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HARVARD, Massachusetts – It was a year of firsts at the Massachusetts Father Daughter Modified Scotch Tournament on Tuesday at Shaker Hills Country Club. The pair of Dean Godek and Alia Godek (Agawam Municipal Golf Course) shot an even-par 72 to win their first-ever Championship Division crown.
In the Forward Division, Todd Ezold and Sydney Ezold (Twin Hills Country Club) shot 8-over-80 for their first win in the Father Daughter Tournament.
The Father Daughter is an 18-hole event for two players contested in the modified scotch format. All fathers play from 6,200 yards and daughters may play from 5,600 yards (Championship Division) or 5,100 yards (Forward Division). In modified scotch, players select which drive to play and then alternate shots until the ball is holed.
Entries are open to any amateur Father and Daughter teams who have an active Handicap Index not exceeding 54.0 combined and 36.0 individually.
By the time they made their turn at the ninth hole on Tuesday afternoon, Dean and Alia Godek (Agawam Municipal Golf Course) were sitting at 1-over-par, but then they got hot to close things out. Birdies on 13 (par-3, 149 yards) and 15 (par-5, 520 yards) pushed the Godek’s down to an even mark of par and that is where they stayed to close out the round. Their efforts were good enough to hold off the pair of Fred Schernecker and Catie Schernecker (The Country Club) who finished just a stroke behind at 1-over 71.
Playing well in the Father Daughter is nothing new for the Godeks. They won the Forward Division together in 2016, and last year they also shot a mark of even par. Though that was not good enough to win, they did finish in solo third.
According to Dean, the key to victory was playing without expectation.
“We never looked at the leaderboard and we never looked online to see where we stood,” Dean said. “We were just having fun and enjoying ourselves and tried to shoot the best we could.”
Last year, Dean played in the Father Son Tournament with his son Matteo, and it was that event that inspired the attitude he and Alia shared on Tuesday.
“He wasn’t playing much golf, but he agreed to come out, and he said he would play with me under one condition,” Dean explained. “He said we go there to have fun, not go there to win. This year we came in with the same attitude. She wasn’t playing much and we said we’ll just enjoy ourselves and do the best we can and whatever happens, happens.”
Alia, a 20-year-old junior at Franklin Pierce University, said she always makes time to play in this tourney with her father.
“I play in a bunch of tournaments in the summer all over the place, even in college, but this is the best feeling to win this one,” Alia said.
Dean actually switched his qualifying event for the U.S. Senior Amateur so he could play with his daughter. The tournament coincided with Tuesday’s qualifier in Marshfield, so Dean played at Connecticut National Golf Club instead. Not only did he make the switch for his daughter, but he ended up as medalist to earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Amateur in Detroit from August 28 to September 2.
“This is the tournament we look forward to every year,” Dean said. “It trumps all tournaments.”
The top five teams were all separated by just one stroke, but the team of Todd and Sydney Ezold (Twin Hills Country Club) emerged victorious by shooting 8-over-par 80.
The Ezolds had a strong start to their day posting pars on their first four holes. Despite a few blips in the middle of their round, they closed things out with consecutive pars on the 17th and 18th holes to stay just ahead of the competition and grab their first-ever win in the Father Daughter Modified Scotch format.
Todd and Sydney play frequently over the summer at their local Twin Hills Country Club, but this was their first competitive event together this season.
“This is the first tournament we’ve played together,” Todd said. “Sydney played college softball and she was really kind of late getting into golf, but the last couple of years she’s played a lot.”
In preparation for the modified scotch format, Todd and Sydney actually played the alternating shot style for at least nine holes a week at Twin Hills. That, plus a focused strategy, paid dividends for them on Tuesday.
“My daughter’s only been playing for a couple of years, but she drives it well,” Todd said of Sydney, who is 25. “For the most part, she was driving it well, and I was hitting greens. She was keeping me close with the putter, and we just kind of three-putted our way through. She just drove it really well again, and we were fortunate enough to make a couple pars.”
As for sharing a title in a family event, “It’s fabulous,” Todd said. “Whether we won or lost today, it was awesome to just be out there competing with her. I enjoyed it very much and she did as well.”
Mike and Riley Casey (Charles River Country Club) came in just behind the Ezoldss at 9-over 81. Tai and Ali Lee (Granite Links Golf Club) were solo third with a mark of 10-over 82.
Shaker Hills Country Club, located in Harvard, was recently renovated in 2012. New owner Fred Curtis, Jr. took over the golf course and immediately acted on switching things up at the site. Curtis, Jr. purchased the property, got in touch with a professional golf course construction company, and began making instant changes.
The first move was to reposition the driving range and cart changing area which had previously been located in between the clubhouse and the finishing green on the 18th hole. Additionally, the par-4, 444 yard 18th hole became a par-5, 560 yard dogleg left that now finishes right at the clubhouse.
The old cart changing station was re-crafted into a 10,000 square foot practice green. The 30-acre space in front of the clubhouse that acts as an “amphitheater” towards the clubhouse became fully visible and is now on display at the forefront of everything.
Clubhouse renovations were also done and completed in the spring of 2013. From the top deck views of the 1st, 9th, 10th, and 18th holes are all visible. The new-look championship course now plays at 6,910 yards and to a par-72. Shaker Hills currently sits on 250 acres of property.