PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Kevin Carrozza (D.W. Field GC) wasn’t sure what to expect this week at Berkshire Hills Country Club but he is happy with the results thus far.
Following the first of two rounds of play at the 2015 Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship, Carrozza holds a one-stroke lead following a round of 3-under par 69.
“I have been playing so badly lately it isn’t even funny,” said Carrozza. “I am just trying to find a game and trying to find a swing. I went to the driving range today and figured something out and it worked all day. It was crazy.”
The adjustment made hours before he teed off at Berkshire Hills Country Club led him to a round that featured four birdies and one bogey. He also managed to find 13 greens in regulation.
“I was hitting good irons today and that is key,” said Carrozza. “When my irons are no good and I hit only six or seven greens, I have to rely on my chipping. I do that pretty well, but when I hit 13 greens like I did today I know that I can put in a decent round.”
Beginning his round on the Berkshire Hill CC back nine, Carrozza scored his first birdie by almost holing out from 150 yards on the 330-yard, par 4 12th hole. He drained that 18-inch birdie putt and then ran into trouble just two holes later.
His drive off the 350-yard, par 4 14th hole found the trees and he was left with few options.
“I had a little window to go through,” said Carrozza. “I said to myself that I am just going to hit an 8 iron through the window and if I hit the trees I hit it. I had an eight-foot window and I was able to park it on the green and made a par. That’s all I wanted.”
He made the turn at 2-under par after making birdie on the 127-yard, par 3 17th hole where he landed his tee shot to three feet. He suffered a lone bogey on the 2nd hole – his 11th hole of the day – after his drive found the trees. He more than made up for that miscue by carding birdie on the 168-yard, par 3 7th and 413-yard, par 4 8th holes. He made nearly 50 feet of putts between those two holes.
“It worked today,” said Carrozza, who was able to get up and down on his final hole for par to preserve a 3-under par round. “My putting was on and my irons were on. That’s what it takes.”
Sitting just one stroke back of Carrozza with scores of 2-under par 70 are Robert Currey (Brae Burn CC) and Don Reycroft (LeBaron Hills CC).
Reycroft, the reigning George M. Cohen MGA Senior Player of the Year, made three birdies (along with two bogies) on the front and then played 1-under par golf on the back nine to secure his place in second overall following round one.
“It played pretty solid today; it was a good day,” said Reycroft. “I played it for the first time on Sunday. I liked the layout. It isn’t a super long golf course, but you have to be able to place the ball off the tee and know what angles to come in at the flagsticks. It makes you think, and I like those kinds of golf courses.”
Last year, Reycroft advanced to match play at the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. And earlier this summer, he finished second to Paul Simson at the 2015 Senior Men’s North & South Amateur. During that competition, Reycroft led through two of the three rounds and carded five birdies to post a 31 on the back nine during day one.
“I am so passionate about this game and I love it so much,” said Reycroft. “I get excited about it and it’s fun. I love the competition.”
Another golfer who was surprised but content with his play was Currey.
“It was a lovely day, and I enjoyed the course," said Currey. "It had some width, which is very important for someone who drives it all over the place like me. The greens were a perfect speed for the slopes and I made some birdies.”
Currey’s round featured three birdies that all came on the back nine – on the 10th, 15th and 18th holes – and a lone bogey. On the day, Curry was 3-under par on the par 5 holes. He capped off his round by sending his greenside bunker shot on the 486-yard, par 5 18th hole to a foot.
“Golf is fickle,” said Currey. “I had no reason to think that I was going to play decent, but I hit 17 greens. I missed the green to the right on the par 3 3rd hole and couldn’t get up and down and made bogey and that was it.”
Incredibly, today was the first time that Currey had ever laid eyes on the Berkshire gem.
“I think that it’s often good for me because I don’t know where the trouble is,” said Currey. “A friend of mine played the course yesterday and he said the only holes to worry about are 12 and 14 and to make sure you lay it up 200 yards or so somewhere out there on the left. That’s what I did and put it in the fairway. There was no angst or anxiety. It was just good golf, and I am always surprised when it happens.”
View results for Massachusetts Senior Amateur Golf Championship