Houghton defends Mass Super Senior title to end summer
Dave Houghton (Mass Golf/David Colt photo)
Dave Houghton (Mass Golf/David Colt photo)

HAVERHILL, Mass. (Oct. 3, 2018) – While he was happy with his 2-under 68 performance and the four-stroke lead it created following the first round of the Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship on Tuesday, Dave Houghton knew there were still parts of his game that he needed to improve in order to become the first competitor to win back-to-back titles in the five-year history of the championship. The 74-year old Houghton made those adjustments on his front nine en route to carding a 1-over 71 on Wednesday. His two-day score of 1-under 139 was enough to earn him this year’s Super Senior Amateur title, edging runners-up Jim Ruschioni and William House by a record seven strokes.

With his victory, not only does Houghton become the first to win the event twice, but he also becomes the first competitor to claim both the New England Super Senior title and the state Super Senior title in the same year, following a similar victory two weeks ago at Burlington (Vt.) Country Club. Additionally, Houghton joins 2015 champion Doug Crawford as only the second competitor to have both a State Senior Amateur title and a Super Senior Amateur title to their name since the Championship was introduced in 2014.

On Wednesday at Haverhill Country Club, Houghton tallied three birdies on his front nine to keep his spot atop the leaderboard in check, then parred six of the final nine to defeat the likes of Ruschioni and House, who had each carded marks of 1-over 71 and 4-over 74 in their final 18, respectively.

“It’s really good to be able to hang in there and get it done,” said Houghton. “I was leaking a little oil coming in, but was still trying to make some solid shots. Didn’t putt quite as well. I had three three-putts today, but other than that, I can’t complain at all. It was a good competitive round of golf. I kept my head in it and tried to play the shot at hand and work with that.”

After taking a four-stroke lead on Tuesday as the only competitor to finish under par, the Dennis resident and member at Captains Golf Course picked up right where he left off in the rain by birdying Haverhill’s first hole.

“That was great,” Houghton said regarding his fast start. “I hit a good drive, but it was in the rough, then hit a good second shot in there that was above the hole. I had one of those downhill sliders and was able to just coax it in the hole. It fell in on the right-hand side, that was great.”

Houghton parred each of the next two holes, before making birdie on the par-3 fourth hole, the only hole on the course that he birdied in both days of competition.

“I birdied four again, hitting it right over the hole there and had about a 6-footer in, then I was able to get it in on No. 9, so I had some good shots.”

Sitting at 4-under through 27 holes, Houghton appeared to take his foot off the accelerator just a bit, as three three-putts prevented him from building on his lead anymore, but still allowed him to cruise to victory.

He bogeyed the par-4 13th, the par-3 15th and the par-4 17th holes, but still finished with a seven-stroke margin of victory for the tournament – the highest margin of victory since the Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship was introduced in 2014.

After finishing in the top 10 in each of the first three years of the Championship, Houghton has been victorious in each of the past two years, becoming the first person to win multiple titles.

“It’s great to be first [to win two times], there is no doubt about that,” said Houghton, “but I just look at it as another chance to play against these guys that I’ve competed against for a number of years. You just never know what is going to happen out there, just look at all the champions out there. You have guys like Jim Ruschioni and Jon Fasick and all those guys are just great players, so it’s just fun to get out there and do the best you can.

For Houghton, he is able to end his 2018 golf season on a high note as this week’s victory marked his final competitive round in the Bay State before heading south for the upcoming winter season.

In addition to winning both the Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur and the New England Super Senior titles this year, Houghton was T-58 in a rain-shortened Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship at Pine Brook Country Club on Sept. 26.

Houghton and the other top-10 competitors and ties on the leaderboard, which included Ruschioni, House, Jon Fasick, Bob Reni, Roger Dieffenbach, Thomas Mone, Tom Bergeron, Cy Kilgore, James Drohen, Michael Kaloyanides, and Richard Fleischman – all received entrance into next year’s Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship, while the top 70 and ties from this week’s tournament earned exemption into next year’s Super Senior Amateur Championship.

View results for Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur
ABOUT THE Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur

Making its debut in 2014, the Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship was launched in order to crown the top senior amateur competitor who is 65 years or older.

Entries are open to amateur golfers who hold membership in an MGA member club, who have reached their 65th birthday by start of tournament and have an up-to-date MGA/USGA GHIN Handicap Index not exceeding 12.0 or have completed their handicap certification as defined on the Entry Form.

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