Ben Spitz, the 2017 Massachusetts Public Links champion
PLYMOUTH, MA (August 9, 2017) - It took eleven years but Ben Spitz (George Wright GC) can once again call himself a champion.
Following a one-hole, sudden death playoff against Cody Booska (CC of Greenfield) at Pinehills Golf Club on Wednesday, Spitz captured the 36th Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship title.
His latest victory comes more than a decade after he won the 2006 Massachusetts Amateur Championship at Worcester Country Club when he was just 22 years old.
“It’s tough,” said Spitz, who is now 33 years old and a father of three young childen. “There are so many good players here. On any given day they can take control of the tournament. I was fortunate enough that not everyone had their best. Cody obviously played unbelievable, but I was fortunate to make the playoff. It was a good win.”
It was both a good and a dramatic win that saw the eventual playoff contenders starting the day well back of the first-round leaders.
Spitz and Booska began the final round three and five shots back, respectively, but both delivered stellar rounds on Wednesday to finish deadlocked at 5-under par 139 following the 36 holes of regulation.
For a short time, it appeared that a playoff would not be necessary. Spitz was in the middle of the 18th hole fairway with a one-shot lead over Booska, who was already in the clubhouse after a posting a tournament-low round of 7-under par 65.
With Booska and his caddy watching from afar, Spitz’s approach faded left and dropped into the hazard. Spitz got up and down for bogey to force a playoff.
On that first sudden-death playoff, both players found the fairway and both decided to stay far away from the trouble that loomed left of the green. Spitz’s approach landed in the right greenside bunker, while Booska’s second shot settled into the thick right rough.
“The previous 18 was a little bit too much in my head,” said Spitz. “I knew that I had to go at it pretty hard so I hit a 7 iron which was one more than in the earlier round. I knew I had to hit it hard, but I hit it a little too hard, but it’s not the worst spot. I kind of chunked it out of the bunker and it ran down to the hole.”
Spitz’s third shot came to rest 12 feet past the hole. Booska was inside of Spitz, but in the end it was Spitz who made his putt and Booska had to settle as runner up for the second straight year. One year ago, Booska lost to Matt Cowgill (Wayland CC) in a three-hole playoff at Waubeeka Golf Links.
“I knew that if I came out today and gave it my all I could give it a good run,” said Booska. “I did all I could do.”
On most days what Booska did on day two would have been enough. Unfortunately he was facing one of the Bay State’s best short-game players.
“As long as I am still in the hole I am still in the hole,” said the southpaw Spitz. “I have a good short game, and when I get it around the green I always think that I can get up and down. The bunker shot was ok but the putt was a lot better. All in all, I’ll take a par.”
And now he can also take home another MGA title.
View results for Massachusetts PubLinks
ABOUT THE Massachusetts PubLinks
Entries are open to amateur golfers who are bona
fide public course players at a public MGA member
club (a course/club that provides playing
opportunities for the general public seven days a
maintain an up-to-date MGA/GHIN Handicap Index
not exceeding 12.0. Players who have playing
privileges or who have an established handicap at
any private club are ineligible, with the exception
a) Players competing on a school golf team,
provided those privileges are limited to scheduled
practices and competitions; or
b) Players employed by a private club, provided
their playing privileges
I. Are limited in nature;
II. Are consistent with those offered other
III. Do not allow participation in any club
IV. No handicap is maintained at the private club.
The competition will be stroke play with 18 hole
qualifier and the Championship proper at 36
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