Mass. Four-Ball: Stimpson, Kroeger win 2nd
STOW, Mass. (May 8, 2012) -- If this was baseball, the team of James Kroeger (CC of New Bedford) and Alex Stimpson (Woods Hole GC) would be batting a smooth .333.

Playing together in this event for only the third time and after losing in a playoff just one year ago, Kroeger and Stimpson made a triumphant return to this event in 2012 by carding an untouchable 12-under par 132 and capturing the 33rd Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship at Stow Acres Country Club.

The score alone is eye popping, but the victory was made even sweeter by the fact that Kroeger and Stimpson sealed their victory on Tuesday - under rainy and cold conditions - by conquering the long and challenging North Course with a day-low score of 7-under par 65. They also - in the process - dethroned the three-time and defending champion team of Ryan Riley (Norton CC) and Herbie Aikens (Pinehills CC).

"We are really happy," said Stimpson. "We played solid as a team and to come away with a win is definitely pretty special."

Two shots off the pace heading into the second round, Kroeger and Stimpson jumped out of the gate fast as Stimpson drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the 385-yard, par 4 1st hole and then Kroeger sunk a 12 footer for birdie two holes later. Although their scorecard shows a bogey on the 421-yard, par 4 4th hole, Kroeger and Stimpson both agreed that their performance on that hole was a game changer.

With Kroeger's ball in the water off the tee, Stimpson sent his drive right and was forced to chip out left handed but somehow made a bogey '5'.

"It was good to get through that stretch just losing one on that hole," said Stimpson, who responded one hole later by making a 9-foot birdie putt on the 410-yard, par 4 7th hole.

The pair made the turn at 3-under par 33 and did not relent. Stimpson made another birdie - a 7-footer on the 422-yard, par 4 10th - and then Kroeger two putted for birdie on the 468-yard, par 5 12th hole. The rain continued to fall lightly, but there would be no playoff or dramatic finish this time around as Stimpson and Kroeger continued to distance themselves from the rest of the field.

"We never left each other on their own out there," said Kroeger. "The key was to always have two birdie putts on every hole, and we did that for the most part today."

Kroeger and Stimpson capped off their round with back-to-back birdies. Kroeger sent his approach on the 415-yard, par 4 17th to an inch and then Stimpson followed by hitting his iron approach to three feet on the 566-yard, par 5 18th hole.

"Ball striking wise it was solid today, and everything was close," said Stimpson. "Over the last two holes we had a combined three feet of birdie putts."

Considering their performance last year and again this week, the future is bright for this pair of 29 year olds who met three years ago when they started working for the Acushnet Company. A busy work schedule does not always allow them to play much together, but they seem to take advantage of the time they do have on the links.

"Our boss actually pushed back a trip to Japan for us so that we could play this week," said Kroeger. "After he did that, he told us that we better win. I hope that we made him happy today."

Making them smile even more was the fact that the ball count kept by the MGA showed that 307 out of 370 competitors in this year's field used Titleist balls.

ABOUT THE Massachusetts Four-Ball

Entries are open to two-person teams of amateur golfers who hold membership in an MGA member club and have an up-to-date combined MGA/USGA GHIN Handicap Index not exceeding 6.0, or who have completed their handicap certification as defined on the Entry Form. Competition will be 36 holes at Four-Ball Stroke Play.

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