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Golfers qualify for Mass. public links tourney; 18 are heading to Uxbridge.

Byline: Jay Gearan

Eighteen golfers, several from the Montachusett area, qualified for the 2008 Mass. Public Links Championship, after a qualifying round at Gardner Municipal Golf Course last week.

Leading the pack was Adam Rubin of Stow Acres, who shot a one-under-par 70. Rubin was the only golfer among more than 80 to break par at the Gardner layout.

The qualifiers advance to compete at the championship proper, scheduled for Aug. 11-12 at Blissful Meadows Golf Course.

From Gardner Municipal, Chris Murphy fired a 72 and Alek Dernalowicz a 73 to make the cut easily. Also in the mix are former Gardner club champions Pete Gamache and Tom Sylwestrzak, both shooting 73.

Tom Parissi, of Leicester CC, with his friend Gamache caddying in the playoff holes, won the 18th spot in sudden death by draining a 25-foot putt from the fringe on the 18th green.

"I was trying to get it close," said Parissi, whose regular round of 75 sent him into a five-player playoff for the spot. "It was a good thing it went in. Pete told me to get it close."

Also qualifying were 2003 Mass. Junior champ Aaron Siekierski of Dudley Hills GC and his younger brother Bret, both shooting 73. Also, Geoffrey Holt of Stow Acres shot 72 and made the final field.

The Mass. Public Links' qualifying rounds are open to any golfer with an up-to-date MGA/USGA GHIN handicap index not exceeding 12.0.

Golfing at Hilton Head

Recently, for the fifth straight year, the beautiful island of Hilton Head, S.C., made for a perfect golf and beach vacation. I played several of the public courses, including my favorite, Harbour Town Golf Links, the home of the Verizon Heritage PGA Tour stop, won this year by Boo Weekley. With its tight, tree-lined fairways, small, well-protected greens and challenging par-3 holes, Harbour Town, designed by famed architect Pete Dye, always ranks among the best courses in the world.

The par-4, 18th hole with the red and white lighthouse in the distance and Calibogue Sound to the left of the fairway is the signature hole. After looking at my scorecard as I stood on the 18th tee, I was distracted by the beauty of the scene. I wasn't close to David Frost's course record of 61, so I pumped my drive way, way right and out of bounds, allowing me to tee it up again on that terrific closing hole.

Dye, who will turn 83 in December, has a new masterpiece also on Hilton Head's Sea Pines resort. The old Sea Marsh Course was bulldozed away and the amazing, very challenging, 7,103-yard Heron Point has emerged after $9 million of construction.

Junior Aces

Congratulations to Harry Kirpatrick of Sterling National and Shawn Bennett of Oak Hill CC for qualifying for this year's Mass. Junior Championship to be held July 28-30 at Brae Burn CC in West Newton. At Monoosnock CC last week, Kirpatrick fired a 73 and Bennett a 76. Scott Dicicco of Sterling carded a 77 and earned the second alternate spot. In the pre-junior division, Ryan Felix Bennett shot 85 and made first alternate.

Chip Shots

In a half-page ad in the New York Times recently, A. Kenneth Ciongoli, chairman of the National Italian American Foundation, blasted Johnny Miller for his TV comments about Rocco Mediate during the U.S. Open, including "guys with the name of Rocco don't get on the trophy."

Firing back, Ciongoli, unlike Mediate himself, who accepted Miller's apology and didn't want to make a big deal out of the comments, writes: "A cursory review of great Americans named Rocco reveals the surnames of Colavito, Marciano, Graziano and Mancinelli ... Miller seems not to know that in his professional lifetime, the presidents of Georgetown, Harvard, Tufts and Yale universities as well as sundry other American institutions are cultural and ethnic cousins of men named Rocco." Ciongoli also mentions the late Eugenio Saraceni, known by most of us as Gene Sarazen, who, according to Ciongoli "changed his name to avoid the mindless barbs of the media elite."

ART: PHOTO

CUTLINE: As early evening arrives, two golfers putt on the 18th hole at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

PHOTOG: JAY GEARAN
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 13, 2008
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