TYNGSBOROUGH, Massachusetts – Mike Martel, a 26-year pro from New Ipswich, New Hampshire, entered the final round of the 2019 Massachusetts Open Championship with a one-stroke lead, and behind a 3-under par 69 effort at the spectacularly groomed Vesper Country Club, he finished by the same one-stroke margin to edge Tampa, Florida’s Ryan Gendron, who posted rounds of 71-67-67-205, for an 11-under par total.
For his 54-hole total of 12-under par, Mike Martel earns his first win as a pro, gets his name engraved on the prestigious Clarence G. Cochrane Memorial Trophy, and, just as important, pockets the winner’s check of $15,000, from a purse of $75,000.
Martel, playing in the final group, registered an eagle and two birdies on his final nine holes, and needed a par on the last hole to secure the victory. Massachusetts native Jake Shuman, of Needham and Blue Hill Country Club, placed third at 10-under 206.
“It wasn’t easy, I got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I made the eagle on 11 from off the green and that kind of turned things,” explained Martel after signing his card. “I birdied 12 and came right from the bogey with another birdie.”
After making par on the first two holes, Martel bogeyed the par-4 third hole, but rebounded with three straight pars on holes four through six. On the par-5 seventh hole, he registered his first birdie of the day and finished the front half at even-par 36.
“It was kind of a sluggish start,” added a happy Martel. “I didn’t make anything and I made all my short putts today, which was the key. I didn’t three putt at all this week which definitely won me the golf tournament.”
Once making the turn to the backside, Martel did more of the same – continuing to stay low while fighting off both Shuman, who was 5-under through 11 holes on the day – as well as Horseheads, New York’s Jamison Sindelar – the fourth place finisher – who went 4-under in his final seven holes. Christopher Crawford, of Bensalem, Penn. finished at 8-under for solo fifth place.
A three-way tie for 6th included first-day leader Mark Purrington, of Bay Club at Mattapoisett, Zack Zaback, of Cromwell, Conn., and final round co-leader Bobby Gage, of Boynton Beach, Florida.
On the par-5 11th hole, a dogleg left that played at 588 yards, he hit driver off the tee, his driving iron on his second shot to just left of the green and chipped it in for his eagle – one of only six eagles recorded by the field of 60 competitors on the day.
He used a sand wedge to tally a birdie on the 12th hole and rebounded from a 14th hole bogey by birdying the 15th hole. A key up and down on the 17th, followed by a par on the 18th hole secured his one stroke victory.
“I was sticking to my game plan. I was hitting it where I wanted to hit it and I just wanted to roll some putts in. Coming down the stretch, I made some keys ones. Up and down on 17. That’s pretty much it,” Martel said summing up his first win as a pro.
COLIN BRENNAN TAKES LOW-AMATEUR
Colin Brennan, the 2017 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur champion, entered Wednesday’s third and final round in a tie for the low amateur honors with Herbie Aikens, T10 on the leaderboard and five strokes behind leader Mike Martel. In his final round, the 30-year from Indian Ridge Country Club in Andover, carded a 2-under 70 to finish at 6-under 210.
“I really liked how the course set up for me today,” said Brennan following his final round. “On Monday, I didn’t hit the ball really well, but I made a lot of putts to sort of stay in it. Yesterday in the wind, I played great, again putted well, but also hit it well and then today, I just played really steady, hit a lot of good shots.”
“The greens were really quick today. Maybe a little defensive on the greens but all and all, I am very pleased.”
Coming off what he said was a miserable golf year, Brennan says his finish this week at the Massachusetts Open was a key indicator that the work he has been putting in with instructor Chris Hawley of Kohr Golf, his collegiate teammate at Johnson & Wales North Miami, has been paying off.
“Chris has done a good job getting me ready to play,” said Brennan. “I’ve felt like it’s been coming for a few months so it’s nice to actually see some results.”
With his 6-under 210 mark, Brennan finished one stroke ahead of Aikens. In total, 17 amateurs had advanced to the final round of the 110th Massachusetts Open Championship.
CREDIT: Mass Golf Staff
PHOTOS: David Colt Photography