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BERMUDA – Longtime Mass Golf competitor and 2018 Massachusetts Amateur Championship runner-up Herbie Aikens, of Kingston, added to his impressive playing resume this week when he earned low-amateur honors at the Goslings International Invitational in Bermuda. The 36-year old Aikens shot an even par 211 in three rounds to top amateur runner up Damian Palanyandi by 11 strokes at the weeklong tournament, which was contested at Port Royal Golf Club and Belmont Hills Golf Club, two of the island’s top courses. Moline, Illinois’ David Lawrence captured the 2018 title with a final score of 7-under 204.
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Overall, Aikens placed third amongst the field, a field which included 18 amateurs and 82 professional players from the United States, Canada, England, Ireland and Italy, respectively.
Following a first round 2-over 73 mark Tuesday at Port Royal and a subsequent cancellation of round two on Wednesday because of high winds, Aikens sat T7 overall on the leaderboard and was second amongst all amateurs in the field as the tournament moved eastward for the final two rounds of competition at Belmont Hills.
Once at Belmont Hills, Aikens tallied five birdies en route to a 1-over 71 finish on Thursday to jump one spot in the overall championship leaderboard standings while also taking sole possession of the lead amongst all amateurs, setting up the opportunity to secure his first career Goslings Invitational low-amateur honor on Friday.
Entering the final round T6 on the leaderboard, nine strokes off Illinois’ Lawrence at 73-71-144, and two strokes ahead of Bermuda’s Palanyandi for the amateur lead, Aikens recorded six birdies to three bogeys in his final round of the week to finish at 3-under 67 for the day and even for the tournament.
The Kingston resident Aikens, a 2000 Silver Lake Regional High School graduate, finished second in this year’s Mass Golf Richard D. Haskell Player of the Year standings with 651 points. In addition to his runner-up finish at the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, Aikens also had a T2 finish at the state Four-Ball earlier this year, qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and won his second career Southeastern Amateur Championship.
On Friday at Belmont Hills, Aikens birdied the par-4 first hole, rebounded from back-to-back bogeys on three and four with birdies on holes five and six, played as a par-4 and par-5, respectively, while also birdying 10, 12 and 14 on his back nine. In total, Aikens recorded 12 birdies over his three rounds of play.
Of the nearly two dozen Bay Staters in the field, Aikens finished ahead of Jay Miller (a), of Wellesley, who placed second amongst Massachusetts residents, South Hamilton’s Kirk Hanefeld, Williamstown’s Dylan Dethier and Brockton’s Matt Parziale (a).
Brian Higgins (a), of Bellingham, Glenn Kelley (a) of Sherborn, Brad Stewart (a) of Dover, Brian Secia (a) of Nantucket and Tom Miller (a) of Wellesley rounded out the Massachusetts residents who finished amongst the top half of the field on the leaderboard.
Last year, he finished T18 at the Goslings Invitational at 4-over 286 in four rounds, while overall champion Daniel Gauunt, of New Malden, Surrey, England, fired a 16-under 266.