Tuesday June 26, 2012

LANESBOROUGH -- This was one time when the winner of a golf tournament had to share the spotlight.

Wyantenuck Country Club's Andy Congdon captured his third straight Allied Senior Championship on Monday with a 3-under-par 68 at Skyline Country Club, but even he seemed more excited about the way the runner-up performed.

Skyline member Dick Rivers, who plays to a nine handicap, fired a 2-under 69 to break his age by two shots and barely miss pulling off a huge upset.

"That was some kind of round, holy cow," said Congdon. "The course was playing really difficult. What a spectacular round for him to shoot under his age."

Rivers, 71, was excited -- and a bit mystified -- by his performance.

"It's amazing," Rivers said. "I played with my nephew [Peter Rivers] in the Pewter Cup over the weekend and I didn't make a single birdie in 54 holes. Something happened, I don't know. I've never hit it that well even when I played well 30 years ago. That's the first time I've shot under my age."

With no inkling that he had an amazing day coming, Rivers caught fire on the front nine.

"I shot a 31 and I hit the first 10 greens in regulation, which I've never done before. Everything I hit was near the hole," Rivers said. "Then I started thinking about it a little."

Rivers shot a 2-over 38 on the back and was the leader in the clubhouse. Congdon had stumbled out of the blocks, making a couple of mistakes as he reacquainted himself with Skyline.


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"Not knowing the course hurt me early in the round," said Congdon, who bogeyed the first two holes with a mis-clubbed approach shot and a missed short putt.

He birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-over 36, meaning he trailed Rivers by five shots. But, Congdon is, after all, the reigning Massaschusetts Golf Association Senior Player of the Year.

"I birdied five of the last 10 holes," Congdon said. "I stayed patient, which is unusual for me."

If Rivers was going to lose to anyone, he's happy it was Congdon.

"Andy and [brother] Richie are two very classy guys," Rivers said. "Andy deserves it. I coached against them when they were in high school playing for Jim Peace."

As for Congdon, he wasn't certain how to feel.

"In some ways I wish I had shot a 70," said Congdon.

Andy was also happy to see his brother shoot an even-par 71 to finish in a tie for third place with Skyline's Mike Donlon.

"That was a wonderful medal-play round for Richie," said Congdon.

Still, arguably the happiest man at Skyline on Monday was Rivers, who did manage to win low-net honors with the career round. One person who might not be as thrilled is his partner, who didn't get much help over the weekend.

"I'm not sure I want to tell Peter," Rivers said with a laugh.

To contact Richard Lord:
rlord@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6236.