by Lauren Neilan
LINCOLN, Rhode Island – The 103rd New England PGA Section Championship turned into a 54-hole one-man show and it’s a name you find often atop leaderboards throughout New England and other parts of the country.
Does the name Rich Berberian, Jr. ring a bell?
The Vesper Country Club blistered the Kirkbrae CC (Par – 72) and Agawam Hunt (Par – 69) courses to the tune of 18-under par including a spectacular, record-setting 59 in Round 1 at Agawam Hunt on Sept. 5. This was Berberian’s fifth time claiming the prestigious Mahan trophy.
Berberian shot a 6-under, 66 in the third and final round at Kirkbrae, to complete the Championship at 18-under, 195, overall. He posted eight birdies, including four through the opening nine holes. The Massachusetts resident birdied three holes in a row, including the par-5 third hole, par-3 fourth hole, and par-4 fifth hole. He also birdied the par-4 seventh hole to make the turn at 4-under. After a bogey on the 10th hole, Berberian went on to birdie another 3 holes in a row, 11, 12, and 13. He finished the back nine 2-under, as he ran away with the title compiling an 8-stroke victory over Eric Barlow of Winchester CC.
Eric Barlow, PGA (Winchester CC) held on to his second place spot, finishing 10-under overall, shooting 5-under in the final round. He parred the opening two par-4’s before posting his first birdie of the round on the par-5 third hole. He birdied 6, 7, and 8 and finished the front nine at 3-under. Barlow carded three more birdies on the back nine and went on to finish at 5-under in the final round, 10-under overall for solo second place.
Brendon Ray, PGA (Point Judith CC) and Robert Bruso, PGA (Blackstone National GC) finished at 5-under overall to share third place in the 2023 NEPGA Section Championship.
Ray entered the final round tied for fourth place overall. He shot 2-under in the final round, to move into third place alongside Bruso.
Ray carded one birdie on the front and made the turn at an even par-36. He started the back nine strong with birdies on 11 and 12. A bogey on the par-5 14th hole put him at 1-under. Ray clinched one final birdie on the par-4 16th hole to finish 2-under in round three and 5-under, 208 overall for a share of third place.
Bruso held solo third place entering the final round today. He played steady golf, making four birdies and finishing 1-under on the day. Bruso’s final round score of 70 put him at 5-under, 208 overall in the tie for third.
Berberian received an exemption into the PGA Professional National Championship which will be held from April 28-May 1 at Fields Ranch at PGA Frisco, East & West Courses, Frisco, Texas. He will be joined by 13 other NEPGA Professionals who qualified today: Eric Barlow, Brendon Ray, Robert Bruso, Sean Irons, Shawn Warren, Matt Arvanitis, Ed Kirby, Eric Higgins, Chad Penman, David Jankowski, Frank Leja, Greg Farland, David Bennett.
The 104th NEPGA Section Championship will be held at Tedesco Country Club and Ferncroft Country Club in September, 2024.
On the web: NEPGA.BlueGolf.com
(Lauren Neilan is New England PGA Marketing & Communications Manager)