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Burdick sets CCG amateur record

Nate Burdick watches his drive sail down the fairway last year at the annual Country Club of Greenfield 4-Ball.
Recorder/Paul Franz

Nate Burdick watches his drive sail down the fairway last year at the annual Country Club of Greenfield 4-Ball. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

It’s hard enough to break a record in any sport, even more difficult when less than 100 percent healthy.

Greenfield’s Nate Burdick, who has been dealing with a back injury over the last week, did the unthinkable Tuesday afternoon during the Scratch League, when he scorched the Country Club of Greenfield for a 10-under-par 62 to break the amateur course record.

Burdick, who plays to a plus-1 handicap at CCG, broke the previous low of 63 set by well-known and accomplished amateur player Jim Ruschioni during the USGA Mid-Amateur qualifying tournament on the infamous date of Sept. 11, 2001.

CCG head pro Kevin Piecuch holds the professional and all-time course record of 61, set in 1998.

“Needless to say it was a lot of fun,” said Burdick. “When stepping on the first tee, every golfer aspires to play their best and shoot a career-low. It’s what brings us back to the course on a daily and weekly basis. We all think we can do it, but it is the challenge of actually doing it that makes the game of golf so great.”

Burdick’s bogey-free round included eight birdies and an eagle. He reached all 18 greens in regulation and missed only one of 14 fairways (the par-5 sixth).

Playing in a group with Mike Kuchieski, Matt Eaton and Jared Ewart, Burdick’s round started innocently enough, as he was just 1-under after three holes, the birdie coming on the 144-yard, par-3 second hole after he knocked a 9-iron to eight feet and made the putt.

Burduck then birdied four of the next five holes to move to 5-under.

He knocked his 9-iron approach from 140 yards to four feet on the par-4 fourth and dropped the birdie putt, then he drained a 30-foot putt on the 185-yard, par-3 fifth for back-to-back birdies.

After making par on No. 6, Burdick birdied the short par-4 seventh and short par-5 eighth in succession. He hit a drive just short of the green and chipped to within a foot of the cup for the tap-in birdie on 7, then reached the green in two and two-putted from 20 feet on 8. After saving par with a three-foot putt on No. 9, he took the turn at 5-under 31.

The back nine started with a pair of two-putt pars from approximately 20 feet, but then on the par-5 12th, Burdick hit driver and 4-iron to 30 feet, and he jarred the tricky right-to-left putt for an eagle to move to 7-under.

Burdick quickly got it to 8-under on the 280-yard, par-4 13th, as his sand-wedge approach stopped eight feet from the flag and he knocked in that putt for his sixth birdie.

Burdick actually had two nice birdie opportunities get away on the next two holes. His third shot on the par-5 14th from 100 yards hit the flag stick and came to rest 15 feet away, and his birdie attempt rolled just by the edge on the low side of the hole. Then on the par-3 15th, he stuck a 7-iron tee shot 6 feet from the hole but also missed that one in similar fashion.

He quickly regrouped and stuffed a 117-yard sand wedge approach on the par-4 16th to four feet, then rolled in the birdie putt to reach 9-under. After a two-putt par from 15 feet on 17, he stepped to the tee on No.18 and hit drive into the green-side bunker.

Burdick’s bunker shot left him with a 15-footer, which he calmly stepped up and drained the right-to-left downhill slider to etch his name, yet again, into the CCG’s history — something he doesn’t take for granted.

“It’s an honor to be small part of history at a place that has over 115 years of tradition and history,” said Burdick. “To shoot the lowest round ever by an amateur is pretty special. All records are made to be broken and someday, another amateur will come along and break the record, but until then, I think I’ll savor this for at least a little while.”

Burdick admitted that thoughts of a potential history-making round crept into this head.

“I started to think about the record after I made birdie on 13,” he admitted. “Eight-under through 13 put me in good position to make a run at both Mr. Ruschioni’s amateur record and possibly Kevin’s, too.”

Burdick equated the experience to accomplishments in other sports.

“My playing partners were great about the experience and were very supportive in a non-verbal way,” he said. “All of them knew what was going on, but nobody said anything — kind of like when a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter and nobody wants to say anything. It was pretty neat.”

Burdick, who rarely misses an opportunity for a good laugh, provided one with the record on the line.

“Walking onto the 18th green with a putt to break the record, I told Kuch that if I left this putt short, he had my permission to hit me,” recalled Burdick. “Luckily, it dropped in on the front of the cup and I didn’t have to get punched.”

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