Spitz trims Booska in sudden death

  • Recorder/Paul FranzCody Booska

Recorder Staff
Thursday, August 10, 2017

For the second straight year, Turners Falls’ Cody Booska found himself as one of just two golfers remaining at the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship on Tuesday.

After an absolute monster round, Booska scooted up the leaderboard at the 36th edition of the event played at Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth. Following a pedestrian 74 in Monday’s opening-round, Booska carded a 7-under 65 in Tuesday’s Round 2, tying him for first-place in the two-round tournament with Benjamin Spitz of George Wright Golf Course in Boston. But in the first sudden-death playoff hole, Spitz drained a 12-foot putt to capture the championship, handing Booska his second playoff defeat in the Public Links in as many years.

It was still another huge effort for Booska, who came from five shots back after the opening round to tie for the lead and get into the playoff. Monday’s 2-over 74 saw him double-bogey the 18th hole, and he sat behind a pair of golfers who fired 3-under 69s.

The 21-year old, a 2014 Franklin County Technical School graduate, rebounded in a big way during Round 2. He was 2-under after the turn, getting him back to even-par. That set the stage for an epic back 9, where he birdied five consecutive holes (10 through 14). Booska’s spree ran the full gamut, as he birdied three par 4s, one par 5 and one par 3.

“We reached (No.) 10 and I said that it’s go time,” Booska told the Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA) afterward. “We were just trying to fire at all flags and find fairways and I did that. I think that I missed two or three greens today and didn’t miss a fairway all day. If you do that, things come together.”

After pars on the final four holes, he turned in a 7-under 65 — two strokes better than the next lowest round of the tournament. All told, he carded eight birdies and just one bogey on his round.

“I knew that I had to do it to give myself a chance,” Booska offered. “I was a little disappointed with (Monday’s) round. I played awesome and just didn’t score well and made a double on 18 coming in. I was a little frustrated but I knew that this place was getable and that this place fit my game pretty well.”

Spitz also played well on Tuesday to get into the playoff, following up his opening-round 72 with a 5-under 67, and the pair tied atop the leaderboard with 5-under totals of 139. Spitz entered the 18th hole with a one-shot lead, however he bogeyed to allow Booska, already in the clubhouse and waiting, to get into the playoff. There was no one else close to the duo, as the next-closest pack finished at 1-under 143 — four shots back.

The field of 120 golfers was cut down to 63 following Monday’s first round, and the magic number to advance was 5-over 77.

Several other locals were in the PubLinx field, including Crumpin Fox Club’s Troy Miller. A former Tech teammate of Booska’s, Miller shot 72 on Tuesday to get into the top 10 overall. Miller’s solid total of 74-72—146 put him in a three-way tie for 10th place at 2-over.

Fellow CFC member Ron Laverdiere finished in a tie for 26th place overall during the two-day tournament. Laverdiere followed up a 77 on Monday, getting him into Round 2 right on the number, with a 1-over 73 on Tuesday to finish at 6-over 150.

Rounding out the CFC contingent was Mark Waskiewicz, who fell just shy of making the cut after a 7-over 79 on Monday.

Booska’s finish was his third straight top 10 at the PubLinx. He finished second last year after falling to Matt Cowgill in a playoff and wound up in a tie for ninth place in 2015. It was another big tournament result for Booska, who was a quarterfinalist at the Massachusetts Amateur Championship last month while also snagging 21st at the New England Amateur one week later.

“I knew that if I came out today and gave it my all I could give it a good run,” said Booska. “I did all I could do.”