Mark Savel’s Even-Par 70 Leads Way During Round 1 of 58th Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship at Pine Brook Country Club

for immediate release: September 25, 2018

WESTON, Massachusetts – In what turned out to be a rain-shortened first day of the 58th Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship at Pine Brook Country Club, Concord’s Mark Savel took the top-spot on the leaderboard and holds a one-stroke lead after 18-holes in Weston. The 60-year old Savel tallied three birdies to three bogeys to finish at even-par 70, one stroke ahead of both John McNeill and Don Foberg.

ONLINE: ROUND 1 RESULTS | EVENT HOME | WEDNESDAY STARTING TIMES

Play was suspended at 2:25 p.m. due to a non-dangerous situation because of the rain and as a result, this year’s Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship will be cut to one round.

Event Alert (posted 9/26 at 6:17 a.m.) : The resumption of Round 1 will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Competing in his first ever Senior Amateur Championship, the result of earning medalist honors at the championship qualifier held on August 14 at nearby Sandy Burr Country Club, the Haven Country Club’s Savel opened up play by carding one bogey and one birdie to seven pars and made the turn at even-par 35. Starting on the 10th tee, Savel, a longtime competitor in both the Mass Golf Father & Son and Father & Daughter team tournaments, rebounded from his bogey on the par-3 13th hole with a helper on the par-4 17th hole.

“I hit a very poor shot on the 13th hole, which created the bogey and I just kept saying to myself, ‘stay patient,’” said Savel following his blunder on his first par-3 of the day.

His advice to stay patient paid off four holes later when he collected his first of three bogeys Tuesday afternoon, capitalizing on a perfect drive to take his first dive under par on the leaderboard.

“Luckily, I picked the right yardage and the right club and knocked it to about 10 feet,” said Savel. “As you know, Pine Brook has incredible undulating greens, but it gave me that perfect flat putt and it was basically me saying to myself, ‘if I can hit a straight putt, you can make a birdie. Just a straight putt.’”

After sinking the 10-foot putt for birdie – courtesy of his straight putt – the first time Senior Amateur competitor Savel was able to carry his momentum to a par on 18 and back to the front side, where he look to further his ascension up the board.

After making the turn to Pine Brook’s front nine, Savel birdied the par-4 third hole and finished with his third and final birdie of the day on the par-5 ninth hole to finish atop the board amongst the 57 competitors in the morning wave of the first round – all of whom completed play before it was suspended at 2:25 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

On the third hole, he took a varying approach compared to his fellow competitors which paid dividends in the final results.

“Three was incredible because having played Pine Brook and watching everybody hit driver, In only hit a 4-iron off the tee and knew if I could hit to a flat spot on the right side, I wouldn’t have to worry about hitting a draw or a fade,” said Savel.

He added, “I could just go straight at it. And so I hit a 4-iron, maybe only 210 yards, and I hit it 196 yards, roughly, to the pin, and I hit a five iron to about 4 feet before sinking the putt.”

Heading to the final hole with a 1-over mark, Savel secured his third birdie of the day with a 58-foot putt from the front of the green to the back right that, according to Savel, “hit the back of the cup, popped up in the air and fell in the hole.”

The remaining 52 competitors who were in the middle of competition when play was suspended will return to their original positions beginning at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.

 

 NEWS AND NOTES:

  • There are seven former champions in the field this week responsible for nine total wins in the Senior Amateur Championship. In addition to 3-time champion Keith Smith, this week’s field also welcomes back Don Reycroft (2015), Dave Houghton (2014), Joe Walker (2012), Jack Kearney (2010), Paul Murphy (2009) and Doug Crawford (2007). 2008 champion Tom Bergeron, who was originally scheduled to compete, was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury suffered this past weekend.
  • This week’s host, Pine Brook Country Club, last hosted the Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship in 1966 when Tim Holland won his first of three straight Senior Amateur titles. To this day, only Ed Fletcher (4) has more wins in the annual event.
  • Entries are open to amateur golfers who have reached their 55th birthday by September 25, 2018 meaning that four competitors in this year’s field were eligible for the first time. Todd Ezold, Paul McGonagle, Doug Riel and Bruce White are all eligible for the first time having turned 55 in the past 364 days. With his July birthday, Wyckoff Country Club’s Riel is the youngest in the field at 55 years and 64 days. The oldest competitor in the field is Winchester’s Joseph Monahan III at 75 years and 145 days.
  • Among the 111 competitors in the field this week at Pine Brook Country Club, several competitors who’ve won Mass Golf championships this past year were also in the field. Among those in the field are 2018 Senior Four-Ball champions Jon Fasick and Carter Fasick, Ouimet Memorial Tournament Senior Division champion and Massachusetts Mid-Amateur champion Frank Vana, Jr., as well as New England Senior Amateur champion Jack Kearney and New England Super Senior Amateur champion Dave Houghton.