2019 New England Senior Amateur Championship Preview
In less than one week, the New England Golf Association will head up north to “The Pine Tree State” of Maine, for the 22nd hosting of the New England Senior Amateur Championship. Contested on September 17-18th, the New England Senior Amateur Championship will be held at the Biddeford-Saco Country Club.
About the Host Club
Located just east of Old Orchard Beach in Saco, Maine lies the 18-Hole Donald Ross designed course. Originally established in the early 1920’s, Biddeford-Saco Country Club has a reputation to be known as “one of the most popular golf clubs in the state of Maine.”
When Biddeford-Saco Country Club was first established, the country club offered numerous different activities in addition to the sport of golf. Some include: skating, tennis, shooting, and skating. Around the mid 1980’s, Biddeford-Saco came to the conclusion that they wanted to focus more on golf, and less on other activities. As a result, many of the sports offered when the club first established began fading out of the years. However, this was not the only change occurring at BSCC during the 1980’s. Also during this time period, legendary golf course architect Brian Silva was hired to embrace the club’s vision of having more golf. While at BSCC, Silva worked on completing Donald Ross’s original design of the golf course, as Ross only completed 9-holes of golf. By 1991, Silva was able to establish a back nine along with a renovation of the original clubhouse. In just it’s second year from being completely established, Biddeford-Saco Country Club served as the host site for the Maine Amateur Championship proper. Today, the member-owned club maintains its reputation and is a popular destination for golfers in the state of Maine.
One group to make sure to follow during the Championship is the 8:10 AM group off the 10th tee, which is composed of Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC - MA), Bud Shultz (Black Rock CC - MA) and Keith Smith (Franklin CC - MA). Each member of this group recently competed in the 65th U.S. Senior Amateur Championship held at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C. in August. Frank Vana, Jr. finished stroke play tied for 6th, with an overall two-day stroke total of even par. At the conclusion of stroke play, Vana made it to the round of 32 match play, where he was ultimately defeated by Walter Todd of Laurens, S.C. by a score of 2 & 1. Joining Vana, Jr. in match play was Keith Smith, as he made it to the round of 64 match play. Smith was ultimately defeated by Doug Hanzel of Savannah, Georgia by a score of 4 & 3.
Another group to follow during the Championship proper is the 12:25 PM group off the 10th tee. Composed of Phil Pleat (Nashua CC - NH), Jack Kearney (Westover GC - MA), and Dave Houghton (The Captains Course - MA), this group is the first of two featured “Past Champions Groups”. Phil Pleat won the Championship proper respectively in 2016 & 17 at Crestwood CC (RI) & Wethersfield CC (CT), Jack Kearney won this past years Championship in 2018 at Burlington CC (VT), and Dave Houghton won in 2015 at Oyster Harbors Club (MA).
The other featured “Past Champions Group”, is the 1:15 PM tee time off the 1st tee. Composed of Dave Szewczul (Tunxis CC), Shawn McLoughlin (Ridgewood CC), and Robert Linn (Berkshire Hills CC), these individuals have won the NE Senior Amateur a total of three times in in a span of less than five years. Szewczul was crowned Champion in 2011 at Race Brook CC (CT), Shawn McLoughlin won in 2013 at Portland CC (ME), and in 2009 Robert Linn won at Wyantenuck CC (MA).
Individual State Senior Amateur Champions
In addition to the featured groups listed above, there are numerous additional noteworthy players in the field, that have won their individual state Senior Amateur Championships respectively. They include:
2018 – Len Cole (Falmouth CC - ME)
2018 – Gary Shover (Williston GC - VT)
2018 – Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC - MA)
2019 Jack Kearney (Westover GC - MA)
2018 – Ray Underwood (Torrington CC - CT)
2018 - Hermen Dacones (Kings Crossing GC - CT)
2019 - Bruce Heterick (Metacomet CC - RI)
For complete coverage of the New England Senior Amateur, visit negagolf.org or follow New England Golf on Twitter @NEGA_Golf and Instagram @nega_golf and by using the hashtag, #NESeniorAmateur.