Tee to Green: Puleri captures first men's club championship at Berkshire Hills Country Club

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August and early September in Berkshire County means club championship time, and as we reach Labor Day many titles have been decided.

We'll start this week's roundup of champions at Berkshire Hills Country Club, where club president Jeff Puleri captured his first men's title against one.of the county's deepest club championship fields.

The final round turned into a two-man battle between Puleri and defending champion Bob Linn, who were tied at 5-over 147 after 36 holes. Puleri fired a even-par 71 to defeat Linn by three shots. John Dahrouge finished third, 10 shots behind Puleri, after a final-round 78.

Puleri took a one-shot lead over Linn with a 1-over par 36 on the front nine and upped the margin to two when his senior foe had to settle for a bogey on the par-3 13th hole. The champion said the tide really turned in his favor on the par-4 14th and par-5 15th holes.

"I made a tremendous par save on 14 by making about a 20-foot putt," Puleri said. "Then I hit a bad tee shot under a tree on 15 and had 260 (uphill) yards to the green. I hit probably one of the best shots of my life to within 20 feet of the hole."

Puleri two-putted for his birdie while Linn had to settle for a par as the lead grew to three. Linn agreed, via email, that 14 and 15 proved pivotal and that Puleri's shot on 15 was special.

"Jeff hit one of the best shots I've ever seen on 15," Linn said. "I couldn't see the ball from my viewpoint (later I was told it was a good lie) so I'm thinking a 4-metal was not a good club choice. He scorched it right onto the front of the green."

After both golfers made pars on No. 16, Puleri upped the margin to a decisive four with a birdie on the par-3 17th.

"Bob had two-putted for a par, so I knew if I made my birdie putt I'd have it," Puleri said.

He made his birdie attempt — he said it was between 15 and 18 feet — to grow the margin to four and all but clinch the victory. A bogey on 18 cut the final margin three.

Puleri, who won four club championships at Greenock Country Club in the 2000s, said he played well all week, though like many in the field, he struggled on the lightning-quick greens, especially in the second round.

"Ask anyone who played, the greens were a challenge," Puleri said. "I hit it well all week, but I shot a 76 in the second round because I had a bunch of three putts."

Linn, who won the club's senior championship earlier in August, would certainly agree. He said he missed several short putts during the second round and that overall didn't make enough putts to beat his long-hitting foe despite hitting the ball.

"Jeff played very solid and made the crucial putts," Linn said. "His win was well- deserved."

Being able to hold off Linn, this year's Allied Association champion, and Dahrouge, who has had a strong summer, was both enjoyable and rewarding.

"It was a great test," he said. "Those are two class guys who can play great golf."

While Puleri took home his first Hills title, the women's championship finished with a familiar champion as Diane Breen easily captured her 17th consecutive title. Breen, who this week finished second with Kathy Duguay in the Women's Golf Association of Massachusetts Eleanor I. Labonte tournament at The Orchards, had rounds of 78 and 79.

WAUBEEKA GOLF LINKS: Geoff Tatro ended a 25-year quest by winning the men's club championship for the first time, finishing four shots ahead of 12-time champion John Bradbury with a 54-hole total of 19-over 232.

"I've probably had a chance to win over the last 10 years and have had second-, third- and fourth-place finishes," said Tatro, who shot a final-round 79. "It was pretty emotional. It's something I've wanted to do for so long. It felt awfully great."

The 55-year-old, who opened with rounds of 76 and 77, trailed Bradbury by a shot entering the final 18 holes. He overcame a rough patch on the back nine — he played holes 11-13 in 5-over with a triple bogey on the par-4 12th — before righting the ship with a steady finish while Bradbury and past champion Chris Baran struggled down the stretch.

"I knew it would be a challenge going against a 12-time champion. He's so steady," said Tatro. "I just tried to stay focused."

Tatro fell two shots back on the second hole but with the help of a birdie on the par-5 eighth hole and a good par on the 10th, one of the county's toughest par 3s, he had built a four-shot lead before his 5-over stretch.

"I thought I was in trouble," he said after his lead all but disappeared by No. 13. "But I played solid after that."

He played the final five holes in even par with a birdie on the par-5 15th and a three-putt bogey on the par-5 17th. Bradbury had to settle for an 84 while Baran, who finished six shots back, shot a 78.

Asked the difference between his close calls and this victory, Tatro said it was his ability to not look back or too far ahead during a round. That certainly was the case as he recovered from his back-nine hiccups.

"To tell you the truth, three weeks ago I was really struggling, but the last two weeks I decided to do away with the bad thinking and just have fun," he said. "I just played good enough rounds, it was nothing to brag about."

The most memorable moments came after he knocked in his final putt.

"The best thing was all the people congratulating me," he said. "It's nice to have people rooting for you. I had a ton of support."

Meanwhile, Jimmy Crews put together back-to-back rounds of 78 to earn the senior men's championship by six shots over Jack Pieraccini, who ended up taking low net honors.

Angie Linger won her fourth consecutive women's title by 12 shots over Carol Burke. Linger, who finished with a 54-hole total of 259 to win, led by just five headed into the final round but shot a final-round 84 while Burke settled for a 91.

TACONIC GOLF CLUB: Senior standout Bill Hadden, one of New England's top amateurs for decades, won top honors with a 54-hole total of 12-over 225 over the challenging Williams College course.

Hadden, who qualified earlier this summer for this past week's U.S. Senior Amateur Championship in Minnesota, was six shots better than Steve Owen and former Williams College golfer Cody Semmelrock. Unfortunately, the former Vermont Amateur and Senior Amateur champion had to withdraw from the national senior tournament.

Cheryl Krueger took the women's championship by four shots over Kathy Duguay with a 36-hole score of 163.

WORTHINGTON GOLF CLUB: In a tight battle to the finish, Fred Goerlach captured the men's championship by two shots over John Ryan, Al Stalker and Jeff Racz.

Goerlach finished with a 54-hole total of 18-over 228.

The women's title was won by Chris Eugin with a 36-hole score of 13-over 157.

EGREMONT COUNTRY CLUB: Ed Locke edged Bart Reeves by a single shot with a final round 84 to earn the men's championship while J. Pat Murphy cruised to an easy or men's championship victory with a 36-hole total of 158.

***

In last week's Tee to Green, I mad a couple of writing double bogeys by incorrectly reporting two club champions. Below are the correct winners.

WAHCONAH COUNTRY CLUB; The winner of the men's club championship was Thomas Czelusniak, who also captured the men's senior title.

GEAA: The women's champion at the Pittsfield course was Bonnie Galant.

Congratulations to Thomas and Bonnie and my apologies to both of you.

***

It was a victory for the home team in the second Berkshire County Fall Series tournament on Wednesday at Skyline Country Club.

The team of Jack Bartow and Chip Wilson shot an impressive 63 in the bramble format to prevail by five shots over Tom Granitto and Terry Carey. In the bramble format, both players hit drives and then play their own ball from the selected drive

The winning round featured eagles on both of Skyline's front-nine par 5 holes, Nos. 2 and 8. In both cases, it was all Wilson. His drive was the one selected on both holes and he needed just two more shots to hole out in both cases.

A reminder that this week's event is on Thursday at Egremont, not Wednesday as is the case for the other series tournaments. After Egremont, the series will move to Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort on Sept. 13. Call Cranwell by this Friday to enter.

***

Any hole-in-one is a special occasion, but when it is hit by an 81-year-old it is an especially exciting moment.

That was the case on Aug. 23 at Pontoosuc Lake Country Club when Joe Bradford, hitting a 3-wood while playing with Eric Buhl, Erik Sholz and Austin Stokes, found the bottom of the cup on the 130-yard 14th hole during a Trident League match.

Way to go Joe!



LOCAL RESULTS

Berkshire Hills Country Club


Club championship

Championship Division

54 holes

1. Jeff Puleri, 71-76-71 — 218. 2. Bob Linn, 73-74-74 — 221. 3. John Dahrouge, 79-71-78 — 228. 4. Ralph Dastoli, 77-79-78 — 228. 5. Matt Gilardi, 76-80-79 — 235.

Blue Division

36 holes

1. Tim Breen, 76-78 — 154. 2. Bill Ryan, 81-74 — 155. 3. Mark Riley, 84-72 — 156. 4. Bob Maloney, 81-77 — 158. 5. Mike Lamoureaux, 84-77 — 161.

White Division

1. John Harding, 90-89 — 179. 2. Marty McColgan, 88-96 — 184.

Women's Division

1. Diane Breen, 78-79 — 157. 2. Janice Barry, 90-90 — 180

Taconic Golf Club.

Men

54 holes

1. Bill Hadden, 225. 2. (tie) Steve Owen, 231; Cody Semmelrock, 231. 4. George Smith, 232. 5. Taylor Foehl, 238.

Women

36 holes

1. Cheryl Krueger, 163. 2. Kathy Duguay, 167. Sara D'Arcangelo, 172.

Waubeeka Golf Links

Club championship

Championship Division

54 holes

1. Geoff Tatro, 76-77-79 — 232. 2. John Bradbury, 77-75-84 — 236. 3. Chris Baran, 83-77-78 — 238. 4. Pete Cowlin, 83-79-79 — 241.

First Division

1. Russ Gilman, 83-83-76 — 242. 2. Dan Bourdon, 83-82-87 — 252. 3. Kenny Hodgdon, 87-85-80 — 252.

Second Division

1. Bob Williams, 87-95-98 — 228.

Women's Championship Division

36 holes

1. Angie Linger, 89-86 — 175. 2. Carol Burke, 90-90 — 180. 3. Sandy Bourdon, 94-87 — 181.

Women's First Division

36 holes

1. Linda Lewitt, 198.

Wahconah Country Club

Men's Championship Division

1. Thomas Czelusniak.

Women's Championship Division

1. Patty Peltier

Senior Championship Division

1. Thomas Czelusniak

Super Senior Division

1. Tim Taylor

First Division

1. Jamie Denault

Second Division

1. Frank Dipierro

First Net Division

1. Scott Washburn

Second Net Division

1. Zip Carver

Women's Net Division

1. Deb McMahon

Worthington Golf Club

Club championship

Men's Championship Division

54 holes

1. Fred Goerlach, 228. 2. (tie) Al Stocker, 230; John Ryan, 230; Jeff Racz, 230.

First Division

36 holes

1. Jeremy Stachowicz, 172. 2. Dave Pollard, 175. 3. Chuck Baker, 182.

Women's Championship Division

36 holes

1. Chris Eugin, 157.

Women's First Division

1. Mari Hall, 197.

AREA ACES

Lou Rossi, on the 165-yard third hole at Egremont CC. Witness: Yoshi Sato.

Joe Bradford, on the 130-yard 14th hole at Pontoosuc Lake CC with a 3-wood. Witnesses: Eric Buhl, Erik Sholz, and Austin Stokes.

Jim Freeney, with a 6-hybri on the 127-yard 16th hole at Waubeeka GL. Witnesses: Tom McGrath, Elliott Catarula, Tony Atkiss.

Frank Spear, with a 7-iron on the eighth hole at Donnybrook. Witness: Tyson Whaley.


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