Playing in the prestigious North-South Senior Amateur on three courses -- Nos. 4, 5 and 8 at the famous Pinehurst Resort in the sandhills of North Carolina -- was a treat for Wyantenuck Country Club member Andy Congdon.
Until he reached the greens.
As a result, Congdon's usual solid ball-striking didn't get him the results he was looking for, though his tie for 24th in a 79-player field that included many of the best seniors is the country was more than respectable.
Congdon had rounds of 74-76-75 to finish at 9-over 225, 12 shots behind winner Rick Cloninger of Fort Mill, S.C. Former Berkshire Hills Country Club member Bob Linn, who now plays out The Orchards in South Hadley, edged his old rival by one shot. Linn had rounds of 72-75-77.
"The greens were extremely slow," Congdon said. "Picture a course you have played where the greens were slow and realize that these were slower than that."
Considering the event and the well-earned reputation Pinehurst's layouts have, slow greens are the last thing you would expect.
"Apparently they have had a lot of play this month with wet conditions so they didn't cut them down," Congdon said. "It's funny they would have them in that condition for an event like this."
Congdon, who was very happy with his putting heading into the tournament, was disappointed he couldn't adjust to the pace of the greens.
"You've got to be able to play under any and all conditions," the reigning Massachusetts Senior Player of the Year said. "It's very frustrating that I couldn't adapt. Try as I might, I couldn't get the ball to the hole from nine, six or three feet."
Otherwise, the field and the course layouts were first-rate.
"It was a good experience," Cong don said. "The competition was great and the courses were very good. They really tested us with where they put some of the pins."
Next up for Congdon, who has already won the Allied Senior and Allied Championship this summer, is Wyantenuck's club championship. He is the 22-time club champion.
Then, he will travel to Manchester, Vt., and try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship for the third straight year. Last year, he reached the round of 16 in Virginia.
Another county golfer who has won an astonishing number of club championships was at it again recently.
John Montgomery had rounds of 72-71-76 to finish at 219 and cruise to his 13th club championship in 15 years at Pontoosuc Lake Country Club.
Dan Norton (76-79-78) finished second a distant 14 shots back.
The 65-year-old Montgomery remains a master of consistency.
"John is just steady, steady, steady," Pontoosuc Lake professional Bob Dastoli said. "He hits just about every fairway and almost all of the greens. He's also a good short-game player and he's unflappable. I have never seen him become unnerved."
Montgomery rallied on the back nine and then won on the second hole of a playoff against Matt Scarafoni of the Country Club of Pittsfield to win last year's City Championship at GEAA.
This year's event, which pits the club champions from Pontoosuc, GEAA, the CC of Pittsfield and Berkshire Hills Country Club, is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8 at Pontoosuc.
Montgomery and the Country Club of Pittsfield's Kelly Collins (see related story) means there will be two 60-somethings in the field. Collins is 60. The club champions at Berkshire Hills and GEAA will be crowned this weekend.
Wahconah Country Club member Paul Zdanis shot an 80 to take low gross honors in Division A in the last of this summer's Berkshire County Seniors Golf Association events on Monday at Waubeeka Golf Links.
The other division winners were Connie McMahon of Stockbridge Golf Club with a 77 in Division B, Bill Lyon of Worthington Golf Club with an 89 in Division C and Don Debelieux of Berkshire Hills CC with an 89 in Division D.
The season awards for low scoring averages were won by Doug Reed of Worthington GC in Division A, Toive Tossavinen of Egremont CC in Division B, Sam Lussier of Amherst in Division C and Stan Walker of Wahconah CC in Division D. Tossa vinen was low overall net winner.
My apologies to North Adams Country Club member Peter Cowlin. Cowlin's name was listed incorrectly in results from the Allied Net Championship. Cowlin finished in a tie for first in the tournament.
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