Frank Vana Jr. (Worchester Telegram)
58-year-old Frank Vana was tied for the lead following the first round of the New England Senior Amateur hosted by the picturesque Mt. Washington Golf Club in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.
Posting a 69, Vana was a co-leader alongside three others who shared a one shot lead over the nearest competitors.
A total of 10 golfers were at or below par when play began Wednesday, but just one would remain in red numbers at days end.
Vana, who calls Malborough Country Club home, got off to a sluggish start in the second and final round Wednesday afternoon. Retaining his three under score through the first eight holes of the round, Vana slipped with a devastating double-bogey six on the par 4 ninth. As he made the turn, he now trailed defending champion Bob Kearney who was two under par for the event through 27 holes.
Not to be deterred by the mishap, Vana gained the dropped strokes back on with back to back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12. Back to where he began the day Vana tallied a par on the par 4 13th.
Making bogey on the 14th in round one, Vana could not gain retribution as he had done with his two other round one bogeys. Another double bogey plagued Vana’s scorecard.
As Vana fell off his pace, Kearney and fellow challenger Gary Shover were a combined three over par on the par 3 14th hole alone. Needing the field to stumble just as he had, Vana settled back into form as he knocked home four consecutive pars to close out the day with a two over 74, and the championship.
Shover, who began the day four shots off the leaders, carded one of just two rounds under par on Wednesday for a T-2 finish at 144. As for Kearney, his title defense fell just short with back to back rounds of even par (144).
The win is just one of many in Vana’s trophy case as he boasts a whopping 10 Massachusetts Mid-Am titles, an Ouimet Invitational win (2010), and a Round of 32 exit in the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur.
In the super-senior flight, Dave Szewczul (145) bested Jack Kearney (146) by a single shot to take the trophy as the pair dueled all day following matching 71s on Tuesday.
View results for New England Senior Amateur
ABOUT THE New England Senior Amateur
Entries are open to amateur golfers who will have
reached their 55th birthday, hold membership in a
club belonging to one of the six New England State
Golf Associations and have an up-to-date
USGA/GHIN Handicap Index not exceeding 9.9.
36 holes, stroke play. No cut will be made. Players
65 years of age or older will be elligible for the
Senior Division. Both the Overall and Super Senior
Divisions will compete from the same tee/yardage.
Pre-qualifying required for non-exempt players.
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