LINCOLN, R.I. –Troy Pare and Jeff Martin are hoping to add to their New England PGA Pro-Pro Match Play dynasty, and looked like the team to beat once again on Monday at Kirkbrae Country Club. Pare and Martin have won the last four Pro-Pro Match Play Championships and five of the last seven, and posted 7-under 64 in the qualifying round to grab the top seed in the 12-team match play bracket and earn a bye into Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
The duo came out of the gates blazing, rolling in birdies on their first four holes, and five of their first six to make the turn at 5-under, 31. They added birdies on the 10th and 12th holes to go with seven pars on the back nine to post 64.
“It’s early in the season so playing a regular stroke-play event is always tough. Having the ability to play better-ball you don’t have to be in every hole,” Pare said after the morning round. “You just want to get off to a good start because we knew it was going to be windy today. You try give yourself a little breathing room and we did well. We just cruised along from there.”
Kirk Hanefeld and Greg Farland got hot late in their round to shoot 5-under 66, tied for the second-lowest qualifying round. The pair was one-under through 12 holes before making three consecutive birdies, and four in a five-hole stretch on their second nine.
The field was cut to the top 12 teams after the morning qualifying round on Monday. The teams of Brendan Mitchell and Mike Haas-Zanghi (-5) and Thomas Tobey and John Hickson (-4) joined Martin/Pare and Hanefeld/Farland in picking up a bye into the quarterfinals.
“It’s always one of our goals to grab one of those four spots,” Martin said of picking up a bye into the quarterfinals. “With the conditions this afternoon, it’s not going to be fun for these guys going back out.”
Four afternoon matches on Monday will determine the final four teams to reach the quarterfinals. Those matches will be as follows: (8) John Paesani/Greg Yeomans vs. (9) Christopher Hulme/Scott Hickey; (5) Brian Owens/Robert Tramonti vs. (12) Todd Anzlovar/Tom Giffin; (7) David Wilson/David Donnellan vs. (10) Alex Hoyos/Bob Bruso; and (6) David Lane/Allan Menne vs. (11) Brendon Ray/Jacob Leech.
The semifinals will be played Tuesday afternoon and the Championship Match will be Wednesday morning.
Teams that did not make it past the 18-hole best ball stroke play qualifying round played in a last-team-standing alternate shot shootout in the afternoon. Shawn Warren and Chad Spencer outlasted the field, clinching the shootout with a birdie on the short par-4 10th hole to take home the purse.
“We had a lot of strategy,” Spencer said. “The hole is about a 310-yard carry and we decided that was Shawn’s bread-and-butter, so he hit a little slider in there about 25-30 feet, I hit it up to a few inches, and he tapped it in. It’s pretty self-explanatory.”
The New England PGA would like to thank Kirkbrae CC and PGA Professional Mike Bradshaw for hosting the three-day tournament, along with partners Maui Jim, Precision Pro, ProQuip, Golf Max and the PGA Tour.