Seekonk, MA — The temperatures were cool but the scores were red hot during the first round of the 2013 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship, which is being held this week at Pawtucket Country Club and Ledgemont Country Club.
Following day one, the team of Andy Drohen (The Ranch GC) and Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich GC) stand atop a leaderboard that includes 39 teams that posted under-par rounds on Tuesday.
"We both played it the other day and we came off thinking that it was the kind of golf course that if you drove it well you could have a lot of chances," said Clapp. "Neither of us hit it fantastic, but we were both fairly steady and there was probably only one instance where both of us were left with tough pitches that we had to work hard to get up and down."
Drohen and Clapp carded a 6-under par 63 at Pawtucket Country Club and currently hold a one-stroke lead over four teams.
Round 1 Highlights
Past Champions In the MixBrotherly AffairThe First Tee of Massachusetts Represents"We hammed and egged it out there well today," said Drohen. "When one guy was out the other guy came through."
Their start was certainly a sign of what was to come.
Drohen sent his 6-iron approach from 175 yards out on the 435-yard, par 4 10th hole to a foot for an easy birdie. Two holes later, Clapp took full advantage of the contours of the green by hitting his approach short and letting it roll into the trough of the green. When they arrived at the green, they found it sitting just three feet from the hole.
"It's always nice when you don't have to shake over a 10 footer on the first hole," said Drohen. "It was an easy kick in and the Doug hit his 3 wood to three feet on the 12th hole so we made two quick birdies on two tough holes."
On the 170-yard, par 3 15th hole, Clapp hit his wedge to four feet. Drohen capped off that first nine holes with a wedge shot on the 379-yard, par 4 18th hole that rolled to a stop three feet from the flagstick.
"I hit it close a couple of times and he hit it close on the very first hole which is always a nice start," said Clapp. "I would say that half of our birdies were short putts inside of five feet."
With Drohen making key pars, Clapp took full advantage of a hot putter to help them secure the top spot on the leaderboard through the final nine holes of the day.
"We had six in our mind as an absolute minimum," said Clapp of their desired score. "I still think that 59 is out there because the greens are nice and if you drive it well you will give yourself a lot of chances and you could get on a roll."
On the 379-yard, par 4 3rd hole, Clapp landed his gap wedge to 10 feet and rolled in the birdie putt. He then drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the 414-yard, par 4 6th hole.
The leading score could have been even better had Clapp’s putt not rolled in and out on the 7th hole and had the team taken advantage of the course’s lone par 5 hole (#8).
"For the most part we aren’t scoreboard watchers," said Drohen. "We just want to go out there and play our game which is to get two putts on the green and not to do anything stupid. Hopefully we will get a few breaks tomorrow and we'll see what happens."
While they have played in this event together many years before, their friendship has endured even longer which has helped them compete well year-in and year-out. Their best finish to date has been fifth place which they posted in 2009 and 2011.
"We talked last night and made sure we were on the same page," said Clapp, who enjoyed having Drohen as a houseguest last night. "It was about a 30-second conversation about who wants to putt and play first. After that it is all about playing a round of golf together which we do 20 times a year together. We have a high comfort level with each other."
The true challenge comes tomorrow when Clapp and Drohen will have to fend off a handful of teams sitting right behind them on the leaderboard plus scores more who might have that magical day which makes all the difference in four-ball play.
"The game plan is to try and get off to a good start," said Clapp. "In these events you have to find a little bit of a roll. You need two guys in the fairway and two guys on the green and then you have to make some putts. We don’t have to shoot 10 under or some crazy number to win, but we will have to get off to a great start and go from there."
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