New England Senior Amateur: Jim Romaniello wins by one shot
LACONIA, N.H. (Sept. 17, 2014) — Jim Romaniello (Shorehaven GC - CT) said yesterday that if he could shoot another 71 in the final round of the 17th New England Senior Amateur Championship, he would be happy.

He didn't shoot a 1-under par 71 on Wednesday, but he was certainly happy come tournament end because his two-round score of 1-over par 145 was good enough to earn him the Harry B. McCracken, Jr. Senior Amateur Trophy.

He finished one stroke ahead of Bruce Carter (The International - MA) for what was Romaniello's first career NEGA Championship victory.

"I played extremely well the first seven holes," said Romaniello. "And then maybe some nerves crept in, but my short game saved me. I'm pretty excited right now, so it's hard for me to describe."

The nerves crept in at the beginning of the back-nine, as he suffered a double bogey on the 12th hole. He settled down right after by making par and then birdie on the 13th and 14th holes.

He would finish the back side with pars on 17 and 18 to secure his victory.

"I made a par on the next hole," said Romaniello. "I hit a perfect 3 wood, a perfect 5 iron, and then a perfect lob wedge on 13. I missed birdie by like an eighth of an inch, and maybe that got me going for the rest of the round, and I made birdie on the next hole."

He would need that birdie on the 13th hole, as he was able to edge out Carter by just a stroke.

"I got off to a pretty good start and just stayed with the pace," said Carter. "I hit a lot of greens and just played pretty solid today. I made some putts, missed some, but all in all it was a really solid day for me."

It was a fitting end to the season for Romaniello, a Stamford, Connecticut native. After all, earlier this summer he won both the Westchester Senior Amateur and the Danbury Amateur. Romaniello only started playing golf at age 30 and it has become his passion.

"I still have a lot to work on," he said. "Whenever I play with someone that is better than me, I ask questions."

He doesn't need to ask any questions this evening.

Although he has to wake up for work at 4:00 a.m. tomorrow, he is taking time to enjoy his first NEGA victory.

Super Senior Division

Going into final round play on Wednesday, two competitors - Dick King (Hyannis GC - MA) and Joseph Keller (Oyster Harbors Club - MA) - were paired together and battling for the Super Senior Divisional crown. It came down to the wire, as the 65-year-old King bested Keller by one stroke, in spite of a cold putter.

"Yesterday, I got it up and down almost every time. Today, was totally the opposite," said King. "I hit the ball better, but never hit any putts. I made all my five to 10 footers yesterday and couldn't make a birdie today. But that's how golf is sometimes."

Both golfers were tied going into the final stretch, but King was able to secure a one stroke lead after Keller made a double bogey to King's birdie on 12. Incidentally, the 12th hole played the most difficult today, with only 13 birdies over the course of the entire tournament.

"I got to play with Joe today which was great, because he keeps you on your toes, and you have somebody to compete against," said Kings. "I made a birdie on 12 which helped me pull ahead. It's funny because it really all depends on the putter. If you don't putt well, you don't score. Luckily I made a lot of putts yesterday and was able to pull it out today."

ABOUT THE New England Senior Amateur

Entries are open to amateur golfers who will have reached their 55th birthday, hold membership in a club belonging to one of the six New England State Golf Associations and have an up-to-date USGA/GHIN Handicap Index not exceeding 9.9.

36 holes, stroke play. No cut will be made. Players 65 years of age or older will be elligible for the Super Senior Division. Both the Overall and Super Senior Divisions will compete from the same tee/yardage. Pre-qualifying required for non-exempt players.

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