Smith Birdies Final Hole To Win Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship - MASSGOLF

Keith Smith Caps Off Season In Style With Comeback Victory At LeBaron Hills Country Club

For Immediate Release: September 28, 2023

LAKEVILLE, Massachusetts – Make two more good swings. That’s what Keith Smith (Franklin Country Club) was saying to himself on the 18th hole Thursday at LeBaron Hills Country Club. Not one to constantly check the leaderboard, Smith couldn’t help but take a peek on the 16th hole and saw he was one back of Brian Secia (Plymouth Country Club), upping his urgency in the final stretch.

Thinking he was still down on the 18th (he was tied), Smith placed an excellent approach about 10 feet directly behind the hole, which gave him a chance to make birdie and move back into the lead. With one last tap of the putter, his ball trickled slowly toward the hole, and just when it seemed it might stay out, it took a last-second turn left and into the bottom of the cup, prompting Smith to let out an overhead fist pump.

“I’ve never won a tournament where I made birdie on the last hole, so that’s always a little bit special,” said Smith, 65, of final putt, which gave him enough to win the Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship in his first year eligible.

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Smith finished with rounds of 73-71—144 (E) to edge out Secia, who played in the final group behind Smith. Secia, who also serves as a Mass Golf Volunteer Rules Official, played his heart out over two days and made it interesting right to the end. Though he couldn’t make a birdie to force a playoff, he still had a spectacular up-and-down from the left greenside rough to make par and finish one stroke back.

“Brian’s a great guy, and he’s played very well and would have also been a deserving champion,” Smith said of Secia.

This victory caps off a spectacular September for Smith, who didn’t earn a victory or advance in USGA qualifying before this month. Smith credits lessons with TPC Boston’s Director of Instruction Shawn Hester for making some subtle but necessary changes, chief among them being his swing tempo. Two weeks ago he won the New England Senior Amateur for the first time, and with this victory, joins Dave Houghton (Captains Golf Course) as the only other person to win the Massachusetts Senior Amateur (2021), Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur (2023) and New England Senior Amateur (2023).

“When your tempo is good, everything falls into place,” said Smith, who won the 2021 Mass Golf George M. Cohen Senior Player of the Year Award. “I had the same thing three years ago where about halfway through the year I started playing really well, and you’d think you’d be able to find it year to year, but it’s not that easy.”

Smith made the turn three strokes back after a solid start by both Secia and an excellent round by David Holmes (Blackstone National Golf Club), who shot 3-under 69 several groups ahead. Holmes got up and down from the back of the green to save by on the 11th and followed that up with consecutive birdies on the 12th and 13th to move within a stroke of the lead. Like Secia, though, Holmes missed the 18th green left and couldn’t save par as he settled for third place.

Around this time, Smith made birdies on holes 13 and 14 to earn a share of the lead and never panicked, even after a bogey on the par-5 15th gave the lead back to Secia, who then found the bunker on the 17th and couldn’t save par.

“It was odd because there were there were points in the round where I was striping it really well, and then there were stretches where I didn’t feel comfortable at all, and I made some bogeys, so I kind of felt like I was almost playing myself out of it,” Smith said. “Then I made a couple of birdies to get back in and at that point, it was just hang on. I was fortunate to make the putt on 18. It made all the difference.”

Brian Secia hits from the bunker during the final round of the Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship. (David Colt)

Legends Division

For the second straight year, Carter Fasick (Westborough Golf Club) added to his lengthy trophy collection by earning the Legends Division title (age 70+) at the Super Senior Amateur. Fasick carded a 73 on the final day to finish 5-over for the tournament, giving him a three-stroke margin of victory in the division.

“It’s a feeling of accomplishment to beat some of the actual legends of the game,” said Fasick, who earned a three-stroke margin of victory over Charlie O’Brien (Foxborough Country Club) and Don Anderson (The Kittansett Club).

The rather reserved Fasick was quick to credit three people specifically for helping him get his game in a good spot this year:

-Fred Dolan: “He really helped me physically with stretching.”

John Fasick: “My brother, he helped my attitude which was completely gone.”

Chris Ferriter (member at Orchards Golf Club): “He did a great job getting me back to fundamentals with my golf game.”

Carter Fasick won the Legends Division (age 70+) for the second straight year. (David Colt)

Round 2 News & Notes

Player Of The Year Race: Smith has officially secured enough points to earn the Mass Golf Super Senior Player of the Year Award for the first time. In addition to his New England Senior Amateur victory, Smith was also the low Super Senior in the Norfolk County Classic and was T5 in the Senior Hornblower Memorial Tournament. To view the Super Senior Player of the Year standings, CLICK HERE.

Ace Alert: Dave Knipe (Hopedale Country Club) made the fourth hole-in-one of his life Thursday when he aced the par-3 8th (155 yards) with a 7-iron to highlight his round of 2-under-par 70. Knipe said he previously topped his shot on the par-3 4th and made double bogey, but he evened the score and then some with this hole-in-one.

2024 Championship: The 2024 Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship is set to take place September 30-October 1 at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg. Everybody who completed the final round Thursday automatically earned an exemption into next year’s Championship Proper. This will be the first of three events Oak Hill has committed to host over the next decade. To learn more, CLICK HERE

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