BRETTON WOODS, New Hampshire – On the second and final day of the New England Senior Amateur Championship, Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC; MA) emerged victorious after a tight race to the finish Wednesday at Mount Washington Resort Golf Club. The Senior Amateur marks the final NEGA event of the season.
Vana, 58, who took home an NEGA victory for the first time, followed up a 3-under-par 69 with a 2-over 74 to finish 1-under overall and edge defending champion Bob Kearney (Bretwood GC; NH) and Gary Shover (Williston GC; VT) by 1 stroke. "I’ve been playing in NEGA events for a long time, so it was nice to check that box off,” said Vana, a 2016 Mass Golf Hall of Fame Inductee. “We play a lot of great tournaments, and it’s nice to win this one.”
Dave Szewczul (TPC River Highlands; CT) placed T4 overall but earned the Super Senior Division (65-over) with an overall score of 1-over 145.
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After a cold, blustery practice round Monday, the 120 players in the field got comfortable, yet still relatively windy, conditions on both days, with firm greens and fairways.
Vana started in the final pairing at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday and rolled in eight straight pars to stay at 3-under. However, he dropped to 1-under after a double bogey on the 9th hole. Despite making birdie on the 11th and 12th holes, he added another double of the 14th to pull into a tie with Szewczul. Vana, however, said he was unfazed down the stretch as he was able to 2-putt for par on the final four holes to earn the victory. On the final hole, he rolled his 40-foot birdie putt to about 2 feet and was able to finish with a tap-in par.
"It didn't really bother me," Vana said of the two double-bogies. "I felt in control; I just hit a couple of bad shots. Both are hard holes. I didn't hit good shots and paid the price."
Shover, who has won four consecutive Vermont Senior Amateur Championships, followed up a 1-over 73 with 1-under 71 on Wednesday to move into contention, but two bogies on the back nine proved costly. Kearney, meanwhile, had four birdies and two bogeys on the front nine. Kearney made par eight times on the back nine, but like Vana, made double bogey on the 214-yard, par-3 14th hole, which only had five birdies made Wednesday.
Szewczul, a legend in the Connecticut Amateur circuit, was tied at 71 with Jack Kearney (Westover GC) for the Super Senior lead after Round 1, but Szewczul shot a 74 on Wednesday to edge Kearney by a stroke.
Tai Lee (Granite Links GC; MA) shot the low round for the final day with a 2-under 70 to finish T6 with five other players. Also notable, Shawn McLoughlin, 77, (Ridgewood CC (CT) shot two strokes below his age in Tuesday's opening round, and finished with a 78 in the final round.
1 - Frank Vana; Marlborough CC (MA); -1; 143
T2 - Gary Shover Williston GC (VT); E; 144
T2 - Bob Kearney; Bretwood GC (NH); E; 144
T4 - Michael Mertes; Crumpin-Fox Club (MA); +1; 145
T4 - Dave Szewczul; TPC River Highlands (CT); +1; 145
T6 - Tai Lee; Granite Links GC (MA); +2; 146
T6 - David Boggini; Manchester CC (CT); +2; 146
T6 - Darren Corrente; Wannamoisett CC (RI); +2; 146
T6 - Brian Cain; CC of Vermont (VT); +2; 146
T6 - Craig Steckowych; Portsmouth CC (NH); +2; 146
T6 - Jack Kearney; Westover GC (MA); +2; 146
Top Finisher From Each State
Connecticut – T4 (+1) Dave Szewczul
New Hampshire – T10 (E) Bob Kearney (Bretwood GC)
Maine – T12 (+1) Len Cole (Falmouth CC); Keith Patterson (Biddleford-Saco CC)
Rhode Island – T12 (+1) Bruce Heterick (Metacomet CC); Darren Corrente (Wannamoisett CC)
Vermont – T12 (+2) Brian Cain CC (CC of Vermont); Gary Shover (Williston GC)
For more information, visit the NEGA web site at negagolf.org. Follow the NEGA on social media @NEGA_Golf.
About the New England Golf Association (NEGA): negagolf.org
The New England Golf Association ®, established in 1926, is a 501(c)3 amateur golf organization comprised of leaders from the six New England golf associations – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
In addition to serving the needs of golf in New England, the organization's primary purpose is to conduct the following premier tournament events: New England Amateur Championship ®, New England Junior Amateur Invitational, New England Girls’ Junior Amateur Invitational, and New England Senior Amateur Championship