Golf notebook: Duo of Breen and Duguay just miss out on tournament title

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SOUTH HADLEY — The longtime Berkshire County team of Diane Breen (Berkshire Hills Country Club) and Kathy Duguay (Taconic Golf Club) proved they could play with some of the state's best on Monday when they tied for the top spot in the Women's Golf Association of Massachusetts' Eleanor I. Labonte tournament at The Orchards.

Unfortunately for the duo, ties in WGAM medal-play events are decided by a match of cards and that resulted in Mary Jane O'Neill and Mary Marengi (Turner Hill Golf Club) being declared the champions in the best-ball event.

Three teams — the pair Lucy Pupo and Patty Finne was the other one — finished at 1-over par 73 over the Donald Ross-designed layout that hosted the 2004 U.S. Women's Open. Using the U.S. Golf Association's recommended matching card process, the winners won by playing holes 16-18 two shots better than Breen and Duguay.

"I would have rather there was a playoff, but we were pretty happy with the way we played going against better competition than we are used to competing against," Breen said. "The winners were two- and three-handicap players."

That being said, Breen and Duguay had themselves in position to win but unfortunately stumbled over their final three holes.

"We bogeyed two of the last three holes and that hurt," said Breen, who recently won her 17th consecutive Berkshire Hills women's club championship. "If we par one of them, we are the winners."

Having started on the 13th hole in the shotgun start, they finished on one of the course's toughest stretches and had to settle for a bogey on the par-3 10th and par-4 12th, an uphill par 4 that played as the most difficult on the course.

"No. 12 is an uphill par 4 to a two-tiered green and it's the hardest hole on back nine," Breen said.

While it may have been unfortunate to finish on a tough hole, considering their start on the par-5 15th, they weren't complaining.

"Kathy holed out from 75 yards for an eagle to start the round," said Breen.

Breen contributed a birdie on the par-4 15th hole with an 8-foot birdie putt after an excellent approach shot to put the duo 3-under early.

They fell to 1-over with two bogeys and a double bogey (on the par-3 fifth hole) before playing holes 6-9 in 2-under with two birdies and a bogey to set the stage for their final three-hole stretch.

"We both shot about 80 so we ham-and-egged it pretty well," Breen said. "We were never out of any hole."

It was the second runner-up finish in a WGAM tournament this summer for the pair. They finished in a four-way tie for second place in the Curtis Bowl at Taconic in July. That tournament was a Scotch format event.

Duguay, who left directly from The Orchards for her job as a professor at East Stroudberg State in Pennsylvania, previously captured the WGAM's senior championship at Wyantenuck Country Club in 2014.

Asked how long they have played as partners, Breen estimated that it has been between 15 and 20 years, during which time they have certainly had victories that number well into the double digits.

"Neither of us have kept track," Breen said when asked how many championships they have won as a team.

Ortega and Martin narrowly miss alternate spot

DALTON — Stockbridge Golf Club's Matt Ortega and partner Michael Martin narrowly missed earning an alternate spot in next year's U.S. Golf Association Amateur Four-Ball Championship in a qualifier at Wahconah Country Club on Wednesday.

Ortega and Martin, who is from Framingham, shot a 6-under 65 to tie for third before losing in a playoff to New Yorkers Douglas Mehall and Doug Gifford for the second and final alternate spot that was up for grabs.

With a relatively small field of 19 teams, only one berth in the national tournament and two alternate positions were awarded. The team of Alex Jeffers (Watertown) and Garren Poirier (Killington, Vt.) put together an impressive round of 9-under 62 to win by two shots over Longmeadow's A.J. Oleksak and Pat Pio.

Oleksak — who has had plenty of success at Wahconah, having paired with Pete Aliminas for four Little Brown Jug titles — and Pio earned the first alternate spot with their round of 64.

Ortega and Martin put on a spectacular back-nine rally, combining for six birdies to shoot a 6-under 30 after having to settle for an even-par 35 on the front side.

Two teams featuring Wahconah members — Bill Yurko and Thomas Czelusniak along with Paul Briggs and Scott Hurley — finished back in the back. Yurko, who won the Allied Senior Championship in July, and Czelusniak, the reigning Wahconah club champion, finished at 1-under 70 while Briggs and Hurley shot a 71.

The national tournament will be played next May at Jupiter Hills in Tequesta, Fla.

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