Richard Lord | Tee to Green: Driscoll finally captures an elusive title
The Country Club of Pittsfield Men's Invitational had become Randy Driscoll's personal version of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day.
The Berkshire Hills Country Club member lost in the finals of the best-ball, match-play tournament four times in five years, the first three times with his father, Bob, as his partner and most recently with lifetime pal Jeff Puleri in 2014.
"I am sick of losing this tournament," Driscoll said moments after falling to Greg Fisk and Bill Cunningham in 2014.
Earlier this month, the script was rewritten as Driscoll and Puleri defeated 13-time CC of Pittsfield club champion Matt Scarafoni and veteran Pioneer Valley amateur Chris Ferriter to earn the elusive title.
"It was sweet," said Driscoll, who turns 41 today. "It really means a lot to me. I'm relieved to finally win it one time."
While Puleri enjoyed earning his second win of 2016 — he and Steve Sykes won the Allied Association Four-Ball — he was happiest of all for his friend.
"That's a tournament that Randy has loved for years, so it was really, really important for him," Puleri said.
In the final, Driscoll — with his father and mother looking on -— put together a spectacular front nine in the championship match to build a comfortable lead on the way to he and Puleri closing out Scarafoni and Ferriter on the 15th hole.
"We both played really well for most of the weekend, but frankly, Randy was a one-man wrecking crew on the front nine in the final," Puleri said. "He is just so steady and Pittsfield is a good course for him because he hits it so straight."
Indeed, Driscoll's full game was on display as he played the front in 4-under-par 31 before Puleri contributed needed pars on 10 and 12 and a birdie on the par-4 11th.
Because of weather issues, the quarterfinal and semifinal matches were shortened to nine holes and played on Sunday morning. The partners were 8-under par for the 13 holes they played in winning those two matches, which was especially impressive given the windy conditions that persisted all weekend.
"I told Jeff before we teed off that we had to be meticulous in making decisions on how to play our shots," Driscoll said. "It was tricky out there."
Perhaps the only disappointment for Driscoll — and it was just a tiny one given his thirst for the title — was not getting a chance to defeat Fisk, who had teamed with Cunningham to win the tournament three times in a row, including that last one in 2014 (last year's event was cancelled). Longmeadow Country Club's Fisk and new teammate Dave Laporte lost their quarterfinal match to young guns Chad Alibozek and Jake Matthews, who then lost to the Driscoll and Puleri in the semis.
"We wanted to play them [Fisk and Laporte], but those kids were impressive," Driscoll said. "They have a lot of talent."
Both of the champs have won best-ball titles with other partners this season — Puleri with Sykes and Driscoll with Chris Shields in the Stockbridge Trophy — but their lifetime bond (they have known each since they were 4) makes it special when they team up.
"We're comfortable together," said Puleri who is partnering with his brother Rick in this weekend's Pewter Cup while Driscoll takes a break from competition. "We are looking for other tournaments to play in."
One tournament Driscoll said is a certainty is the Little Brown Jug at Wahconah Country Club in Dalton. Like at Pittsfield, they have some unfinished business after losing in a playoff to Brent Dietz and Bill Tefft last summer.
With young daughters Leanna and Lily happily taking up much of his time, Driscoll is seemingly playing some of his best golf despite spending less time on the course. He gives much of the credit for that to Wyantenuck Country Club head professional Tom Sullivan, widely regarded as one of the best teaching professionals in Massachusetts.
"I can't say enough about Tom," Driscoll said. "He has helped me with my swing and how to play the game. He keeps it simple and works with what you've got. ... Working with him is like sitting on a couch and talking golf and when you are done you have learned a lot."
Congratulations to Wyantenuck Country Club members Ted and Cam Boraski for enjoying Father's Day together by capturing the Allied Association's Father & Son Championship at Berkshire Hills Country Club.
Dad Ted and son Cam shot an even-par 72 in the Scotch format to finish in a tie with Skyline Country Club's Paul and Matt Gilardi, the 2015 Allied Association Four-Ball champions. The Boraskis, formerly members at Wahconah CC, birdied the par-5 10th hole in a one-hole playoff to come away with the victory.
The previously mentioned Jeff Puleri and his father, Monk, tied for third place at 74 with Dan and Chris Bourdon, who are Waubeeka Golf Links members.
Waubeeka's Chris and Ryan Baran took the younger age division — based on the ages of the sons — with Wyantenuck's Chris and Ryne Salius finishing second.
What a perfect way to spend Father's Day!
To contact Richard Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-281-2226.
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