The 2021 New England PGA season has been full of exciting moments, culminating today in Portland, ME with the Avidia Cup Finals. Coming into the day there were multiple season-long races up for grabs, as well as a single-day Championship, and Rich Berberian, Jr. left holding most of the hardware.
Starting the day, Berberian was sitting in third place for the Avidia Cup season-long standings and second in the Rolex Wogan Player of the Year standings, with both titles within reach if he could produce a solid round of golf and get some help from his fellow competitors. As it turned out, both scenarios played out in his favor.
Shawn Warren was sitting on a 1,007.50-point lead in the Rolex Wogan Player of the Year standings with one round to go, needing a top-4 finish to guarantee his 5th Wogan title since 2013. Warren admittedly had played Portland “a hundred times”, being from the area and playing the junior and amateur circuit as well as Maine Chapter events. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Berberian, who wasn’t even sure he would play the Stroke Play Series finale and had never set foot on property. On paper, the advantage would tip heavily in Warren’s favor thanks to his position and course knowledge, however it was Berberian who prevailed for the 18-hole shootout with a 4-under par 66 to Warren’s 3-over par 73. Warren’s round left him in a tie for 14th, and had Berberian not won, would have been enough to win. However, Berberian’s 4-under 66 was good enough for a two-stroke victory, and with it came 1,950 Wogan points plus an additional 500 point bonus to capture his 4th Wogan Player of the Year title (2016, 2017, 2019, 2021), matching Warren’s mark of four (2013, 2014, 2015, 2018) and continuing their dominating run as the top two playing Professionals in New England over the past ten years.
In the inaugural Rolex Senior Wogan Player of the Year race, Eddie Kirby, PGA of Aquidneck Club entered the day with a 1,200 point lead over Dan Gillis, and his solid round of even-par 70 was enough to secure his title.
The Avidia Cup race featured twice as many Professionals who controlled their own destiny, as the top-five would capture the cup with a win at Portland. Jim Clay, PGA of New Seabury sat in the top spot, Eric Barlow, PGA of Winchester was in second, Berberian in third, Jeff Martin, PGA of Wollaston was in 4th, and David Jankowski, PGA of Burlington CC was in 5th however not playing due to the inaugural Pfanner Cup taking place the same day. With groups paired by regular season standings, the top five were able to keep an eye on each other as the round unfolded. In the end, it was Berberian’s 66 that propelled him to a Stroke Play Finals victory, and also captured him the Avidia Cup. Rounding out the top-5 were Martin, Clay, Barlow and Kirby. The top-10 finishers in the Avidia Cup as well as the Rolex Wogan Player of the Year races receive a bonus payout.
Additionally, the SCNS Sports Foods 1st & 10th Tee Challenges came down to the final day, with some familiar faces capturing the titles for 2021. Todd Scarafoni, PGA of Bass Rocks captured the 1st Tee Challenge with a mark of 4-under par for his best five scores, which is the same mark that Bob Bruso, PGA of Blackstone National hit on the 10th tee challenge.
The New England PGA would like to thank Portland Country Club and host PGA Professional Dan Venezio, PGA for their gracious hospitality. The 2020 Avidia Cup Finals were set to be held at Portland however had to be delayed due to COVID-19, and the facility proved to be worth the wait. Also thanks to the 2021 Stroke Play Series partners who supposed the series all season long – Avidia Bank, Ahead, Bushnell, Harbor Hemp Company, New England Golf Cars/Yamaha, Tagmarshal, SCNS Sports Foods & PGA TOUR.