LINCOLN, R.I. – Bill Andrews, PGA (Portsmouth CC) and Dan Wilkins, PGA (Laconia CC) erased an early deficit to claim a come-from-behind victory over Bob Bruso, PGA and Patrick Beahn, PGA (Blackstone National GC) in the 2021 NEPGA Pro-Pro Match Play Championship at Kirkbrae Country Club.
Bruso and Beahn, the tournament’s top seed, kicked off the semifinal round against Eric Barlow, PGA (Winchester CC) and Todd Scarafoni, PGA (Bass Rocks GC). Bruso chipped in from just off the green on the 9th hole to move to two-up. Bruso and Beahn moved to three up on the 12th before halving the remaining holes for the 3 and 2 victory.
In the second semifinal match, Andrews and Wilkins took on Ed Kirby, PGA (The Aquidneck Club) and Dan Baluik (Glocester CC) and the match was all square through the front nine. Andrews made birdie on 10 and Wilkins followed with a birdie on 11 to take a two-up lead. Wilkins and Kirby both made birdies on the 12th, but Wilkins rattled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th for a three-up lead. The match ended 4 and 2 after Andrews sunk a 50+ foot putt on 16.
In the Championship Match, Bruso and Beahn exploded out of the gates with a pair of birdies to take a three-up lead through four holes.
“If it was a fight, they would have stopped it after the fifth hole,” Wilkins quipped.
After settling in for a stretch on the front, Wilkins made a par on the challenging 8th hole to cut the lead to two where it remained at the turn.
“We were definitely down, but we’ve played a lot of golf together and we looked at each other and said ‘Hey, you know we played a lot, let’s just hang in there and battle back,’” said Andrews on the early deficit. “If we could maybe get it to where they were one up maybe they’d start thinking about us a little bit because we definitely weren’t putting any pressure on them at the start.”
Andrews carded a birdie on 11 and Wilkins followed with a birdie on 12 to bring the match to even, where it remained until the 16th hole. From the middle of the fairway on 16, Andrews put his approach inside of five feet and made the putt for their first lead of the match. “That pin placement was treacherous,” Andrews added.
Down for the first time in the match with two holes to play, Bruso and Beahn were unable to convert birdie putts on 17 and 18 to bring the match back to even and extend to extra holes. Steady pars from Andrews and Wilkins on the finishing holes secured the win.
“Thank you to Kirkbrae for letting us play, the staff was great and it’s a fun golf course,” Andrews concluded.
Thank you to Kirkbrae Country Club General Manager Mike Bradshaw, PGA, and Superintendent Pete Wood along with the entire KCC staff for hosting the NEPGA Pro-Pro Match Play Championship. The NEPGA would also like to thank its Pro-Pro Match Play Championship supporting partners: Jack Jolly & Son, Maui Jim, Nexbelt, the PGA Tour, Prize Possessions, and Summit Golf Brands.
(7) Andrews / Wilkins def. (1) Bruso / Beahn – 1 up
(1) Bruso / Beahn def. (5) Barlow / Scarafoni – 3 & 2
(7) Andrews / Wilkins def. (2) Baluik / Kirby – 4 & 2