Newport CC & Wanumetonomy G&CC
| || |
Senior Division Final Results
By Paul Kenyon
NEWPORT _ If all goes as planned, this will be Brendan Lemp’s last season competing in Rhode Island Golf Association events. On Wednesday he provided another in a growing list of special memories in tourney play.
The Misquamicut star turned in a gritty 2-under-par 70 at Newport for a 36-hole total of 137 and a two-stroke victory over Jamie Lukowicz in the 17th annual Burke Memorial Championship. The graduate of Loyola-Maryland, who grew up in Connecticut, began the day on the lead and received major challenges from previous RIGA champions Lukowicz and Ryan Pelletier.
Lukowicz was tied with Lemp for the lead with two holes to go before finishing with bogeys on 17 (from over the green) and 18 (three-putt from above the hole) for a 70 and 139 total. Pelletier got into the hunt by going out in 3-under 33 before settling for a 70 and 140.
Lemp who plans to play the amateur circuit this summer and then turn pro, put on a nice display of playing under pressure the entire day in a battle for the lead.
``It’s a fun feeling,’’ he said. ``It was nice.’’
He did not play purely, but showed he can score.
``I was kind of all over the place on the front side, but the good thing is that you can do that here and still score,’’ he said.
Lemp’s performance brought back memories for RIGA officials. He first played in the RIGA Junior as an 11-year-old.
``I shot 133,’’ he said with a smile.
He kept at it, got better and better, to the point where he won the Juniors in his final year of eligibility in 2009 as a 17-year-old.
The Senior Division provided as much fun as the overall tournament championship. George Pirie and Paul Quigley, the two Hall of Famers who have competed with and against each other for nearly 50 years, going back to their days at URI, shared the title.
Pirie had a closing 72 for 145 and Quigley had the best score of the day, a 4-under 68, for his 145 total. The scores tied the two for sixth overall, although this latest chapter in their rivalry had an unusual twist.
The 70-year-old Quiqley had seven birdies on the day, including each of the first two and each of the last two, on the way to his 68. It marked the third time he has recorded a lower score than his age in RIGA competition.
He was among 17 players aged 55 and older who took part in the first ``Tee It forward’’ program offered as part of the tournament. The RIGA is following a USGA recommendation, geared to make the game more fun for everyone, to have older players use shorter tees. Those who took part played a course about 400 yards shorter than the layout others played.
Pirie on the other hand _ he’s the ``kid’’ in the rivalry at age 65 _ played from the blue tees with all the younger players.
``I feel I’m still capable of winning the entire tournament,’’ he said in explaining his decision to play the longer course.
He and Quigley will receive the same number of points in the RIGA’s Senior player-of-the-year competition. Pirie in addition will receive points in the overall player-of-the-year race. As it is, the two needed all they could muster. Tom Goryl and Gary Palmer both finished only one stroke behind, at 146, in the Senior race.
The day was chilly and breezy early on and cloudy all day, yet provided much more pleasant conditions than would be expected at the old course in May.
The event is the first of the two-phase tournament held in memory of former state champion John P. Burke, who was killed in World War II. Proceeds go toward the caddie scholarship fund in his name. The second phase of the event, the net championship, will be held next week at The Misquamicut Club and Shelter Harbor. That event has a 216-player field.
Round 1 Recap
By Paul Kenyon
MIDDLETOWN _ Brendan Lemp is planning on one last carefree summer before worrying about going to work for a living. If everything goes as well as it did on Tuesday, Lemp will have a great summer.
The Misquamicut Country Club star earned the first-round lead in the season-opening Burke Memorial Championship by recording a 3-under 67 on a shockingly beautiful day at Wanumetonomy. The weather and course conditions provided by superintendent Ted Ellis were so good that Lemp needed his four birdies, with only one bogey, to take the lead.
Scoring was in mid-season form overall. Metacomet’s Kevin Blaser took second with a 68 and Jamie Lukowicz of Metacomet, who won the season-ending Mid-Am last fall, was next at 1-under 69.
Lemp has been a frequent contender in the last several summers, as he was playing collegiate golf at Loyola of Maryland. He has finished a solid career at that school, is working in the pro shop this summer at Shelter Harbor. He hopes to be playing as much golf as he can when not on the job.
``I plan on turning pro next year,’’ he said. ``I want to stay involved in the game.’’
As with everyone else in the 100-player field, he was able to play comfortably on Tuesday. Not only was the weather in the low 70s, but the usually strong winds that blow in off the bay _ Wanumetonomy has more water views than any course in Rhode Island _ died down for one of the first times all spring.
Ellis, the superintendent, is still repairing the course from damage caused by the severe winter. But that was not noticeable for the players as conditions were as pleasant as they have ever been in the 17 years since the Burke was launched as the RIGA’s season opener. Lemp had birdies on four par 4s, 6, 9, 11 and 13. His card was marred only by a bogey on the short par-4 7th.
The day also made history of sorts as it is the first held by the association under its new ``Tee It Forward’’ Initiative. That format allows seniors (anyone 55 or older) to play a shorter set of tees. About 15 players took advantage of the new arrangement, said Bob Ward, the RIGA’s executive director. The changes saved the older players about 200 yards in the opening round and will save about 400 yards for Wednesday’s second and final round at Newport, which was Burke’s home course.
Two of the RIGA’s dominant players in recent years, Bobby Leopold (a four-time Burke champion) and four-time State Amateur champion Brad Valois are not taking part. They were in San Francisco to take part in the USGA’s first-ever Four-Ball Championship at the Olympic Club.
They had a wild time there as they shot rounds of 71-68 in qualifying in the 128-team event. That left them in an eight-way tie for 30th place. They took part in a playoff in which eight teams were competing for the final three spots in match play.
Leopold and Valois made six straight pars in the playoff, but it was not good enough. Two teams made early birdies to earn spots. By the sixth hole it was down to two teams for the final spot and the par Leopold and Valois made on the sixth lost to a birdie.
The Burke event is held in memory of RIGA Hall of Famer John P. Burke and benefits the association’s caddie scholarship program in his name. The Burke Fund has more than 50 scholars currently attending colleges across the country.
The event is the first of two Burke tourneys. The net championship will be held next week at Misquamicut and Shelter Harbor. That event will have 216 players, the maximum at this time of the year. Another 25 players are on a waiting list.