Tri-State Matches Take an Unexpected Turn
Ridgefield, Conn. – Aspirations for a 14th straight victory at the annual Tri-State Matches for Team Massachusetts took a turn towards reality on Thursday as the Bay State squad jumped out to an early 14-point lead after two rounds against the likes of Connecticut and Rhode Island at Ridgefield’s Silver Spring Country Club.
The 16-member squad, consisting of the top mid-amateur and senior competitors based on player of the year standings, will look to complete the victory on Friday in the final round of competition featuring single matches to be held on the same Connecticut course.
Points from Friday’s singles matches will be combined with the totals from Thursday to determine the 2017 Tri-State Matches champion. Between the morning and afternoon matches, Massachusetts tallied 60 total points and holds a 14-point advantage over host Connecticut (46 points) and Rhode Island (38 points).
Beginning Thursday’s round in the first of two foursome matches on the day, five of the eight matches saw Massachusetts competitors lead their respective matches in points, while the other three matches found themselves finish no less than second place.
Led by the pair of Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) and Joe Walker (Dennis Pines GC), the Massachusetts mid-amateur/ senior duo tallied six points – the most by any pair in the morning rounds – against the likes of Rhode Island teammates Kevin Silva and Gary Palmer, who garnered 2 ½ points, and the Connecticut duo of Kyle Nolin and Jim Romaniello, who recorded ½ point in the match.
The point system in place allowed each match the opportunity to earn one point for winning the first nine holes, another point for winning the second nine holes, and a third point for winning the overall match. A total of six points could be won in each match.
Also turning in significant performances in the morning rounds on Thursday were the likes of Jordan Burke and Ronald LaVerdiere (5 points), Jason Cook and Mike Calef (4 ½ points), Herbie Aikens and Jack Kearney (4 ½ points) and Mike Souliotis and John Hadges, who too added 4 ½ points towards their state team total.
Souliotis, making his Tri-States debut, was an alternate taking the place of Massachusetts Amateur champion Matt Parziale, who advanced to the final match of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Atlanta’s Capital City Club Thursday following an impressive come-from-behind win in the quarterfinal round and a dominant performance in the semifinals.
In the afternoon round, Massachusetts built on their 34 ½ point total by adding another 25 ½ points to their total.
The senior tandems of Dave Houghton and Ronald Laverdiere and Joe Walker and John Hadges led the way for Massachusetts, as the two pairs tallied a team-leading 5 ½ and 4 points, respectively. Houghton and Laverdiere edged out the Rhode Island team of Dave McNally and George Pirie while keeping Connecticut’s Bruce Kraczkowsky and Tom Brett off the board.
In the mid-amateur matches, the team of David Spitz and Colin Brennan, the 2017 MGA Mid-Amateur Champion, tallied 3 ½ points, while Herbie Aikens and Mike Souliotis collected three points in their match. Three teams tallied 2½ points in their respective matches and another garnered two points to round out the scoring on Thursday.
“Team Massachusetts was able to capitalize on their morning rounds and carried that success into the afternoon rounds against very talented teams from both Rhode Island and Connecticut,” said Kevin Eldridge, the MGA’s Director of Rules and Competition, who was on site Thursday for the first day of the Tri-State matches. “We saw a complete team effort on the course today and those efforts have put the team in a position to take home the title in the second and final day of competition tomorrow.
Team Massachusetts will look to take home their 35th overall title as the second and final day of the 84th annual Tri-State matches concludes on Friday. Play will begin at 9:00 a.m.