Mount Everett’s Devin Farnum takes home this trophy as Berkshire Classic champion.
Mount Everett’s Devin Farnum takes home this trophy as Berkshire Classic champion. (Matthew Sprague / Berkshire Eagle Staff)

STOCKBRIDGE -- Devin Farnum's ball stroking and putting won him the fifth annual Berkshire Classic golf tournament. But the red shirt the Mount Everett golfer wore here Sunday gave notice that he was at the Stockbridge Golf Club to make his presence felt.

"I usually try to wear the reds on Sundays, like Tiger Woods wears his Sunday reds," Farnum said with a big smile. "Next week during Western Mass., I will wear my team shirt.

"I just thought today was for more of the personal stuff. Next week is going to be for the school."

Farnum had much to smile about on this Sunday afternoon. He closed his round with a 1-over-par 36 on the back nine at Stockbridge for a 78, which was one shot better than rivals Mitch Omelenchuck of Taconic and Matt Lawrence of Drury.

Omelenchuck, who like Farnum started on the first hole, shot an even-par 36 on the front nine. But he bogeyed three of the first four holes and shot double bogey on the par-3 15th and par-4 18th, while Farnum parred the 15th and birdied the 18th to finish with a flourish.

Farnum and Omelenchuck were in two of the three groups that started at the first tee. Farnum, playing with Lawrence and Jared Fadding, were the first back to the pro shop and Farnum had to wait to see what other threesomes had done. By the time half of the field had come in, the Everett golfer had his title.

"Last year, Chad Alibozek [of Hoosac Valley] won it with a 78," said Farnum. "I was [thinking] I'd be in the top three for sure, being under 80, because this course is so much of a challenge. I just decided whoever wins it, wins it. If I shot good, good. If I didn't, oh well, that's how it goes."

Farnum shot the lowest score on a back nine, while Pittsfield's Ryan Grande had the second-best back nine score. Also starting on the first hole, Grande ended up finishing third as his 3-over 38 gave him a round of 80 and he finished fourth. They were the only four golfers to finish under 85 on the day.

It was a good start but a rough finish for Omelenchuck. The Taconic golfer began his day with birdie-3s on the first and third holes. After eight, Omelenchuck was looking to make the turn at par or better. He shot a bogey-5 on the ninth hole and made the turn at even.

Three more bogeys followed to start his back nine.

"I hit seven greens [in regulation] on the front nine. That worked out," Omelenchuck said. "I don't think I had a three-putt either."

After the double bogey on 14, Omelenchuck parred 16 and 17, and just needed a birdie on the 18th to win the title. Not wanting to hit the ball out of bounds on the right, the Taconic junior hit the ball into the left rough.

"Then I found out what the score I had to beat was and I kind of choked on it," he said. "I three-putted the last hole."

His putt from 12 feet flew past the hole and he was unable to get the bogey that would have forced a playoff.

"I would have rather lost by 10 than lose like this," said Omelenchuck. "I knew I could have shot good."

Things didn't start all that well for Farnum, who bogeyed two of the first three holes. He made the turn with a double-bogey on No. 9 and came back with a bogey-5 on No. 10. Farnum settled down by going par-par-bogey, before making four straight pars and a birdie-3 on the 18th hole.

"My chipping and my putting was better on the back, but my approach shots on the back were definitely a lot better," Farnum said, adding that success with his driver on the back nine led to the good round.

"That put me in the fairways and it gave me good chances," he said. "I birdied the last hole from the fringe. It's a great equalizer."

Drury's Lawrence was fairly happy with his round at Stockbridge, a round that had him 3 strokes off the lead at the turn but wasn't quite enough to catch the leader.

"My irons worked very well. I was getting the ball on the green in regulation and leaving it up to my putter," he said. "I putted well. I had a birdie on No. 5. Once I got on the back, I started losing those short little putts. I think it was on 13 and 14 where I missed two [short] birdie putts. I kind of lost a little confidence there."

Lawrence parred instead of birdied 13 and 14 and then had three straight bogeys to knock him behind the leader.

Grande's day was just the opposite. He had four bogeys and a double on the front nine, but closed strong with two birdies and two pars on the final four holes.

To reach Howard Herman:
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