Richard Lord | Tee to Green: Schopp, Mullany utilize team chemistry to claim Stockbridge Invitational
Given last year's championship match and this year's opening round at Stockbridge Golf Club, perhaps it was inevitable that the Davis Mullany-Mike Schopp duo would meet defending champions Chris Shields and Matt Scarafoni in the Stockbridge Invitational championship match last Sunday .
After all, the teams combined for 13 birdies in a spectacular final along the Housatonic River in 2018 and on Friday, in a qualifying round that determined the flights and seedings for match play, they made birdie after birdie.
"We were in an hour before Chris and Matt, and we posted a 63," Mullany said. "Normally, 66 is good enough to be the medalist, never do I remember a 63."
Well, never say never.
"They were in the second-to-last group and came in with a 62," Mullany said. "That was pretty incredible."
That meant that Shields, a member at Stockbridge, and the Country Club of Pittsfield's Scarafoni headed into match play as the top seeds while Wyantenuck Country Club members Mullany and Shopp were No. 2.
Eventually, the teams would make it to the final as expected, although Mullany and Shopp learned right away that their seeding didn't make them a lock to advance.
"We were 2 down to Bernie Leary and Jimmy Rodriguez through six holes in our first match," said Mullany. "They are a couple of wily veterans, they've probably played the tournament for 40 years. They were holding tough but eventually we got past them."
After defeating fellow Wyantenuck members EJ Trundle and Mike Bell in the Sunday morning semifinals, it was on to the rematch of their 2018 epic — but this time it was Mullany's and Shopp's turn to come out on top, closing out the match on the 16th hole for a 3-and-2 win.
Both Mullany and Scarafoni were quick to point to a sizzling-hot putting display by Shopp as the key to the outcome.
"The finals were not my match to shine," said Mullany. "Mike really stepped up and made some bombs."
That's an understatement. Scarafoni recalled three putts of at least 30-plus feet that Shopp hit that found the cup. Perhaps the biggest came on the par-3 11th hole after Shopp had birdied the previous hole to even the match.
"That's when things started to get crazy," Scarafoni recalled. "I drained a 30-footer (for birdie), and Mike puts it in on top of me to tie the hole. Then he makes a 35-footer (for birdie) on No. 13. His putting was incredible."
That weekend wasn't the beginning of a hot streak for Shopp. He combined with his brother, Ben, to win the Wyantenuck Invitational, another best-ball event, in late July. They defeated Mike Altobello and and Eric Cooper in that final.
"He's really been rolling the ball, his putter has been on fire," Mullany said. "He's also changed to hitting a cut off the tee that has really helped his game."
In all, Mullany and Shopp birdied five of the final seven holes and closed out the match with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16. Mullany made the birdie on the par-5 15th and Shopp, appropriately, clinched the win by sinking yet another birdie putt, this one from about 12 feet.
"We make a good team together," Mullany said. "We never get down and we make a lot of birdies together. That makes us a dangerous team."
No matter the winner, both teams have enjoyed the back-and-forth battles they have waged these past two summers.
"They are a lot of fun to play with and against," said Scarafoni, who also finished second recently in the Berkshire Singles. "They played great. It was a ball to watch so many putts go in."
"They're fun to be with, we look forward to playing them," said Mullany, who remarkably earned the victory while in the midst of his first three weeks as a dentist on Cape Cod. "They like to have fun out there, Matt was chatting all the way around."
Anyway, ready for a three-match?
Taconic Golf Club member Kathy Duguay will look to defend her title when a field of 69 golfers tee it up on Monday morning in the Women's Allied Association Championship at Wyantenuck Country Club in Great Barrington.
Duguay, who shot an 80 to defeat Wyantenuck's Jen Race by three shots in the 2018 Women's Allied at the Country Club of Pittsfield, will be seeking her eighth title in the association's signature event.
Duguay's performance also helped propel Taconic to the team championship by a comfortable 12 shots over Berkshire Hills Country Club. Led by Duguay and Kris Herman, who finished fifth behind her teammate last year, Taconic will be tough to dethrone, although the host club has a strong one-two punch in Race and Kathy Sullivan.
Other players capable to making a run at the individual prize include Berkshire Hills' Diane Breen, Taconic's Mace Foehl, the Links at Worthington's Chris Eugin, the Country Club of Pittsfield's Lilli Geehr and Angie Linger, the defending club champion at both the Links at Worthington and the Waubeeka Golf Links.
The field will tee off between 8:30 a.m. and 10:20 off both the first and 10th tees.
While the women decide are deciding their championship, Waubeeka Golf Links will be hosting the Allied Junior Championship, which is also the final event of the Berkshire County Junior Summer Series.
In last week's series event, Owen Petropulos, Max DiGrigoli and Nate Dos Santos came away with victories at Egremont Country Club.
Petropulos, who has dominated in his age group in the series, shot a 92 to take the top spot in the 13-and-under age division while DiGrigoli fired an 83 to win the 14-15 division and Dos Santos carded an impressive even-par 71 for the 16-and-over division.
Here's wishing good luck to 8-year-old Connor Snow, who will be traveling to the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y. to compete in the subregional stage of the national Drive, Chip and Putt competition.
Snow, who has taken part in Waubeeka's weekly Sunday clinics and is playing on the club's PGA Junior League team, finished second in the 7-9 age division in a local qualifier on June 29 at Saratoga -National in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The top three finishers in each age division in Wednesday's subregional will qualify for the regional finals at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., in September. The winners in Connecticut advance to the national finals at Augusta National on the Sunday prior to the 2019 Masters.
Paul Steele and Bonnie Galant came away with the men's and women's club championship titles at Pittsfield's GEAA recently.
Steele put together rounds of 86 and 82 to earn the men's title, while Galant successfully defended her women's championship with an 81. Earning low-net honors were Tom Hitchko and Barbara Frost.
Apparently, Steele wasn't satisfied with just winning the men's championship, shooting an 71 earlier this week — equaling his age for good measure — to take the club Super Senior title (ages 70-79). Past club champion Ron Pero shot a 77 to win the Senior (55-69) championship while Jack Kirby defeated Dick Casini and Bob St. Peter in a playoff after all three golfers recorded 87s to win the Super Duper Division (80-and-over).
Other winners were Gerard Galant (Senior, low net), Sally Olsen (Women's Senior) and Pero (Super Senior, low net).
Berkshire County Senior Golf Association
At Waubeeka Golf Links
Monday, August 6
1. William O'Donnell, CC of Pittsfield, 83. 2. Skip Glaszcz, Egremont CC, 84.
1. Bill Tighe, Wyantenuck CC, 71. 2. Steve Seward, Wyantenuck CC, 74.
1. Charlie Sawyer, Wahconah CC, 89. 2. Chet Douglass, Stockbridge CC, 89.
1. Jim Donovan, CC of Pittsfield, 73. 2. Buck Smith, Stockbridge GC, 75.
1, Steve Agar, Egremont CC, 93. 2. Tom Halstead, Berkshire Hills CC, 94.
1. Bruce Person, Wyantenuck CC, 75. 2. Jack Zwick, Stockbridge GC, 76.
1. Steve Mack, Wyantenuck CC, 91. 2. Steve Macchi, Wyantenuck CC, 92.
1. Lyn Camin, CC of Pittsfield, 68. 2. Elihu Katzman, Wyantenuck CC, 69.
Peter Kinne, Wyantenuck CC, 81; Sam Lussier, Amherst CC, 85; Jim Balfanz, Stockbridge GC, 81. Terence Cronin, Stockbridge GC, 85.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.