WORCESTER, MA (July 15, 2006) -- One year ago at Essex County Club, Spitz suffered a defeat at the hands of seven-time Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year Frank Vana , Jr. (Marlborough CC). This year, things were very different. Playing exceptional golf all week long and displaying magic with the putter, the University of Rhode Island junior standout posted an impressive 5 & 4 victory over Burgess Houston (Segregansett CC). With the win, Spitz places his name alongside former distinguished Massachusetts Amateur champions such as Francis Ouimet, Jessie Guilford and Frederick J. Wright and more recently by PGA Tour player James Driscoll.
Spitz, who battled his way to 3 Up through his first 18 holes, broke the match wide open during the afternoon hours by making birdie on the 523-yard, par 5 23rd and 406-yard, par 4 25th holes. Houston, who up to that point was 3-under par through the first 19 holes, posted three costly bogies on the 22nd, 24th and 28th holes to fall to 6 Down. Spitz continued to play spectacular golf as his only miscue during the afternoon was a bogey on the 21st hole after his approach shot landed in the deep rough behind the green. He was unable to get up and down from there. But in the end, it didn't matter because he cruised along by making nine pars and two birdies before he closed out the match on the 32nd hole.
During the first 18 holes, both players began the Final Match playing solid golf. Spitz jumped out to an early 2 Up lead after going 3-under par through the first six holes. Spitz made birdie on the 561-yard, par 5 2nd hole and then drained a 25-foot eagle putt on the 523-yard, par 5 5th hole. He also drained a critical 15-foot par putt on the 3rd hole to keep his advantage. Houston rebounded by sinking a 10-foot birdie putt of his own on the 408-yard, par 4 9th hole. Unfazed, Spitz drained another birdie putt… this one on the long, 201-yard par 3 13th hole.
Spitz's putter continued to give him the edge as he sank a 10-foot par putt on the 16th hole. Spitz's only hiccup during those first 18 holes came on the 17th hole when he sent his drive off the tee way right behind a tree. He was unable to recover from the misguided tee shot and thus posted a bogey and dropped to only 2 Up on Houston. He quickly regained his 3 Up lead on the 18 th hole when his gap wedge to six feet set him up for his fourth birdie of the day. Through the first 18 holes, Spitz was 5-under par while Houston was 2-under par.
En route to his Final Match appearance, Spitz took out fellow collegiate standout Jon Curran (Framingham CC) in the Semifinals. Spitz pulled out that nail-biting match by a score of 1 Up after a 2-under par performance. Houston, who attended Johnson & Wales for two years before returning to his hometown of Wellesley , advanced to Championship Proper this year after qualifying at Stow Acres Country Club back on June 5th. He earned a berth into the Final Match after defeating Vana in the Quarterfinals and Jordan Burke (Needham GC) in the Semifinals.
The Final Match – usually scheduled for Friday – was moved to Saturday after inclement weather pushed the end of the second round of stroke play to Wednesday morning.
For complete match tree results, click on the tournament link above.