Finley-Booska go OT; champs win

  • Troy Miller tees on two. Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Casey Findley and Cody Booska size up a putt during last year's championship run. They're back this year looking for two straight. Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Tom Bergeron tees on two.  Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Tom McLaughlin putts on one Friday.  Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Gary Burt tees on two. Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Scott Serwa tees on two. Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Chris Pavlic holes his short putt on one. Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Tom Bergeron putts on one Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — KC Finley had been involved in some memorable matches with his usual partner Dennis Booska. On Friday, son Cody Booska got his first experience of life on the big stage.

Finley and Kid Booska needed two extra holes and an eight-foot birdie putt from Finley to finally get past Greenfield native Paul DeNofrio and Ron LaVerdiere of Crumpin-Fox Club in first-round match play action of the 69th Invitational Four-Ball Tournament on Friday at the Country Club of Greenfield.

DeNofrio sank a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to halve the hole, then he dropped a 15-footer on No. 18 to send the match to extra holes.

DeNofrio stuffed his approach shot to three feet from the cup on No. 1, but Finley made an eight-footer for birdie to keep the match going. Then on the second extra hole — the par-3 second — DeNofrio’s putt just grazed the edge of the cup on a long birdie try, before Finley made his eight-footer for the hard-fought win.

“When I saw the matchup, I expected a dogfight for 18 holes or more,” said Finley. “Paulie hit the ball fantastic (today) `. We had to frick and frack to get by. We made some bonehead mistakes, but we got away with it. ... We’re happy to get by round one, and it took some good golf toward the end to do it.”

Cody Booska, still only 18, actually has a history with their opponents.

“I played Paulie and Ron last year and lost to them, so revenge feels good,” he said with a wry grin.

Booska added that teaming up with the seven-time and reigning CCG men’s club champion has been a great experience.

“It’s different,” he said. “I always played with kids my age, and now I’ve got the old man teaching me a lot ... the crafty veteran.”

Finley and Booska move on to a 7:09 a.m. quarterfinal this morning against 13th seeds Tom Bergeron and Gary Burt, the most decorated team in Invitational history with five championships between them (Burt has six in all).

“And I lost to them two years ago, so I need some more revenge,” quipped Booska.

Bergeron and Burt were back to their steady match-play ways on Friday, making shots and taking advantage of a few mistakes to beat No. 4 seeds Patrick McGuire and Aaron Wheeler, 4 and 3, to advance to the quarterfinals.

Defending champion Dave Kennedy and Nate Burdick faced a tough match in their opener, taking on the Northampton Country Club tandem of Chris McElligott and Robert Rainville, who were the 16th seeds. McElligott and Rainville used a birdie on the ninth to take a 1-up lead at the turn, but Kennedy and Burdick battled back and eventually walked off with a 3 and 1 win.

“It was a tough opening match — they were 3-under at the turn,” offered Kennedy, who drew his team even by making a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 11.

Burdick missed a chance to put his team up when he three-putted for par, but Kennedy knocked his approach to two feet on No. 13 and made the putt to give them the lead for good. Kennedy drained an eight-footer on No. 16 to go 2-up, and, with Rainville sitting 10 feet away for birdie, Burdick closed it out by making a 12-footer on No. 17.

“Dave played great today,” said Burdick. “He was so consistent and kept us in the match.

“They (McElligott and Rainville) played really well. ... Survive and advance, that’s it,” he added.

Kennedy and Burdick moved on to the 7:18 a.m. quarterfinal match against No. 9 seeds Chris Pavlic and Tom McLaughlin of Framingham Country Club, who pulled out a 2 and 1 win over fellow Framingham CC members, eighth-seeded Jake Simpson and Norm Burns.

In the lower half of the draw, qualifying co-medalists and second seeds Troy Miller and Scott Serwa of Crumpin-Fox continued their stellar play and were able to post a 3 and 2 victory over 15th seeds Jamie Crocker and Jason Kelton of the host club. They move on to a difficult quarterfinal matchup against 10th seeds Matt Eaton and Jared Ewart of CCG, who cruised to a 4 and 3 verdict over Mark Cady and Paul Vincelette. Their match is scheduled to begin today at 7 a.m.

Both lower seeds advanced in the other part of the bracket. No. 14 seeds Garrett Cousineau and Chris Bourbeau of Thomas Memorial Golf & Country Club in Turners Falls played virtually mistake-free golf to knock off qualifying co-medalists and No. 3 seeds Alex Siano and Will Conant, 3 and 2, setting up a quarterfinal meeting with 11th seeds David Donoghue and Rick Kendrew, who started hot and never wavered in a 4 and 3 win over No. 6 Brodie Conant and Scott Cote.

The Cousineau-Bourbeau/Donoghue-Kendrew match will open play today at 6:51 a.m.

The quarterfinal winners take a quick rest, then return for semifinal matches today at approximately 2:03 and 2:12 p.m., respectively. The championship match is slated to begin Sunday at 1:09 p.m.

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