SEEKONK, MA (May 15, 2013) — Everyone knows that they can play well alone, but today Richy Werenski (Orchards GC) and Mickey Werenski (Orchards GC) proved that they are also a dynamic four-ball team.
Under cold and windy conditions, the Werenski brothers found a way to dominate both the elements and a difficult Ledgemont Country Club layout to capture the 2013 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship title.
The Werenskis finished with a two-round score of 10-under par 129 to best the team of Andy Drohen (The Ranch GC) and Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich GC) by two strokes. It marks the first time that the Werenski brothers have played in this event and the first MGA Championship title for either brother.
"It would have been fun either way but it’s great to win this together," said Richy, who noted that they were also celebrating Mickey’s 19th birthday today. "It's a great birthday present for him."
Heading into the second and final round of play, the Werenskis were just one shot off the lead after posting a 5-under par 64 at Pawtucket Country Club on Tuesday. Disappointed with their play, which they characterized as "wayward" at times, the Werenskis arrived at Ledgemont Country Club with something to prove.
"Yesterday we both scrambled all day so going into today we felt like if we played like we know we can we could go low" said Richy. "We started off the front well and then it started to get colder and windier and the conditions got tougher, but we still played well overall."
While the rest of the field struggled to find a rhythm in the unsettled conditions that caused a 20-minute delay in play towards the latter part of the day, the Werenskis took advantage of the front nine and made the turn at 4-under par 31. Other than the Werenski score, the second best split at the turn in Seekonk was 2-under par. On that front nine, Richy came through by making four birdies – on the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th holes.
"He was dropping the birdies on the front nine for sure" said Mickey with a laugh.
On the 350-yard, par 4 2nd hole, Richy sent his wedge shot to one foot. Two holes later, his 6-iron approach landed seven feet from the hole. Then – on the lengthy 212-yard, par 3 6th hole – Richy delivered one of the most clutch shots of the day.
"I made a really good shot in there," said Richy. "Everyone was coming up short, so I didn’t think that I could get a 3 iron there. I went with a real soft hybrid to knock it down and keep it low."
His hybrid shot off the tee landed 10 feet from the hole to set up his third birdie in five holes. He capped off a tremendous front nine by lipping out his eagle putt on the 391-yard, par 4 9th hole.
"The front nine was good to me," said Richy. "But he really kept us going towards the end."
With the conditions deteriorating quickly, Mickey indeed took over and made a critical birdie on the 581-yard, par 5 11th hole. After knocking both his drive and 3 wood shot down the right side, he was left with a difficult third shot that he managed to land five feet from the hole.
He followed that up with his second birdie of the day on the 396-yard, par 4 14th hole.
"It was downhill and I was in the right rough," explained Mickey. "I had a tough shot but I landed it short to nine feet and made a good putt."
The Werenski duo suffered their lone bogie of the tournament on the 15th hole, but that would be the last mistake they would make.
A key moment in the round came on the 17th hole when the wind began to pick up and the rain started to fall. With both players off the green, Mickey sent his chip to two feet right before the horn sounded and the players had to leave the course due to lightening in the area.
When they returned to the course 20 minutes later, Mickey drained his par putt. He then – on the 18th hole and with his brother off the green – hit a solid approach on the green to 20 feet and two putted for the team’s final par of the day.
"It was all on him," said Richy of the final two holes. "We really hung in there and he made some awesome shots."
Winning a title made the week even more special for the brothers who have always been close. Due to their busy school and playing schedules, it is not often that they both find themselves home at the same time. Richy returned home from Georgia Tech (where he finished his junior season), while Mickey finished off his final year at the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head. SC.
"It was a lot of fun," said Mickey of playing with his older brother. "I was worried that we would get into a few fights out there, but it didn’t happen. He helped me a lot out there especially with how to judge the wind.”
With one four-ball event under their belts and one MGA Championship title to their credit, the question is now whether they will make this an annual Werenski tradition.
"We’ll be defending champs," said Richy. "We have to come back."
The Ace of the Day
Although he won’t drive home with the trophy, Robert Hickman (Reservation GC) delivered the shot of the day at Ledgemont Country Club.
On the par 3 15th hole – from 173 yards out – Hickman sent his 6 iron shot and landed it short of the hole location. He watched closely as the ball bounced once and disappeared into the hole.
"I watched the player before me hit a shot that bounced in front 10 feet," said Hickman. "I tried to do the same thing and then the freakin' ball went in."
It was Hickman’s ninth career hole in one. One memorable hole in one came in 1987 at Thorny Lea Golf Club where he won a car as a result of his ace. At that time, Hickman was stripped of his amateur status by accepting the prize. Although he regained his amateur status two years later, Hickman did not pick the game up for 20 years. He began playing again in 2000 at the age of 46.
On this day, Hickman could have easily delivered another masterful shot. On the 361-yard, par 4 5th hole, Hickman’s approach from 75 years hit the flagstick and rolled seven feet past.
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