par on the 361-yard, par 4 18th hole. It marked his third straight par during the playoff, which had begun nearly 45 minutes earlier.
“It is just like the ducks swimming on top of the water but the legs underneath are going a million,” said Smith when asked about his poise during the playoff. “It is tough out there, but you just can’t shoot yourself out of it. You try to give yourself a chance at birdie and if not you try to make a par and go on to the next hole.”
That plan worked to perfection for Smith who made par on his first two holes. While Kearney matched him shot-for-shot, Bergeron was eliminated on the second playoff hole after his drive found the left-side hazard.
On that third and deciding playoff hole, Smith’s drive sailed just left and landed next to a large tree with overhanging branches. Kearney, meanwhile, found himself trapped between two trees on the opposite side of the fairway with no chance at the green with his second shot.
“I had 119 yards in and instead of hitting a wedge I hit a 9 [iron] so that I could swing a little easier,” said Smith. “I didn’t think that the tree would come into the play that way. And since Jack was in trouble, I knew that sometimes par is a good score so I just tried to do that.”
Kearney, who won this event in 2010, was not able to recover from his drive and watched as Smith found the green with his second shot and calmly two putted for par.
It was a fitting end since it was Smith’s putter that helped secure him a spot in the playoff. He made birdie on four of his final seven holes earlier that afternoon.
During that impressive stretch of golf during regulation, he drained a 15-footer on the 12th hole and then landed his approach on the 13th hole to six inches. He then made two eight-foot putts on the 16th and 17th holes to post a final round score of 1-under par 69. Only he and Bergeron – who won this event in 2008 – carded under-par rounds through the two-day event.
“This is my initial go of it,” said Smith, who turned 55 years old earlier this spring. “So I am really happy about the outcome.”
Holbrook Defies Age to Win Super Senior Division Title
He may be the second oldest competitor in the field, but he finished first on the scoreboard.
Seventy-two years young Jim Holbrook (Ferncroft CC) finished with a two-round score of 7-over par 147 to capture the Super Senior Division title.
He secured the two-stroke win over John Crook (Cape Cod National GC) thanks to a stellar to a 2-over par 72 round on Wednesday.
After making the turn at 4-over par 39, Holbrook carded birdie on three out of four holes on the back nine to secure his divisional victory. He made birdie on the 11th, 13th and 14th holes.
His latest piece of hardware will fit nicely next to his two Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship trophies he won in 1996 and 1997.
The "Super" 2014 Schedule
Even though the 2013 Championship Proper has just been completed, competitors are already talking about next year’s event.
Championship organizers announced that the 2014 Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship will be held at Oyster Harbors Club in Osterville on September 22-23, 2014.
“We look forward to bringing this Championship Proper back to Cape Cod,” said Jesse Menachem, the MGA’s director of rules & competitions. “Oyster Harbors Club is one of the premier championship venues in that region and we know that it will be a true test for the field.”
Next year will mark the third time that Oyster Harbors Club has hosted this event and the first time since 1978 when Bill Anthony captured the 18th Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship title.
In addition to confirmed the 2014 host site, Menachem also announced that the MGA will be introducing a new championship next year. The 2014 Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship will be held on September 8 at Cohasset Golf Club.
“There has been a growing need to provide competitors who are 65 years and older with an event of their own,” said Menachem. “We feel that this championship will be a great complement to our existing senior championship schedule.”
Online registration for all 2014 MGA Championships will go live in February 2014.
View results for Massachusetts Senior Amateur Golf Championship