- Golfer Benefits
WILLIAMSTOWN, Massachusetts – In true fall fashion, the crisp and overcast conditions at this year’s Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship packed a punch Monday at Taconic Golf Club.
Nobody broke par in the first 18 holes of play, but Peter Harrison (Vesper Country Club) will sleep on a two-stroke lead after shooting 1-over 73 in the opening round, while six players remain within three strokes of the lead.
A total of 74 players made the cut at 12-over-par 83, and will play in the final 18-hole round Tuesday. Tee times range between 8-12:10 p.m.
Entries were open to amateur golfers who have reached their 65th birthday by October 3, 2022, and who have an active Mass Golf/GHIN Handicap Index at any public, private, semi-private, municipal or non-real estate Mass Golf member course/club not exceeding 12.0.
Peter Harrison said starting with a birdie on the opening hole isn’t often a harbinger of a good round ahead. In fact, a pair of double-bogeys on holes 8 and 9 on Monday could’ve sunk his round, but he fought back. After making four of his five total birdies on the back nine, he now finds himself in the driver’s seat with a chance to win his first Mass Golf title.
“It’s great,” said Harrison, who finished T9 two years ago when he last competed at the Super Senior Amateur. “I used to get nervous at these things, but now the Seniors and Super Seniors, it’s just fun. I enjoy the competition. I really, really like it.
Harrison, a standout within the Lowell area golf scene, saved his best birdie putt for last, sinking an improbable 15-foot downhill breaking putt on the 17th that likely would’ve rolled off the green had it not hit the hole and bounced in.
“On 8 and 9 I hit good shoots in there, so I just got bad breaks, but I got some positive breaks and made a lot of birdies on the back, so those even out,” Harrison said.
Hitting fairways, especially on a blustery, overcast day was the key to success, Harrison said.
“I hit 3-woods a lot in the beginning, and that helped me keep it in the fairway,” he said. “Luckily in the Super Senior the tees are a little shorter.”
Al Alminas (Franconia/Veterans Golf Course) and brothers Carter Fasick (Westborough Golf Club) and Jon Fasick (New England Country Club) all have a share of second place after shooting 3-over 74 in the opening round.
Carter Fasick goes way back with Taconic having played in the 1971 Mass Amateur here and making it to match play. While some of the elements have changed, Fasick has always referred to it as a “great golf course.”
“Its’s way more open and a little longer, with some bigger and deeper bunkers,” Fasick said. “There’s some really good golf courses in the Berkshires, and I have a lot of fun playing them.”
This season has also been filled with ups and downs for Carter, who has battled some health issues, that forced him to withdraw from some events like the Mass Senior Four-Ball. But since mid-summer, he has rounded into form.
“Before that it was one of my worst, but there’s people in tougher shape than me, so no complaints,” Fasick said.
Despite all that, Fasick finished out his round on a high note by making birdie on the downhill par-3 9th (170 yards), hitting a 6-iron at the pin and making the from about 12 feet.
“It was nice to make a birdie,” Fasick said. “The elevation changes and the cold weather make it play longer.”
Like Carter, Jon and Alminas had both their birdies on the front nine, with Alminas making birdie on the 1st and 2nd and Jon sinking his on the 6th.
The Fasicks also share the lead in the Legends Division, which was introduced in 2020 to provide a contest for players over the age of 70. They lead Jim Ruschioni (Wachusett Country Club) and Paul Murphy (Charles River Country Club) by one stroke.
Ruschioni, a stalwart within the Mass Golf community, shot 1-under 34 on the front nine but couldn’t find a birdie on the back nine.
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Player Of The Year Race: This year’s championship will also help decide the newest of Mass Golf’s Player of the Year Awards Presented by Delta. Entering this championship, Don Foberg (Plymouth Country Club) holds the lead in the brand new Mass Golf Super Senior Player of the Year Award, and with a victory would solidify the win. To view the Super Senior Player of the Year standings, CLICK HERE.
Important Eagles: At 81, Steve Hallquist (Amherst Golf Club) holds the distinction as this year’s oldest player in the field. On Monday, he also was the only player to make an eagle on the par-5 1st hole (451 yards). Milton Yanofsky (Belmont Country Club) had the only other eagle on the par-5 10th hole (486 yards). With anything worse than those eagles, both players would’ve missed the cut.
Course Statistics: The most difficult hole on the course Monday was the par-4 12th, which presents a difficult tee shot with a fairway bunker lurking off to the right and out of bounds all along the left side. Only two players managed birdie on Monday. The par-5 1st hole was the least difficult hole, ceding 20 birdies and the eagle by Hallquist.
Past Champions: The last three champions of this event — 2019-Don Foberg; 2020-Bob Linn (Berkshire Hills Country Club) and 2021-Don Reycroft (Bayberry Hills GC) — all made the cut on Monday. Among them, Foberg is leading at 6-over, five strokes off the lead; Reycroft finished 7-over, and Linn made the cut on the number at 12-over.
Senior History At Taconic: This may be Taconic’s first time hosting a Mass Golf championship for senior players, but the course has been on an even larger stage in the past. In 1996, the club hosted the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, with Pennsylvania native O. Gordon Brewer taking home the title for the second time in three years. Brewer defeated Heywood Sullivan, 2-up, in the final match. Massachusetts players in the field included Don Macleod, Fordie Pitts Jr., Alexander Lindsey, Dick Crosby, Ted Galo and Charles Volpone. Valpone, the 1956 Mass Amateur winner, and Galo won their first round matches but were both eliminated in the second round of match play.