Sunday June 3, 2012

At last year's Massachusetts Open at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg, Milton Torres Jr. found himself near the top of the leaderboard as he teed it up on the 18th hole in the first round.

Fifteen minutes later, he learned a painful lesson he hopes will benefit him at Walpole Country Club in this year's event starting Tuesday.

"I learned that I need to be more focused on every single shot," said Torres, whose errant approach shot on the par-4 led to a triple bogey and quickly sent him down the leaderboard. "The round isn't over until you walk off the 18th green."

The Wahconah Country Club assistant professional didn't recover from that one-hole disaster, missing the cut with an 81 in the second round. But he's playing well again, as shown by his solid 1-over 73 in qualifying for the tournament at Berkshire Hills Country Club.

Torres is one of six players with county ties in the Open field. Joining him will be Berkshire Hills head pro Josh Hillman, Stockbridge Golf Club head pro Steve Mazzariello, Cranwell Resort head pro David Strawn, former St. Joseph's High School star Chris Marinaro and Wyantenuck Country Club amateur Andy Congdon.

Torres is ready to take another shot at the Massachusetts Golf Association's premier event.

"I feel pretty good and I'm looking forward to it," Torres said. "The swing is coming around and I've been working hard on my short game."

Unfortunately, Torres' work schedule and Walpole's availability for practice rounds didn't click, so he will not have the benefit of a practice round. He will walk the course prior to the opening round.

-- Richard Lord, Berkshire Eagle Staff