GREAT BARRINGTON — Country Club of Pittsfield head professional Eric Mabee did not get to play as much competitive golf this season as he might have liked. In the final Northeastern New York PGA event of the season, Mabee made this one count.
Mabee shot a 3-under-par 67 on Wednesday to claim the Tour Championship’s OMEGA Champions Cup, beating Scott Berliner by two strokes. Mabee, Berliner and Chris Sanger all shared the lead after Tuesday’s opening round.
“In a normal year, I would play a lot,” Mabee said. “There was just more going on. I wouldn’t say we were so busy that we couldn’t play. Some of it’s by choice. We had a few events cancelled. I typically only play in four or five events.
“It was nice to play with Chris and I always love playing with Scott.”
Mabee, Berliner and Sanger were all tied at 1-under 69 after the first round. Thanks to three birdies on the front nine, Mabee had the Wednesday’s low round with a 3-under 67. Berliner had three bogeys and fell to a second consecutive 69. Sanger bogeyed the first two holes and ended up with a 2-over 72, falling into a four-way tie for third.
“I hadn’t won all year, so it was nice to get this,” said Mabee, holding onto the crystal trophy. “I got this two years ago at Taconic. I had some of the same feels. One of my good friends, Gary Scarafoni, came to watch that. I think I was 7-under through 11 at Taconic in the second round, so I had some feelings of that.”
Mabee and Berliner did combine to win a Pro-Pro tournament at Waubeeka Golf Links in Williamstown back in June. It was the pro from Saratoga Spa who had been the bigger winner this summer. Berliner won the Donald Ross Classic and the third Pro Classic. Berliner then went on to beat Mabee by four strokes in the Northeastern PGA Stroke Play Championship on Aug. 17-18, at the Mohawk Golf Club in Schenectady, N.Y.
“Eric’s a phenomenal player,” Berliner said. “Fortunately for most of us, he doesn’t have a chance to play much. Whenever he comes out, he’s going to be tough to beat.”
Mabee was one of three Berkshire County pros to earn checks. Thomas Sennett, who works with Mabee at Pittsfield, earned $690 by finishing in a four-way tie for third at 141, five shots back. The other golfer to finish in the money was Stockbridge pro Steve Mazzariello, who shot 146 over two days, good for eighth with a $345 check.
Two other county pros, Josh Hillman of Taconic and Marc Levesque of the host club competed. Hillman was in a four-way tie for 10th at 148, while Levesque was 17th at 154.
Mabee had birdied the first two holes on his back nine Tuesday and then finished his first round with seven straight pars. The Country Club of Pittsfield pro started his second round as he ended the first, with pars. In fact, Mabee parred the first five holes of his second round, before making birdie on three of the next four, and made the turn in 3-under 32.
“I hit the ball great yesterday, putted well. I haven’t been playing a ton of golf, so playing two days in a row helps,” Mabee said. “We’re all square on the first tee starting today, so you play golf and see what happens. I didn’t make a bogey until 17, so I was in the driver’s seat up until there.”
It wasn’t just a bogey. It was a double bogey on the par-4, 17th hole.
“I didn’t hit one fade today,” he said. “I was in a bit of a jail. I was 186 [yards out] and thought I could hook an eight-iron around the trees. I pulled it straight left, took an unplayable and was lucky to make six, quite frankly.”
Mabee, who had an eagle on the par-5, 564-yard 13th hole, could have seen his lead slip away on the 18th. Could have, but did not.
He was on the green in two, and two-putted for par. That locked up the title because Berliner had bogeyed the par-4 17th. Berliner came back to birdie 18, but it was too little, too late.
The highlight of Mabee’s round, however, had to be the eagle on 13.
“Truthfully, I felt if I didn’t hit the pitch high enough, it was going to go over the green,” he said. “There was a little knoll that I had to carry, that was just on. It was just perfect. The wind picked up which helped slow the ball down. Luckily, it dropped for an eagle three.”
Even though Berliner lost the The Tour Championship, he did win the Omega Player of the Year trophy. Berliner finished with 2,594.17 points. Justin Hearley of Normanside Country Club in Delmar, N.Y., was second with 2,105 points. Jeremy Kerr of the Mohawk Country Club was third at 1,454.17, while Mabee was fourth with 1,332.50 points. Mabee only played five events, while Berliner played in 10 and Hearley played in nine.
“Obviously, that’s a pretty cool achievement,” Berliner said. “When I first started to play, I’m not a goal setter. I just enjoy playing and competing. If it worked out that it’s 10 [points titles] in a row, that’s pretty cool. It’s not something I put on my wall to strive for.
“I’ve always taken pride in me being able to play and my consistency over the years.”
While Mabee was happy with his performance, he also broke into a smile when asked about Sennett’s third-place finish.
“Thomas is a great player,” Sennett’s boss said. “For him to finish it off today and shoot one over. He was playing in the group in front of us. I saw a few putts drop, so that was cool.”
Sennett could have finished higher, but he had two bogeys and a par to wrap up his tournament and finish at 71.
“He’s been a great addition to the staff,” said Mabee, “and we’re lucky to have him.”
Northeastern N.Y. PGA Tour Championship/OMEGA Champions Cup
at Wyantenuck Country Club, Great Barrington
1. Eric Mabee, CC of Pittsfield ($1,200), 69-67 136; 2. Scott Berliner, Saratoga Spa GC ($1,035) 69-69 138; 3. (tie) Thomas Sennett, CC of Pittsfield ($690) 70-71 141, Daniel Kinn, Acushnet Co. ($690) 70-71 141, Justin Hearley, Normanside CC ($690) 72-69 141, Chris Sanger, Woodstock GC ($690) 69-72 141; 7. Jeremy Carr, Mohawk GC ($400) 72-72 144; 8. Steve Mazzariello, Stockbridge GC ($345) 74-72 146.
Other Berkshire County Pros
T-10, Josh Hillman, Taconic GC, 75-73 148; 17. Marc Levesque, Wyantenuck CC, 79-75 154.