Falmouth, ME – Shawn McLoughlin (Ridgewood CC – CT) made event history on Wednesday when he captured the 2013 New England Senior Amateur Championship with a two-round score of 5-over par 145.
Not only did the 70-year-old from Newtown (CT) win the overall title, but he was also handed the Super Senior Division trophy which is reserved for those who are 65 years and older. It marks the second time that he has won the overall title (2000) and the third time he has claimed the Super Senior Division title (2009, 2012). No player has ever claimed as much NEGA hardware.
“This was way beyond my expectations,” said McLoughlin. “This [event] was my first real win as a senior. I have won a number of tournaments after that, but this was the first one so it really feels good to come back and win again. This is where it all started for me.”
Following the first round of play, McLoughlin found himself just three strokes off the overall lead and – surprisingly – in a tie for the Super Senior Division title with 65-year-old Robert Currey (Oyster Harbors Club – MA). As the second day wore on, it became clear that McLoughlin and Currey were in a horse race.
In fact, after McLoughlin turned in his scorecard – an impressive 2-over par 72 under gusty conditions in Falmouth – he was told that he might be in a playoff for the overall title. When he asked if he had won the Super Senior Division title, he was shocked to find out that Currey had a long par putt to match his final score. As it turned out, Currey was unable to convert his 18-foot par putt and settled for a tie for second with Bill Hermanson (Black Hall Club – CT).
“I just didn’t get too wound up,” said McLoughlin about what went right this week. “If I hit a bad shot, I just pressed on. I didn’t let the stuff build up. I used to get really, really mad but I realized that I was not doing so good when I was mad. You know that you are going to hit bad shots, so you just have to try and not hit two bad shots in a row.”
On a day when good shots were at a premium, McLoughlin came through when he needed it most. He was 2-under par through his first five holes on Wednesday and then suffered a stretch where he made bogey on three of his next four holes to make the turn at 1-over par 36.
He then proceeded to card seven straight pars and then watched as his approach on the 510-yard, par 5 16th hole hit the flagstick and drop within feet of the hole.
“The heartbreaker was 16,” said McLoughlin. “I was walking up to that putt and I was telling myself that if I knocked that in and then parred in from there I would shoot my age. And I really wanted to shoot my age. It didn’t happen. I missed the putt and bogeyed the next hole, but all in all I played pretty good.”
After suffering that bogey on the 17th hole, McLoughlin hit a poor tee shot on the 465-yard, par 4 18th hole which left him with nearly 200 yards to the green. McLoughlin pulled out his 2 iron and landed his approach on the green to set up a two putt from 35 yards.
“That is a big 2 iron for me,” said McLoughlin. “I had a feeling that I needed that. They didn’t tell me what I needed, but I knew that if I parred in I was going to be ok.”
McLoughlin made sure that he made that crucial par and then waited patiently for about 30 minutes before he was told the news that he would receive - not one - but two trophies for his outstanding efforts.
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