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SEEKONK, Massachusetts – For the second time in three years, Mark Souliotis (Haverhill CC) and Michael Souliotis (Haverhill CC) were able to raise a trophy high in triumph. The father and son duo battled a field of nearly 70 teams and Mother Nature’s August wrath to capture the senior division title at the 2018 Massachusetts Father & Son Championship held on Monday at Ledgemont Country Club.
It marks the second title for the duo and the second in just three years, and they now become only the ninth team dating back to the event’s inception in 1977 to win two or more titles.
“We have been playing a lot,” said Mark Souliotis, 53, who back in 2012 advanced to the finals of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. “We really meshed well today, and it means a lot just coming out and doing it again.”
The significance of the victory is indeed hard to overstate. Not only does the duo join that elite company to win multiple Father & Son titles, but their final score of 3-under par 68 was one of only three under-par scores posted in Seekonk on Monday.
“It was not a fluke is what it means,” added Michael after having to wait nearly four hours from the time they signed their scorecard to when they were awarded the top prize.
From the very start, the Souliotis team made a statement that they were out to contend. They made four birdies and zero bogeys on the front nine to make the turn at 4-under par 32 and enjoy an early lead which no one could touch as the day wore on.
“The key I think was the start we had,” said Mark. “We had a really good start getting a few birdies out of the way early. Our first three holes, we drained six footers to either make a birdie or to save par, so that was really good. We had a couple par threes that we made birdies on that we usually don’t expect. We had it going pretty good. We were hitting the greens, Michael was driving the ball really well, and he was putting and I was hitting my irons. We kind of did that all day. Stumbled a little bit, but it happens out there.”
The Souliotis team got it to 5-under par for the day after a birdie on the 145-yard, par 3 12th hole but periodic bouts of rain throughout the day hampered the play of nearly every team on site.
“Conditions were tough; the course was tough,” said Mark. “The back side was really hard. Especially the last four holes are really tough holes.”
A bogey on the par-4 15th hole and then a double bogey on the par-4 16th hole put a bit of concern into them, but a birdie on the final hole of the day – the 396-yard, par 4 18th hole – gave them a reason to smile and a sense that they should stick around to see how the rest of the day panned out.
“It was really good to make that birdie on the last hole because we thought it might make a difference knowing what we say coming though,” said Mark, who began the round with Mike at 10:10 a.m. but had to wait until the last team to tee off at 2:20 p.m. finished before learning of their fate. “The hardest part in these tournaments is finishing. We’ve been playing parent child, I played with my father and now my son, for a long time and the hardest part is the last four or five holes and trying to close a round out. We kind of giddy up a little bit and said you know we got to finish strong, we want to try to come in with two more birdies. We got one out the way, so that was really good.”
Once that final putt was made, the Souliotis’ began the waiting game.
“if I was being honest, we really did not want to go back out and warmup,” said Michael. “After being here that long, we did not want to play in a playoff. I don’t think we would have done very well. There are some really strong teams and if they had just finished it would have been real rough. Fortunately, we had a really good start to the round, and we were able to kind of get us home and finish out.”
Although the drive home back to the North Shore was delayed four hours, memories of that finishing birdie and a second trophy to take home made the agonizing wait a distant memory.
“Coming out and doing it again at a very different golf course is really exciting and really good to come back and start playing well again,” said Mark.
The Massachusetts Father & Son Championship will continue on Tuesday when the junior division teams (those featuring fathers with sons who have reached their 14th birthday and will not reach their 19th birthday by August 14, 2018) take to Ledgemont Country Club.