HYANNIS PORT, MA (September 27, 2005) -- He hadn’t touched a club in over two months, but that didn’t keep Joe Keller (Hyannisport Club) from lighting it up at Hyannisport Club this week and capturing the 45th Massachusetts Senior Championship title with a score of 2-over par 144. Keller, who suffered a serious back injury back in July, prevailed against not only a challenging field of 144 golfers but also unusually gusty conditions on Cape Cod for his first such title.
Keller entered today’s round two strokes back of first-round leader Fred Walker (Cummaquid GC) and was able to inch his way up the leaderboard courtesy of a 2-over par 73 final-round score. Things didn’t always look so promising for Keller, however, as he began his round with a bogey on the 439-yard, par 4 1st hole that plays directly into the wind. He then proceeded to make bogey on the 3rd and 4th holes for a front-nine score of 3-over par 39. After five consecutive pars, Keller made his move beginning with momentum-building birdies on the 309-yard, par 4 13th and the 377-yard, par 4 14th holes. A double bogey on the difficult 177-yard, par 3 15th hole did not derail the 1999 Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year as he finished birdie-par-par to seal the victory.
Finishing in second place was another Cape Cod golfer, Jim Horvath (Dennis Pines GC), who turned in a two-round score of 4-over par 146. Playing alongside Keller in the lead group, Horvath also made bogey on the 1st hole and followed that up with a birdie on the 2nd hole and a bogey on the 4th hole to make the turn at 1-over par 36. A birdie on the 13th hole brought Horvath closer to Keller but a costly double bogey on the 16th hole spoiled his comeback as he finished with a second-round score of 3-over par 74.
Turning in the low round of the day and capturing sole possession of third place was Jim Ruschioni (Oak Hill CC), who posted an even par 70 today. Ruschioni, who last week finished third at the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship and who is a two-time George M. Cohen MGA Senior Player of the Year, registered three birdies – on the 6th, 8th and 16th holes – and three bogeys on the day en route to his final score of 5-over par 147. Ruschioni entered the final round in 16th place overall and eight strokes back of the leader.
Walker, meanwhile, couldn’t repeat his first-round 2-under par 69 magic from Monday as he posted a 9-over par 80 this afternoon to finish in a tie for fourth place with Richard Garrett (Acushnet River Valley GC) at 7-over par 149.
Other notable finishers included Doug Crawford (Stow Acres CC), who advanced to match play at this year’s U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, and the 2003 champion of this event James Drohen (Crystal Springs GC). While Crawford finished one stroke back of Walker and Garrett at 8-over par 150, Drohen used a final-round score of 2-over par 73 to finish in seventh place, one stroke better than Robert Bradley (Ponkapoag GC) and Ray Richard (Thorny Lea GC).
For complete results, click on the tournament link above (amateurgolf.com premium membership requested).