STOCKBRIDGE -- The Allied Senior Championship was shortened to nine holes by a steady and increasingly driving rain that saturated Stockbridge Golf Club on Monday, but given recent history, it's unlikely the winner would have changed if all 18 holes had been played.
To the surprise of no one, Andy Congdon conquered the soggy conditions to walk away with his fourth straight Allied senior title.
The 59-year-old Wyantenuck Country Club member rode a hot putter to an impressive 2-under 34 on Stockbridge's front nine to win by three shots over Taconic Golf Club's Jeff Pollucci and four over Worthington Golf Club's Doug Reed. Scores were computed in relation to par, because a shotgun start resulted in the golfers playing different hole combinations.
Congdon started fast before the rains came, draining birdie putts of about 12 and 20 feet on Nos. 1 and 3 that gave him a early boost of putting confidence.
"I could tell when I saw Terry [Coffield] and Chris [White] putt before me on the first hole that the greens on the course were a little quicker than the putting green," Congdon said. "That helped me. It's always good to see that first one go down."
The rain started falling for Congdon on the tee at the par-4 fourth, leading to a few negative notions creeping into his head.
"I had uncomfortable thoughts thinking about where the trouble was on the tee on No. 4 and No. 6," Congdon admitted.
He suffered his only bogey of the day on No. 4, failing to get up-and-down from 10 yards short and right of the green.
After a two-putt par on the par-3 fifth, Congdon pushed his drive on the par-4 sixth, leaving a difficult shot with trees blocking his path to the green. He finished 15 yards left of the putting surface and then left his chip about 12 feet short of the hole. But this was a day when the hole looked to be the size of a basketball hoop to Congdon, who calmly sank the putt.
Still 1-under playing the long par-5 eighth, an off-target second shot finished behind a tree. He took the safe approach, pitching his ball back into the fairway.
"It's not like me to punch out like that," Congdon said. "I was thinking about going through the trees, but then I thought that would be foolish with the way I was putting."
Good decision. After a well-judged wedge shot, he slam-dunked another putt from about 10 feet to save par again. Not surprisingly, he made yet another putt on No. 9, this one from about 8 feet for a birdie, to complete his 34.
"That was a great putting exhibition," said Stockbridge member White, who also birdied No. 9 to finish in a tie for fourth place at 3 over. "He just won the South Carolina Senior Amateur, so he must be doing everything right."
"The greens were beautiful," Congdon said. "They were all the same speed and seemed to match up with my touch today."
Congdon has now captured 13 individual Allied titles. In addition to his senior wins, he has won the Allied Championship nine times.
Pollucci, meanwhile, also coped well with the increasingly difficult playing conditions in finishing second.
"We did play preferred lies, so that helped," said Pollucci, who said keeping his grips dry was the biggest challenge.
He figures that finishing second to Congdon isn't a bad day's work.
"It was a good round for me in these conditions, or any conditions," he said. "Any tournament Andy's in, I'm sure that he is doing everything better than me. Just to be mentioned in the same breath is an honor."
Ralph Dastoli and Fred Goerlach of Berkshire Hills Country Club, Wyantenuck's Richie Congdon, Taconic's Mike Deep and Wahconah's Tim Taylor joined White in the tie for fourth.
"My bag is going to be a lot lighter when I get home after I take the two oars out of it," joked Goerlach, who captured last weekend's President's Cup tournament at Worthington, as he dried off in the clubhouse.
To contact Richard Lord:
or (413) 496-6236.