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SEEKONK, Massachusetts – It was a perfect way to end the summer for the O’Leary family.
The team of Brian O’Leary (Walpole CC) and Andrew O’Leary (Pawtucket CC) made birdie on two of their final four holes at Ledgemont Country Club on Tuesday to post a score of 3-under par 68 and capture the junior division of the 2018 Massachusetts Father & Son Championship.
It marks the second such title for Brian, who won the junior division title with his son Patrick in 2011. It is his first with Andrew, who is 18 years old and heading to the University of Notre Dame later this month to begin his freshman year in South Bend.
“My brother won this with my dad in 2011, so he always for the past seven years has said that he has a state championship and I don’t,” said Andrew. “ So it’s nice to kind of get back at him.”
Whether it was sibling rivalry or just plain clutch play, the O’Leary team delivered in Seekonk and pulled out a one-stroke win over the team of Scott Hampoian (Hillview GC) and Nicholas Hampoian (Thomson CC), who were 3-under par through 13 holes before suffering a bogey on the 377-yard, par 4 14th hole which would prove to be the difference in the end. The Hampoian team played their final four holes at even par to secure sole possession of second place.
Paul Puchol (Olde Barnstable) and Kyle Puchol (Olde Barnstable), winners of the junior division title in 2016, finished third with a score of 1-under par 70, while Kevin Daly (Salem CC) and Ryan Daly (Salem CC) came in fourth at even par 71.
For the O’Leary team, a fast start and solid front nine allowed them to get off to a fast start and set the stage for the heroics at the end of the round. They made the turn at 1-under par 35 following birdies made on the 1st and 8th holes and a lone bogey on the 9th hole.
“We hit the ball pretty solid on the front nine,” said Andrew. “We birdied one and we had a lot of looks for birdie, and we were just burning the edges. We really didn’t make anything. We birdied eight. Andrew made a nice chip to get it up and down to get it to two under. Nine was really our hiccup hole. Andrew had me to 50 yards in, and I did not hit a very good shot and three putted and made bogey.”
Five straight pars to start the back nine set up the final stretch of four holes where the O’Leary’s were able to break even and then ahead of the rest of the field.
“We birdied 15 and my dad hit a 35 to 40 footer on a par 3,” said Andrew. “Then we made a 30 footer on 18 for birdie, so that was kind of the first putts we’ve made all day so it felt nice.”
The chemistry between the two has been on display all summer long. Just last month, Brian served as caddie for Andrew during his march into the quarterfinals of the 2018 Massachusetts Amateur Championship held at George Wright Golf Course.
Few experiences would have topped that week in Hyde Park, but a divisional victory today might have done just that.
“It’s always fun to play with your kids whether it is competitive or just going out, there’s nothing better than playing golf with your sons,” said Brian. “It’s a major for me so to speak, just because I get to play with him.”