Congdon one shot short of Mass. Amateur match-play draw

Wednesday July 11, 2012

MARBLEHEAD -- Wyantenuck Country Club's Andy Congdon improved by four shots over his opening-day performance at the Massachusetts Amateur Championship at Tedesco Country Club on Tuesday, but it turns out he needed to improve by five.

Congdon fired a 2-over par 72 to finish the 36-hole medal-play portion of the tournament at 8-over 148, missing the cut to reach the 32-player match-play draw by one agonizing shot.

The 58-year-old reigning Mass. Golf Association Senior Player of the Year was 7 over with three holes to play, but suffered a double-bogey 5 on the 238-yard seventh hole (he started on the back nine). That dropped him to 9 over, meaning he needed to play his final two holes 2 under to advance or at least reach a playoff for the final spot.

He came oh-so-close to doing just that, starting with a near birdie on the par-3, 134-yard eighth hole.

"I hit it to six feet and missed the putt," Congdon said.

With the ninth hole a reachable 505-yard par 5, there was still a chance if he could get home in two and make the eagle putt.

"I hit a nice drive and a really good 3-wood on the green," Congdon said. "Those were probably the two best shots I hit all week. ... I felt I needed to make the putt to get in, but it just missed."

In the end it was a pair of the par 3s -- the seventh and the 143-yard 14th -- that proved to be the difference. He made a double bogey on No. 14 in the first round and went bogey-double bogey on No. 7.

"On 14, I hit a 9-iron over the green and was up against the back lip of a bunker with no shot," Congdon said. "On No. 7 [Tuesday], I mistakenly hit a 3-wood and it landed over the green and bounced across a road and out of bounds. ... That's 10 shots on two par 3s. Golf's a crazy game. ... I played well and had a chance coming in, but I just couldn't pull it off."

Meanwhile, four golfers -- Daniel Falcucci (72-68), Mike Calef (71-69), Jack Whelan (70-70) and Colin Brennan (69-71) -- tied for medalist honors and will take the top four seeds into match play. Brennan was last year's medalist when the tournament was played at Wyantenuck Country Club in Great Barrington.

One thing is for certain heading into the always unpredictable match-play portion of the tournament -- there will be a new champion. Last year's winner, Ryan Riley, shot a second-round 77 to finish at 151. Frank Vana Jr., Riley's victim in last year's final, advanced with rounds of 69-75.

FIrst-round leader Christopher Melvin, who shot a 3-under 67 on Monday, had a nightmarish Tuesday, shooting an 81 to miss the cut.

The round-of-32 will be played in the morning today, with the 16 survivors meeting in the afternoon.


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