(Massachusetts Golf Assoc. photo)
NORTON, Mass. — Pristine course conditions and low scores.
That was the storyline during day one of the 2015 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship, which is being hosted this week by George Wright Golf Course and William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park.
Leading the charge with a score of 8-under par 62 was the two-time and defending champion team of James Kroeger (Acushnet River) and Alex Stimpson (Woods Hole GC).
It seems only appropriate that Kroeger and Stimpson are going for a record-tying third title during a week in which the City of Boston is hosting the Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship for the first time in event history.
“It is a very special week for us, and we are truly honored to bring this championship to two outstanding courses,” said Jesse Menachem, the MGA’s executive director who was on site at William J. Devine Golf Course. “The City of Boston has welcomed us with open arms, and our competitors are enjoying a unique challenge at two historic venues.”
If successful, Kroeger and Stimpson will become only the second team in event history to capture three MGA Four-Ball titles. They won this title in 2012 and 2014, and their experience shows through both in their poise on the course as well as their mindset heading into the final 18 holes of regulation
“Get a good night’s sleep,” said Stimpson with a laugh when asked what the game plan was for Wednesday when he and Kroeger tee off at George Wright GC. “The golf course is going to be totally different. You can’t say that you are going to roll it over to the next day because you have to take what each golf course gives you… we just need to go out and play our game.”
That game was simply outstanding on Tuesday.
After beginning their round on the back nine at William J. Devine GC and finding themselves 1-over par through three holes, the duo found a rhythm and went on to make nine birdies through their final 15 holes.
“We just play well together, and we know how to talk each other out of problems I guess,” said Stimpson. “I was really struggling the first four or five holes and he played great and kept us going. He held us together, and then we just clicked.”
Following their lone bogey on the 404-yard, par 4 12th hole, Stimpson carded his first birdie of the day on the 139-yard, par 3 13th hole and then Kroeger took over by making three straight birdies on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes to make the turn at 3-under par 33.
Stimpson and Kroeger finished with three and two birdies, respectively, through the final nine holes.
“We both had 29 on the front, so we were definitely feeding off each other,” said Stimpson.
Much like the rest of the field, both players had limited time to prepare for this week. They are full-time employees at the Acushnet Company and Stimpson is a father to a baby girl born earlier this year.
“I played nine holes between October and May,” said Kroeger. “I recently played a five-round event in Houston which was bad for my playing partner but great for me to get the kinks out.”
View results for Massachusetts Four-Ball Golf Championship