- Golfer Benefits
CONCORD, Massachusetts — Ray Allen, one of greatest 3-point shooters in NBA history, proved time and again that he excelled in pressure moments during his career. He was part of the Boston Celtics’ “big three” (with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce) that won an NBA title in 2008. And who could ever forget his game-tying shot for the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs?
Since retiring from pro basketball in 2016, the 2-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer has proven he can be just as clutch on the golf course.
“You get him on the last hole of something, he’s just killer,” said Dave Brilliant, the 1978 Mass Amateur champion, who witnessed Allen’s best-ever round, which took place four years ago at Concord Country Club.
As the Mass Amateur returns to Concord this week, perhaps somebody will pursue Allen’s score of 63. On that day, Brilliant played in a Member 3-Guest with longtime Concord member Jack Finigan as well as Mitch Robbins and Allen. Thanks in part to holing out for eagle on the par-4 16th (438 yards), Allen finished with a score of 7-under-par 63, matching the amateur course record set by Korn Ferry Tour pro Rob Oppenheim in 2002.
“What’s crazy is it should’ve been 61,” Allen said on GOLF.com’s Fully Equipped podcast in 2020. “I was hitting the ball everywhere but making putts. I made an eagle on a par-4. It was just one of those rounds where I didn’t worry about anything except stepping up and hitting the ball.”
Brilliant and Finigan said Allen didn’t have to make many putts from distance. Despite a bogey on the 4th, he bounced back with short birdie putts on 7, 9 and 12 and 14, but they point to holes 15 and 16 when they knew something special was at hand.
On the par-3 15th, Robbins had made birdie already for the group score, since Allen knew he had his best round going, he putted out and made the 6-footer for par. On the 438-yard, par-4 16th, Allen took a risk by cutting the corner over the trees, and his drive landed about 116 yards from the green. He then pulled a wedge on the next hole and it rolled perfectly into the cup for an eagle.
A birdie on the par-5 17th put him at the magic number, and a par on the final hole not only delivered a team victory but an immaculate score of 63 for Allen.
“Of all the times he’s played there, he’s probably shot in the 60s three or four times,” Finigan said. “The fact that he shot at 63 was pretty amazing, considering he had to make every putt because we needed them for the tournament.”
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Allen still plays frequently in the New England area, spending summers at his home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. He’s a member at TPC River Highlands, where the Travelers Championship is held, and spends the warmer months playing multiple times a week around the area. In 2015, he was invited to play with President Barack Obama at Farm Neck Golf Club on Martha’s Vineyard.
Finigian said Boston restaurateur Patrick Lyons helped introduce him to many of notable Boston sports figures including Cam Neely, Dennis Eckersley, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers and Allen. Soon enough playing a few times a year turned into playing 2-3 times a week for 2-3 years.
“We had a group of about 12 guys that would always be playing together, and Patrick was kind of the hub of it all,” Finigan said. “He brought Ray in, and I was just fortunate enough to be hanging with the guys.”
“We’re all close with Doc,” Brilliant said. “Whenever his team is in town, we have dinner, play golf, and we’re all still friends.”
Now 46, Allen has played in a handful of events, such as the American Century Championship and the LPGA Tournament Of Champions. But Brilliant and Finigan suggested he has some touring potential.
“He’s got borderline senior tour ability, he just never played much tournament golf,” Brilliant said. “When you see these celebrity tournaments, with Tony Romo and whatnot, this guy is better than any of them.”
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