2015 winner Don Reycroft (MGA photo)
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — During the morning hours, a dense cover of fog enveloped Berkshire Hills Country Club.
As the day wore on the sun appeared and shined its light down on Don Reycroft (LeBaron Hills CC), who had successfully captured the 2015 Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship title.
Over a period of two days and 36 holes in Pittsfield, Reycroft posted a score of 5-under par 139 to claim the Frederick J. Wright, Jr. Trophy and his second career MGA Championship victory.
This victory comes 33 years after he won the first-ever Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship in 1982.
“I won the inaugural Pub Links way back in the ‘80s so this is great,” said Reycroft. “This goes right up to the top of the shelf right now.”
Reycroft, the reigning George M. Cohen MGA Senior Player of the Year, entered the final round one stroke back of first-round leader Kevin Carrozza (D.W. Field GC).
It took only one hole on Thursday for Reycroft to draw even. He then took over the lead for good after back-to-back birdies on the 4th and 5th holes thanks to solid approach shots onto the challenging A.W. Tillinghast greens.
“To be honest I got out of the blocks real steady,” said Reycroft. “I don’t think that I felt threatened that I was going to make a bogey the hole first nine holes. I felt confident in my swing. I felt like I was making good decisions, and I just felt like I was going to have it today.”
The contest was for from over after, however.
Reycroft two putted the 10th and 11th holes, which allowed Carrozza to draw within one stroke. Meanwhile, eventual second-place finisher Doug Crawford (The International) was 2-under par for the tournament after making birdie on the 10th, 11th and 13th holes.
“I started feeling that nervous energy that after the three putt on 11,” said Reycroft. “On 12 I sat back and said, ‘You know what? You are still in good shape here. Fight right to the end and start making good swings one shot at a time.”
Reycroft did just that.
He made two straight pars and then drained a difficult eight-foot downhill putt on the 355-yard, par 4 14th hole to match Carrozza’s par. He went on to nearly hole out for eagle from the right greenside bunker on the 464-yard, par 5 15th hole to set up an easy tap-in birdie.
“That was my second chance,” said Reycroft of his par save on the 14th hole. “I could not let that get away. And then the chip on 15 was darn close. It looked really good the whole way with the speed and everything. I had about 18 inches left coming back up the hill there [for birdie].”
At that point Reycroft had built up a three-stroke lead and was able to march through the final three holes and capture the coveted title. He made birdie on two of his final three holes to post a three-shot victory.
“This is probably the pinnacle at this stage,” said Reycroft. “I have become a better golfer as I have gotten older. I have learned more about the game. I understand myself better. I understand my psyche better, my body better and I have worked hard at my game. For any one shot I can visualize three or four ways to play it. That is an advantage to a lot of people who can do that.”
This latest accomplishment comes just weeks after he finished second at the 2015 Senior Men’s North & South Amateur.
“Some of greatest and the best senior players come out of Massachusetts,” said Reycroft. “It is an honor to be a part of the crew now.”
View results for Massachusetts Senior Amateur Golf Championship