Canton, Mass. (Sept. 15, 2014) — The night before a major tournament Herbie Aikens (Pinehills GC) stubbed his toe and was wondering how he would make it around the golf course.
That concern seemed like a distant memory after he carded a 5-under par 67 at Blue Hill Country Club on Monday to share the lead with Ben Spitz (George Wright GC) following the first round of play at the 2014 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship.
Aikens and Spitz currently hold a one-stroke lead over Bruce Barboza (Whaling City GC) and a two-stroke advantage over Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC).
“I actually broke the nail almost in half and was a little worried,” said Aikens of his injury. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to walk or have to ride and was concerned that I wouldn’t play as well. I figured that I would just have to fight through it, but the toe was fine today so I should be good this week.”
One month ago, Aikens broke through with his first individual MGA Championship victory when he won the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship. At the time, he was hoping that it would open the floodgates to many more.
He is off to a promising start this week in what is his first major state tournament since that victory. His opening round featured six birdies and one bogey.
He began his round by playing his first 11 holes at 3-under par on a challenging Skip Wogan wonder that is playing at 6,622 yards this week.
After two straight pars, Aikens sent his 7-iron approach to 15 feet on the 432-yard, par 4 3rd hole and drained the putt for his first birdie of the day.
“The first four holes are really tough,” said Aikens. “To get through the first four at even par in my mind would be good and then I even got to 1 under so I was really happy and felt good at that point.”
He made another 15-foot birdie putt on the 123-yard, par 3 7th hole, used his length off the tee to set up birdie on the 458-yard, par 5 9th hole and made the turn at 3-under par 33.
His only miscue on the day came on the 533-yard, par 12th hole, but he more than made up for that hole by carding birdie on three of his final four holes.
“I was really bummed out about that bogey,” said Aikens. “I bounced back on 15 with a birdie and then I hit it to about two feet on 16 and on 18 I had a pretty easy chip that I chipped close and made the putt.”
While Aikens makes his experience on the course sound simple and straightforward, his recent performance has been second to none. Through his last 72 holes of MGA championship play dating back to August 6, Aikens has played 13-under par golf.
Since the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship, he has continued to play in weekend tournaments, but he has also enjoyed a recent reprieve from super competitive events.
“I played in the Dennis Pines Four-Ball with Kevin Carey this past weekend and that was a lot of fun,” said Aikens. “Sometimes it’s good from a mental perspective to have a break. It gives also gives you some time on the range or to work on your chipping game.”
Like all amateurs, Aikens has a day job that monopolizes his time away from the golf course. In fact, after posting his first-round score at Blue Hill Country Club Aikens was found racing to his car in order to get a few hours in at the office.
“I am going to try and get some work done, and I hope it’s not too crazy,” said Aikens, who is president of Lighthouse Electrical Contracting, Inc. “For now, I am happy with how I played, but we still have two more days and a ton of great players out here. I am going to try to stay focused and we’ll see how it falls.”
View results for Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Golf Championship