COHASSET, Mass. – Just two weeks before the start of the 100th New England PGA Section Championship, two past champions tied for the top spot at the New England PGA Stroke Play Series event at Cohasset Golf Club on August 3. John Hickson, of Chequessett Yacht & CC, and Liam Friedman, of Nashawtuc CC, each shot 2-under par to lead the 80-player field.
With high winds whipping throughout the day, patience was prioritized over perfect golf, as Hickson and Friedman both overcame mistakes to finish under-par, the only two players in the field to do so. Hickson, the 1995 and 2011 Section Champion, credited his putter for getting him into red figures, but the flatstick also gave him some trouble.
“I made some good putts, which of course you’re going to if you shoot under par,” said Hickson. “On the flip side I did have a foolish four-putt, but I made a couple putts from 20 to 30 feet.”
“You could hit a good shot and the wind can blow it offline, even not by much, and then all of the sudden you get a bad lie in the rough and you can make bogey pretty quick,” Hickson added. “You had to be patient. The greens were great so you did have to make some putts to balance the scale.”
Hickson finished the day with five birdies, including four on the front-9 where he shot 3-under par 33. All five of Hickson’s birdies were on par 4s, and he made par on each of Cohasset’s four par 3s, giving him nine 3s on the scorecard.
Friedman posted 2-under par 68 with five birdies of his own, but spent much of his front-9 undoing a triple-bogey on the first hole.
“Coming into the round I really felt like I had a good chance to win because I just felt comfortable with my game,” he said. “But then I had a quick shot to the gut right off the first tee. I hit a poor drive, I couldn’t find it so I had to come back and hit another one which I saw go into the hazard. I had to get up and down to make seven.”
Instead of packing it in, Friedman, the 2017 NEPGA Section Champion, got busy making birdies on the third, sixth and seventh holes to get back to even-par. He added three more in a four hole stretch after making the turn, with birdies on the 10th, 11th and 13th holes.
“I look at it like ‘hey, you’re going to make three or four bogeys in a round anyway, you just got them all out of the way on one hole’ and I tried to climb back from there,” Friedman said of his mindset after the early stumble. “Really, it was a battle the whole time.”
Aaron Ungvarsky, of Big Sticks Golf Academy, Jeff Seavey, PGA of Goose River, and Kirk Hanefeld, of Salem CC, tied for third at even-par, one stroke ahead of Kyle Dobbs of Bay Club at Mattapoisett, and Aaron Harper of Ipswich CC.
Greg Farland, of Marlborough CC, who entered the day atop the Avidia Bank Cup Standings, finished tied for 8th at 2-over par. The fifth and final Stroke Play Series event of 2020 is Sept. 8 at Haverhill CC. The top 54 players after the five-event series will be invited to the Avidia Bank Cup Finals, Sept. 28 at Portland CC.
New England PGA Stroke Play Series #4
T1 John Hickson, Chequessett Yacht & CC: 33-35–68 -2
T1 Liam Friedman, Nashawtuc: 36-32–68 -2
T3 Aaron Ungvarsky, Big Sticks Golf Academy: 36-34–70 E
T3 Jeff Seavey, Goose River: 37-33–70 E
T3 Kirk Hanefeld, Salem CC: 34-36–70 E
T6 Kyle Dobbs, Bay Club at Mattapoisett: 36-35–71 +1
T6 Aaron Harper, Ipswich CC: 36-35–71 +1
T8 Nick Jagoe, Allendale: 36-36–72 +2
T8 Greg Farland, Marlborough CC: 36-36–72 +2
T8 Tom Tobey, Sandwich Hollows GC: 38-34–72 +2
T8 Todd Scarafoni, Bass Rocks GC: 37-35–72 +2
T12 Bryan Kienke, Cohasset GC: 37-36–73 +3
T12 Robert Bruso, Blackstone National GC: 37-36–73 +3
T14 Jeff Martin, Wollaston GC: 37-37–74 +4
T14 Troy Pare, Ledgemont: 37-37–74 +4
T14 Brendon Ray, Point Judith CC: 37-37–74 +4
T14 Steve Bramlett, Kernwood CC: 37-37–74 +4
T18 Eric Barlow, Winchester CC: 38-37–75 +5
T18 Rick Durocher, Cyprian Keyes GC: 39-36–75 +5
T18 Matt Zdon, Belmont: 39-36–75 +5
T18 Scott Hickey, Cyprian Keyes GC: 38-37–75 +5
T22 Hal Jacobs, Haven Country Club: 38-38–76 +6
T22 Nick Hallowell, The Country Club: 39-37–76 +6 $56.42
T22 Tim Bishop, Tatnuck: 39-37–76 +6
T22 Jake Kramer, Bass Rocks GC: 38-38–76 +6
T22 Daniel Guidarelli, Shelter Harbor GC: 37-39–76 +6
T22 David Sibley, Larry Gannon: 39-37–76 +6
T22 Robert Bradley, Brockton CC: 36-40–76 +6
T22 Peter Weatherby, Ekwanok CC: 38-38–76 +6
T22 Ryan Moseley, Manchester CC: 42-34–76 +6
T22 Robert Tramonti, Triggs Memorial GC: 38-38–76 +6
T32 Ed Kirby, The Aquidneck Club: 38-39–77 +7
T32 Jim Schouller, Abenaqui: 39-38–77 +7
T32 Greg Kelly, Myopia Hunt Club: 37-40–77 +7