SHARON, Mass. – Liam Friedman, PGA (Nashawtuc CC) is making a habit of peaking at the right time in the New England PGA Stroke Play Series.
Friedman, who caught fire over the final three events to win the Avidia Cup in 2018, shot a 5-under par 67 to top the 72-player field in the fourth of five NEPGA Stroke Play Series events on Tuesday at the Cape Club of Sharon.
Playing in the second group of the morning, Friedman opened with a birdie and kept it going throughout his round. He got to 3-under par with back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth holes, but after a double-bogey on the ninth he made the turn in 1-under 35. He got back on track with a birdie at the Par-5 11th, then went unconscious with four consecutive birdies starting on the 14th hole. After a bogey on the last he carded a back-9 32 to post 67. When it was all said and done, Friedman made three or better on seven holes and carded a total of eight birdies.
With the win, Friedman collects 600 points in the Avidia Cup Standings and will move into the top five with just one regular season event remaining, Sept. 3 at Presidents Golf Course. The top 54 players in the final standings, which also considers Chapter Championships, will advance to the Avidia Cup Finals, Sept. 30 at Nashawtuc CC. Friedman, the defending Avidia Cup Champion, Finished 2nd in the fourth Stroke Play event before winning the fifth and the Avidia Cup Finals last year.
Dan Venezio, PGA (Portland CC) finished tied for second at 2-under par. Venezio made the turn in 3-under par and got to -4 with a birdie on the 11th. But he made two bogeys over his final seven holes to shoot 37 on the back and post 70.
“It sounds really simple, but it was fairways and greens, giving myself plenty of looks and I got a few of them to drop. I was just in a good groove early on,” Venezio said after his round. “I just made a couple of mistakes. One I just hit the wrong club and one was really my only poor iron shot, but all-in-all, a very successful day. I’ve been hitting it okay this summer, just not really putting the rounds together and it was nice to put up a good number today.”
With the T2 finish, Venezio will move comfortably inside the top 54 in the Avidia Cup Standings.
“There’s five events in the year and with being up in Maine and our job responsibilities, sometimes you can’t play in all of them,” he said. “If you can only play in two or three then you have to get a good showing in there if you’re going to get to that final. It’s always a fun time and I’m looking forward to that at the end of the season.”
Nick Jagoe, PGA (Allendale CC) matched Venezio at 2-under despite sitting at 2-over par through six holes. Jagoe bounced back with birdies on the eighth, 11th, 16th and 18th holes to finish at 2-under par.
Rico Riciputi, PGA (Wentworth By The Sea), Robert Bruso, PGA (Blackstone National GC), and Danny Kish, PGA (The Atkinson Resort) tied for fourth at 1-under par.
The New England PGA thanks partners Cutter & Buck and Bushnell, who were on-site Tuesday at the Cape Club of Sharon, along with Ahead, Avidia Bank and the PGA TOUR. A big thank you also goes to the Cape Club of Sharon and host PGA Professionals Steven Daly and Lou Katsos for rolling out the red carpet for the Stroke Play Series.