(Massachusetts Golf Assoc. photo)
NORTON, Mass. — It was a day of firsts.
Under blue skies but unrelenting windy conditions from start to finish, the team of J.C. Guthrie (Oak Hill CC) & Matthew Leger (Oak Hill CC) defeated Cody Booska (Crumpin-Fox Club) and Troy Miller (Crumpin-Fox Club) in a one-hole sudden-death playoff to capture the 2015 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship title.
It marks the first MGA Championship title – team or individual - for both competitors.
“It’s awesome,” said Leger. “It’s something that we have all probably thought about for a long time, so it’s good to get the first one out of the way and a great way to start the season.”
It seemed only fitting that this event would crown new champions. After all, history was in the making this week as the City of Boston graciously opened up its two courses – George Wright Golf Course and William J. Devine Golf Course – for this Championship Proper for the first time in event history.
“I played here probably 25 years ago in high school in junior events,” said Guthrie. “I didn’t even remember the golf course and while I was out there I kept saying 'where does this hole go'. But it was fun to be back here and saying all of those things and the course was in great shape.”
Leger concurred about the quality of the courses.
“This is such an underrated golf course,” said Leger of George Wright GC. “This was the first time that I have played here, and it is a good course and a great layout. It is just unbelievable.”
After finishing the 36-hole regulation with scores of 8-under par 132, the two teams returned to the 1st tee box at George Wright GC. It did not take long for the two to become one as Leger sank an 18-foot-birdie putt to secure the victory.
“There wasn’t much to it after I saw [Miller]’s putt,” said Leger, who just minutes earlier watched as Miller's birdie attempt rolled left. “It just fell a little right and caught a lot of the hole and fell in.”
Guthrie and Leger set themselves up nicely for victory one day earlier when they posted a solid score of 7-under par 63 at William J. Devine GC. Although they were just one stroke back of the leaders heading into the second and final day, it proved all they would need to give them a chance at a title even despite the challenging weather on Wednesday.
“We just tried to keep our emotions together because it was so hard out here,” said Guthrie about the conditions, which included wind gusts up to 23 miles-per-hour. “It was hard to make good shots with the wind carrying the ball everywhere, so we just tried not to get frustrated. We figured that if we could be even or 2 under we would have a shot at it.”
In order to get to the playoff, however, both teams used the 18th hole at George Wright GC as a springboard into extra holes.
Earlier in the afternoon, Booska and Miller – who began their final round on the 10th hole – made a key eagle on the 473-yard, par 4 18th hole. That critical shot was part of a 15-hole stretch where the pair played five-under par golf with zero bogeys.
Guthrie and Leger, meanwhile, saved their last hole (which happened to be 18) for heroics. Guthrie chipped in for birdie to move them to 8-under par for the tournament and secure themselves a place in the playoff.
“Before I hit that shot, our playing partners yelled over at me to just chip it in, and I guess I did just that,” said Guthrie.
The crowning moment, however, came when Leger watched that 18-foot birdie putt roll three quarters of the way around the cup and in during the sudden-death playoff.
“It’s just an incredible feeling,” said Leger.
It was a perfect putt on a green that Donald Ross designed so many years ago. And it was most certainly a fitting way to end a historic championship.
View results for Massachusetts Four-Ball Golf Championship