UXBRIDGE, Mass. (Aug. 12, 2008)--It took an extra hole of golf, but Todd Ezold (Westover GC) achieved his goal of becoming a Massachusetts Public Links Champion today at Blissful Meadows Golf Course.
After entering the final round four strokes back of the leader, Ezold pieced together an impressive round of 2-under par 70 on Tuesday to force a playoff with Daniel Falcucci (Cyprian Keyes GC). Once that playoff began, it did not take long for Ezold to cap off his impressive day of golf as he drained his par putt on the first playoff hole to claim his first MGA Championship victory.
When the day began, it didn't look like anyone was going to challenge Falcucci, who had posted the tournament low round of 5-under par 67 on Monday. While Falcucci struggled on the final day – he registered a 2-over par 74 – Ezold bested his first-round score of 1-under par 71 by one stroke to finish with a two-day total of 3-under par 141 and in a tie for the lead with Falcucci.
On the first playoff hole, Falcucci's tee shot found the left rough and he was unable to recover and make par. Ezold, meanwhile, found himself on the collar of the green in two shots and calmly two-putted for the victory. Prior to this event, Ezold's best finish in an MGA event came in 2007 when he advanced to the quarterfinals of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. Competing for titles is nothing new for Ezold who is a former New York Yankees Double AA baseball product.
Interestingly, early on in the day it didn't appear that 45-year-old Ezold would make much of a run at the top spot as he made the turn at 1-over par 37. The back nine was an entirely different story, however, as Ezold made crucial birdies on the 404-yard, par 4 12th and 186-yard, par 3 15th holes to spearhead his comeback.
While Ezold was improving on his first round score, Falcucci was struggling to hold his lead as he suffered a double bogey and bogey on the 7th and 8th holes, respectively, to make the turn at 2-over-par 38. The Northborough resident was in a position to win the championship down the stretch but a costly bogey on the 420-yard, par 4 18th hole forced a playoff with Ezold.
Three-time and defending champion Bill Drohen (Bradford CC) could not pull out another come-from-behind victory like he did one year ago as he finished in third place with a final score of 1-under par 143. En route to capturing his third title one year ago, Drohen posted a final round score of 5-under par 66... a round that featured a record 5-under par 30 on the back nine.
On this day, Drohen had it going early on as he registered three birdies on the front nine to make the turn at 3-under par 33. The momentum did not continue on the back nine, however, as a pair of bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes erased all chances for another Drohen victory.
Drohen shared that third spot with Joe Cunningham (Brookline GC), who matched Drohen's score of 2-under par 70 this afternoon. Both players, who fired scores of 1-over par 73 on Monday, advanced to Match Play at the Massachusetts Amateur Championship held earlier this summer.
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