WARWICK, RI (July 21, 2005) -- To say it has been a memorable week for Jim Renner (Foxborough CC – MA) would be an understatement. One week after being defeated by Michelle Wie in the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, Renner returned home to capture the New England Amateur Championship title at Valley Country Club with a four-round total of 6-under par 278.
Renner, a standout golfer at Johnson & Wales ( Miami), survived a tenacious comeback by Andy Drohen (St. Anne CC – MA) during the final round to finally prevail on the first playoff hole and collect his first major New England title.
With the victory, Renner continues Massachusetts’ recent dominance in this event as he becomes the seventh Bay State player in the last 11 years to capture the New England Amateur title. Other champions include James Driscoll (1995), John Curley (1996), Jim Salinetti (1997, 1999), Joey Pohle (1999), Kevin Quinn (1999) and Michael Welch (2003, 2004).
On the first playoff hole, Renner used a huge drive off the tee to set himself up for a short pitch and 4-foot birdie attempt. Although he two-putted for par, Drohen’s approach shot fell short and he was unable to get up and down to save par and force a continuation of the playoff. That final battle came about after Drohen made a phenomenal comeback in the afternoon by finishing with a 3-under par 68 performance, which included a finishing stretch of birdie-birdie-par-eagle! That all-important eagle on the 549-yard, par 5 18 th hole elevated him to 6-under par 278 for the tournament and boosted him into a tie with Renner. Heading into those final holes, Drohen was only 1-over par for the afternoon round.
Renner, meanwhile, entered the final day of 36 holes with a two-stroke lead. Earlier in the day, the only signs of faltering for Renner came during the morning round when he posted a 1-over par 72 and opened the door briefly for the rest of the field. During that 18-hole round, Renner registered an uncharacteristic three bogies and only two birdies. In comparison, Renner made only three bogies total on Tuesday and Wednesday. He quickly righted the ship following a brief lunch break, however, as he made birdie on the 1 st and 2 nd holes to pull ahead of the field and post a final round score of 1-under par 70. His lead appeared safe until the end when Drohen stormed up the leaderboard to force the playoff.
Final Round Highlights:
- This year’s field consisted of 162 players representing Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. Following the first two days of play, the field was reduced to the low 40 scorers and ties. This year’s cut line fell at 6-over par 148 and 46 players advanced to the final round.
- This historic championship event, which was first contested in 1926, will move to Maine next year as the 2006 New England Amateur Championship will be held at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine.