Home win for Stockbridge golfers
It was a good weekend for the home team in the Stockbridge Trophy best-ball tournament at Stockbridge Golf Club last weekend.
The Stockbridge team of Randy Driscoll and Chris Shields finished at 6-under 136 with rounds of 69-67 to beat fellow club members Jim and Matt Finnerty. The father-and-son team had rounds of 70 and 68. The Finnertys also captured first flight honors.
It was the first time Shields and Driscoll have teammed up in a best-ball event.
"We’ve been looking to play together," Driscoll said. "Chris’ dad had to pull out with a bad hip, so Chris asked me to play."
After an opening round that included three birdies and a single bogey, the pair hopped on the birdie train in round two, producing six birdies, including one on the final hole.
"We didn’t know where we stood going into 18," Driscoll said. "We figured we probably needed to make a birdie. As it turned out, we didn’t need it, but we did make it."
Driscoll also has a new partner this weekend in the Country Club of Pittsfield’s Classic Invitational. After being a consistent title contender with his father, Bob, in recent years, he is paired with lifetime friend Jeff Puleri.
"Dad and I will play together in a tournament that is less than five rounds in three days," said Driscoll of Bob, who is closing in on age 71. "Jeff has been a best friend since I could talk. He’s one of the best players in the county when he can gets to play. He hits it long."
Last weekend, the buddies were foes -- Puleri, the sports information director and head baseball coach at MCLA, and his brother, Rick, finished third at Stockbridge.
There will be two Berkshire County club professionals in the field when the Massachusetts Open begins its three-day run at Weston Golf Club in suburban Boston on Tuesday.
First-year Wahconah Country Club head pro Peter Egazarian got his spot as a result of his club hosting an Open qualifier while Wyantenuck Country Club’s Tom Sullivan qualified as a result of winning the Berkshire County Pro Championship last fall.
Egazarian, who is making his Mass. Open debut, will be seeing Weston GC for the first time. Having played three New Hampshire Opens and one Connecticut Open, he has a pretty good idea of what awaits him.
"With an event of that caliber, I know it will be a difficult golf course and it will be set up to be difficult," the 32-year-old said. "No doubt, they will stretch it out."
While his club responsibilities didn’t allow him time to head east for a look, he isn’t going unprepared.
"I’ve been working very hard on my game," he said. "I want to make sure that my performance represents myself and Wahconah well."
Sullivan, still a force in the Northeast New York PGA Section at age 63, is taking a realisitic and relaxed approach.
"It’s a beautiful course, but it’s so long," said Sullivan, who played a practice round there recently. "It’s going to be brutal."
Sullivan certainly knows who benefits from the course’s length.
"The kids these days just hit it so long," he said. "If I do well, it will be a godsend. But that’s OK, I’ll go play for two days and get to see some friends."
The local qualifier for the Massachusetts Amateur is a little more than two weeks away, but the pairings are out and Berkshire County and Allied Association courses will be well-represented.
A total of 15 local players, from teens to 60-somethings, are entered.
The under-20 set includes Stockbridge’s Matthew Finnerty, Egremont CC’s Devin Farnum, Berkshire Hills CC’s Hayden Jarck, Forest Park CC’s Chad Alibozek and Taconic GC’s Matt Freitag,
Four golfers who successfully qualified at Stockbridge for the 2011 Amateur -- Wyantenuck’s Davis Mullany (who reached the round of 16 that year at his home club), Berkshire Hills CC member James Ryan, former Berkshire Hills member Bob Linn and Stockbridge senior Jim Finnerty -- will hope the venue is kind to them again.
Also looking for a spot in the field at Kernwood Country Club in Salem in July will be Taconic GC’s Bo Peabody, Worthington GC’s Jim Patterson, Wahconah CC’s Paul Briggs, Wyantencuck CC’s Mike Schopp Jr, Stockbridge GC’s Randy Driscoll and CC of Pittsfield’s Donnie Troy.
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