Up and Down
Friedman Dominates Rain and Cold to win Avidia Cup Finals
Liam Friedman, PGA (Nashawtuc CC) persevered through tough wind and rain to shoot a winning score of four-under-par 68 at Montcalm Golf Club in the NEPGA Avidia Cup Finals on Tuesday. The Avidia Cup Finals takes the top 54 finishers from all of the NEPGA’s stroke play events and awards the winner as the player with the most aggregate points.
Frozen was the best way to describe every player who walked into the clubhouse at Montcalm following their round. It was hard not to be, considering the 50 degree temperature and rainy conditions plaguing Enfield, NH.
Friedman wasn’t immune to the temperatures, but channeled his energies fully towards the task at hand: being the best golfer on the course. He got off to a great start, making a birdie on the mammoth 374 yard par-4 first hole. He had a less than stellar rest of his front nine, making two more bogies on the fourth and sixth holes to turn through nine at one-over-par.
As the rain really began to pick up on the back nine, Friedman’s game rose to the occasion. He started from the tenth hole with three straight birdies and holed out on the 15th to make an eagle. A 31 (-5) on his back nine was really what propelled him to success. He finished with a total score of 68 (-4), just edging out David Jankowski, PGA (Orleans GC) who shot 69 (-3).
Even in tough conditions, Friedman found some joy in the round.
“I just kept my nose to the grindstone really, and tried to keep the ball in the fairway, hit it close, and make some putts. I had a lot fall on the back nine that really helped, but it was a lot of fun out there to play,” said Friedman.
Wentworth puts up a great test for Head Pro-Teaching Pro Championship
Rico Riciputi, PGA (Wentworth by the Sea CC) finished with a 71 (+1) and won a playoff to take home the crown at the NEPGA Teaching Professional Championship. Tom Tobey, PGA (Sandwich Hollows GC) was crowned the Head Professional Champion, finishing with a 69 (-1) and was the only player under par.
The weather was dicey at best heading into the day. The morning groups hit their tee shots without a drop of rain to fall, but as the day progressed, the weather got only worse. The afternoon groups surely had a much tougher time facing down the quirks of Wentworth’s layout, wind gusts, and occasional downpour.
The Teaching Professional contest began and concluded first. As a host PGA Professional, Riciputi had home field advantage on the course, but still struggled with his fellow Professionals. From the start, Riciputi made bogey on the mammoth 450+ yard par 5 hole. But, he wouldn’t be too down for too long.
The second hole is one he’ll remember forever, as he put the best swing he had on the ball, to knock it in the hole for his very first hole-in-one.
“It’s really cool because I got to do it at my home course and in front of my members too, it just means so much more to do it here than anywhere else really,” said Riciputi.
The rest of his round was filled with solid golf, navigating the narrow fairways that Wentworth has to offer. After turning through nine holes at even, he made two birdies on the 11th and 13th holes. But, even he wasn’t without some struggles on the course, and made an 8 on the 14th. He salvaged some of it with a final birdie on the 18th, and finished with a one-over-par 71.
Riciputi, Eric Barlow, PGA (Winchester CC), Rick Karbowski, PGA (auburn Driving Range) all finished tied in the top spot at 71 and headed to a playoff on the first hole. After two perfect shots, Riciputi holed a 25ft birdie putt to win as Karbowski and Barlow made par. It’s his first win in the Teaching Professional Championship.