FITCHBURG, MA (September 22, 2005) -– After being dethroned for one year, Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC) reigns once again as he captured his sixth Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship title this afternoon at Oak Hill Country Club. This year marks this sixth time in seven years that Vana has called himself champion of this prestigious event.
Today’s victory also places Vana, a six-time Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year and the 1990s MGA Player of the Decade, in elite company as he becomes only the fourth golfer in Massachusetts history to capture six of the same MGA Championship titles. Vana joins legends Alex Ross (1906-10, 1912), six-time champion of the Massachusetts Open Championship, and Massachusetts Amateur champions Francis Ouimet (1913-15, '19, '22, '25) and Frederick J. Wright (1920, 1926, 1928-31).
Vana, who is coming off a spectacular performance at last week’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship where he advanced to the Round of 16, entered today’s final round one stroke back of home-course favorite Jim Ruschioni (Oak Hill CC). He soon took control, however, and posted the only under-par round of the day to finish the tournament with a score of 2-under par 208, which was two strokes better than second-place finisher John Hadges (Thorny Lea GC). After making bogey on the par-3 5th hole, Vana bounced back and made birdie on the 6th and 8th holes to make the turn at 1-under par 34. On the back nine, he continued his steady play by making birdie on the par-5 10th hole and then posting eight straight pars to seal the victory.
Meanwhile, Hadges appeared poised to make a run at Vana by posting three birdies and three bogeys on the front nine to make the turn at even par 35. Despite making birdie on his final two holes of the day, Hadges’ bogeys on the 11th and 12th holes came back to haunt him as he came up two shots short. Ruschioni also struggled on the final day as he finished with one birdie, six bogeys and a lone eagle which came on the 10th hole.
The biggest mover the up the leaderboard was 2001 Massachusetts Amateur Champion Brendan Hester (Pleasant Valley CC), who posted a solid even par 70 following identical rounds of 5-over par 75 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hester, who finished in a tie with Kevin Murphy (Bradford CC) for 10th place overall, made three birdies – on the 7th, 8th and 18th holes – and three bogeys on the afternoon.
Round 3 Highlights:
• Of the 120 players who comprised this year’s Championship Proper field, a total of 34 competitors, including six past champions, advanced to this year’s final round. This year’s cut line fell at 11-over par 151.
• Defending champion Andy Drohen (St. Anne CC), who along with his younger Bill Drohen and Vana, will represent 'Team Massachusetts' at next week’s USGA State Team Matches at Berkeley Hall Club (SC), finished in a three-way tie for seventh place with a final score of 8-over par 218.
For complete results, click on the tournament link above (amateurgolf.com premium membership requested).