Mass. Four-Ball: Herbie Aikens and Matt Parziale Capture title
(L-R) Herb Aikens and Matt Parziale with Massachusetts Four-Ball trophy <br>(MGA Photo)</br>
(L-R) Herb Aikens and Matt Parziale with Massachusetts Four-Ball trophy
(MGA Photo)
FRAMINGHAM, MA (May 2, 2016) - You can put two great players together but it doesn’t necessarily make them a great team.

Herbie Aikens (Pinehills GC) and Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) proved that they can be both as they carded a two-day score of 9-under par 134 at Framingham Country Club and Hopkinton Country Club to capture the 2016 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship.

Both have won individual MGA Championship titles, but this latest piece of hardware represents the first MGA team title for this duo.

Both have won individual MGA Championship titles, but this latest piece of hardware represents the first MGA team title for this duo.

“Competing with Herb is the best thing,” said Parziale. “You know that he wants to win just as much as you do. We do well as a team. I won’t say that we stay out of each other’s way, but that is what it is. We just play, and it’s good to just be able to compete with him.”

With this latest victory, Aikens becomes only the third competitor to ever win four MGA Four-Ball titles. He won this title three times with Ryan Riley (Thorny Lea GC) in 2009-2011.

He now shares the honor of winning four titles with Jon Fasick (New England CC) and Carter Fasick (Westborough CC), who won as a team in 1986, 1991, 1997 and 1998.

“They are all different,” said Aikens of his Four-Ball wins. “Playing with Ryan was great. He is an amazing competitor, and it was a lot of fun. Matt is really talented and a lot of fun, and we have a great time.

“I don’t ever like to compare [the titles] to one other, but they are all very special to me. Anytime you win an MGA event it’s unbelievable. And when you have a partner like this it makes it a lot easier. There is a lot less pressure going to the first tee when you have Matty next to you.”

For Aikens and Parziale – who began playing in this event together in 2014 – two top-10 finishes (including solo third in 2014) set the stage for this year’s triumphant third attempt.

Unlike the first two years, however, Aikens and Parziale delivered two bogey-free rounds over the two-day period. They finished 36 holes with nine birdies.

“That was probably the best thing that we did,” said Parziale about the bogey-free round. “We kept it out of trouble and that was pretty much the key to these two days. The birdies came, and we didn’t have to force anything.”

Sharing the lead after the first day was an especially rewarding feat given the cold and rainy weather that persisted from start to finish and caused a nearly 45 minute delay. Overcast skies and intermittent rain fell on Tuesday, but the conditions were much more favorable which allowed Aikens and Parziale to meticulously execute a stellar game plan.

“We both played great and had pars and birdies,” said Aikens. “At almost every hole we had two birdie putts which was really nice.”

Parziale kick started the day on Tuesday with an approach to six feet on the 350-yard, par 4 2nd hole. Aikens then found the green on the 544-yard, par 5 5th hole which set him up for a two-putt birdie.

With Shawn Scott (Long Meadow GC) and Philip Smith (Vesper CC) – one of the four first-round leaders – playing well in front of them, Aikens picked a perfect time to send his tee shot on the 158-yard, par 3 8th hole to a foot to set up a tap-in birdie.

They made the turn at 3-under par and then played steady golf en route to securing the title by two shots. Aikens provided a cushion on the back nine by hitting his approach on the 399-yard, par 4 15th hole to a foot.

Smith and Scott finished T2 with the team of Mike Young (Wedgewood Pines CC) and Dennis Callahan (Butter Brook GC).

“The biggest thing yesterday was that we made a few good par putts to keep it bogey free,” said Parziale. “Today we didn’t need to make that many saves, but we kept it out of trouble for two days, had both of us in each hole and gave ourselves opportunities.”

In addition to being a dynamic and now victorious team, Aikens and Parziale also boast impressive individual records.

Parziale was the 2014 Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year who last year set a three-round scoring record en route to capturing the 2015 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship title.

Aikens won the 2014 Massachusetts Amateur Public Links and Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championships. Both players were also part of Team Massachusetts, which competed at the 2014 USGA Men’s State Team Championship.

Their next big challenge will be the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which will take place later this month at Winged Foot Golf Club (NY).

“We are heading to Winged Foot to play in the U.S. Four-Ball so that is what we are excited for,” said Aikens. “This is a great boost for us, and it will be good momentum.

“We have learned how to play with each other. We have always had fun playing together, but now we have figured out each other’s style, and it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to get to New York.”

But on this day there was no mention or thought of individual awards or future competitions.

“I love to compete,” said Parziale. “We had a good time, and there is no one that I would rather play with than Herb in these events.”

Savoring every moment together on the course is yet another thing they have in common.

“Playing with Matt is great is fun we laugh all day,” said Aikens. “Even coming down the stretch when things get a little tight around the collar and you may be in the hunt, we are still laughing about something. It keeps it light and makes it really enjoyable.”

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