FALMOUTH/MASHPEE, MASS. (June 7, 2011) -- Two days ago, Steve Mathias(GC at Yarmouthport) was frantically calling his friends trying to find a partner for this year's Massachusetts Senior Four-Ball Championship. His partner of the last five years - Bruce Hirschberg - fell ill and had to undergo emergency surgery. After several calls, Mathias connected with his good friend Fred Walker who had someone in mind. That someone - Larry Murray(Cummaquid GC) - turned out to be the perfect partner as the duo posted a score of 4-under par 68 at The Golf Club of Cape Cod this morning to find themselves in the hunt for the Massachusetts Senior Four-Ball Championship title.Mathias and Murray are tied atop the leaderboard with Peter Grogan (Indian Ridge CC)and Jim Holbrook (Ferncroft CC) and Laurence Chud (Pine Brook CC) and Bob Heenan (George Wright GC). Those teams - along with the rest of the field - will return to the course tomorrow to take part in a second and final round of play. Those teams that played at The Golf Club of Cape Cod on Tuesday will play at Willowbend Country Club on Wednesday and vice versa.For Mathias, he is just thrilled to be playing another day.
"[Larry] called me on Saturday afternoon and I said I'll meet you there on Tuesday," said Mathias. "Sometimes you get a last-minute replacement and it works out. He is a very nice gentleman, and you could tell right away that he had game and we complimented each other very well."
After exchanging pleasantries for the first time, the newly-formed team began their title pursuit on the 396-yard, par 4 10th hole and made bogey. That rocky start did not shake their confidence as they went on to make one more bogey and three birdies (on the 12th, 15th and 18th holes) to make the turn at 1-under par 35.
"I am not sure how fast of a start it was, but we stayed in the game," said Mathias. "The pins were in reasonable places so you could fire at them and it seemed to work out."Laser-approach shots were the story of the team's back nine as they played 3-under par golf courtesy of four birdies (on the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 9th holes) and one bogey. In total, Mathias made six birdies on his own ball. Although he made one 15-foot birdie putt on the 449-yard, par 4 6th hole, five of his birdies were set up by approach shots that left him with putts under five feet. Murray capped off the superb round by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on the team's final hole - the 393-yard, par 4 9th hole.
"We really didn't have anything of length for par," said Mathias. "Two of our bogies were three putts and one was because we couldn't get up and down from the edge of the green. It was an easy 68 if you can say that."Interestingly, this marks the second time that Mathias had to find a replacement partner at the last minute. Five years ago, his friend George Medeiros - a former MGA rules official who passed away in 2008 - had to drop out of the event. It was then that Mathias met and soon developed a lasting friendship with Hirschberg.
"The irony of it all is that last minute replacements almost always seem to work out," said Mathias.
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