HYDE PARK, Mass. (Aug. 1, 2012) -- From start to finish, the 2012 Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship belonged to just one player.
Under perfect conditions at George Wright Golf Course on Wednesday, Andy Drohen (Crestview CC) followed up his first-round score of 5-under par 65 with a dominating 3-under par 67 on Wednesday to capture the Ray C. Bump, Jr. Trophy by three strokes. It marks his fourth career MGA Championship title and his first since 2004.
It also makes him the only player in MGA history to have won all four major non-senior amateur MGA Championships.
"It has been a long time coming," said Drohen, who finished with a two-day score of 8-under par 132. "Since last week I have started playing well and making a lot of birdies. The last seven days has been a lot of fun.
It was an especially sweet victory for Drohen who won the 2003 Massachusetts Amateur Championship, 2004 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship and 2004 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship before suffering injuries, which forced him to undergo shoulder and elbow surgery. He then endured a major swing change that has taken several years to perfect.
"It is pretty satisfying and an emotional win for me with all that has been going on," said Drohen. "When I started the tournament I thought that I had a good chance at doing well because I liked the golf course. I also didn't think that anyone had ever won all four amateur events, and I really wanted to get all four so this has been a lot of fun."
Heading into the second and final round, Drohen held a two-stroke lead after carding a 5-under par 65 on Tuesday. It was a stellar round that featured six birdies and one bogey.
With the course set up for a true championship-caliber challenge on Wednesday, Drohen was steady and strong on the front side as he registered eight pars and one birdie – on the 412-yard, par 4 5th hole – to make the turn at 6-under par for the tournament.
"The confidence is finally back with the driver," said Drohen. "I can start to shape it again off the tee, and I just felt like I wasn't going to hit a bad shot out there. When you start to hit back-to-back good shots, your confidence grows."
That confidence shined through on his next birdie, which was one to remember as he stuck his approach to two feet on the 362-yard, par 4 11th hole. He then made a key par on the 12th hole to extend his lead over the field to three strokes after both of his playing partners – Herbie Aikens (Pinehills GC) and Curtis Collopy (Hyannis GC) – suffered bogies.
Throughout all two days of competition, Drohen was magnificent off the tee. And even when he was not, he found a way to stave off trouble, which is exactly what happened on the 390-yard, par 4 13th hole.
After sending his drive into the rough, Drohen watched as his approach fell short of the green. With Collopy eyeing a birdie putt (which he would go on to make), Drohen calmly drained an 8-foot putt to save par and maintain a two-stroke lead.
"That was a big momentum swing because Curtis made a birdie there," said Drohen. "I needed to make that par and stay two up, so that was a big swing and a big putt."
He ended any hopes of a comeback for his competitors when – from 60 yards out – he holed his shot for eagle on the 510-yard, par 5 15th hole.
"I was a little too far out to take a gamble with the 3 wood, so I decided to lay up and try to make birdie that way and I got lucky," said Drohen. "Whenever you hole out you never think that you are going to make it. I was just trying to get it close and then when they started clapping up top I knew it went in. That was the relief I needed because I knew that I had a cushion at that point."
It was an appropriate exclamation point for two rounds of near perfect golf. Over the course of 18 holes, Drohen carded eight birdies, one eagle and just two bogies.
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