WILLIAMSTOWN -- What’s better than a golfing dad teeing it up with his son on Father’s Day?
Playing as partners and winning, of course. This year, in the Allied Association’s annual Father and Son Tournament, that added perk was earned by Jim and Matthew Finnerty.
The Stockbridge Golf Club duo shot a steady 1-under-par 70 to edge Greenock Country Club’s Tom Keenan Sr. and Tom Jr. by one shot in the modified Scotch format at Waubeeka Golf Links.
"It’s the best," said 18-year-old Matt. "The most time we spend together is on the golf course. It’s a pleasure to take what we practice into a competitive environment and win."
"We’d been close before," said 63-year-old Jim. "We really enjoy playing together."
The Allied win comes of the heels of a second-place finish in the Stockbridge Trophy best-ball event at their home club.
"It’s the first time where Matt kind of took over," dad said of that runnerup showing. "I’ve been expecting that to happen. He made birdies on 12, 14 and 15 [in the final round]."
On Father’s Day, Dad got to experience parts of the course he can only dream of playing from with his own ball (father and son hit each other’s drives for their second shots before choosing one ball to finish out the hole with).
"When we played in this tournament a couple of years ago, we hit it about the same distance," Jim said. "Now, he hits it 50 yards past me."
Beginning on the short par-4 ninth hole in the shotgun start, the Finnertys got an early indication it might be their day.
"I hit a mediocre wedge shot and left him with a ticklish downhill putt," said Dad.
"It had about 6 feet of break and it went in," said Matt of the opening birdie. "I got lucky."
The Finnertys, who finished with three birdies and two bogeys, will play in next week’s Massachusetts Amateur qualifier at Stockbridge before teamming up again in the Massachusetts Golf Association’s Father-Son Championship at Willow Bend Country Club.
"We did well three years ago in the junior division," Jim said. "We’ll be playing in the senior division for the first time and it will be a challenge."
The senior division is for teams with a son 17 or over.
This summer of tournament play for Matt, who will also attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur, is a prelude to what he hopes is a successful college golf career at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.
"This summer is about getting ready to go out there and compete," Matt said.
While it’s a long way from home, dad says playing in the warmer climate should heat up his son’s game.
"I didn’t know much about Chapman, but when we went out to visit I saw that it was a fabulous school," Jim said. "It was between Trinity (Conn.) and Chapman. When I teed it up one day in a spring league and it was 35 degrees and windy, I realized school golf in the northeast just doesn’t work very well.
"Matt will be a different player after four years of golf in Southern California."
The Keenans, meanwhile, had a round that included an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole, two birdies and four bogeys. One short missed putt and one flubbed chip shot proved costly. But in the spirit of Father’s Day, that’s OK.
"We had a blast today and the course was in great shape," Tom Sr. said.
"It’s always fun," said Tom Jr., who alternates in the Allied event annually with his brother Matt. "Hopefully, we can get another 20 years out of him."
Three teams -- Berkshire Hills Country Club’s Tom Curry Sr. and Tom Jr., Skyline Country Club’s Steve Wood and Steve Jr., and Wyantenuck Country Club’s Jim and Bryan Cunningham -- tied for third with 72s.
The Curry duo shot their 1-over round despite a triple bogey that resulted when they both drove out of bounds.
"It’s hurts because it’s stupid," said dad, of following his son’s drive with an errant one of his own. "But, it’s Father’s Day and that means I can do whatever I want."
The field was broken into three divisions based on the son’s age. Country Club of Pittsfield club champion Matt Scarafoni and son Luke took the first division (ages 12-16) with a 79; the Finnertys took the second division (17-20) and the Keenans prevailed in the third division (21 and older).
To contact Richard Lord:
or (413) 496-6236