Tee to Green: Remembering Bob Driscoll
Both in the packed church and later at a Celebration of Life at Greenock Country Club, he was fondly remembered as a great athlete, devoted family man and someone who lived life to the fullest.
While my interactions with him were limited to my tournament coverage and when I would occasionally run into him at the Off Track Betting site in New Lebanon, N.Y. — he loved to play the ponies — Bob made an immediate, and much appreciated, impression on me shortly after I started covering golf for The Eagle in 2010.
Bob and his son Randy had lost in the final of the Country Club of Pittsfield Men's Invitational to James Ryan and Brian Foley. Unable to attend the tournament myself, I was sent the results and wrote my story after a brief phone interview with Ryan.
New to the area, I didn't know either Driscoll and made the kind of mistake that is inexcusable. Nearing deadline, and given their strong performance, I made an assumption that was wrong, and very embarrassing — I wrote that Ryan and Foley had defeated "brothers Bob and Randy Driscoll."
Ouch. When I found out my error, I knew I had to call both father and son to apologize. Both were gracious in their response, but Bob's put me at ease and made me smile.
"That's OK, you made me 30 years younger," he said.
In the years that followed, I secretly rooted for the Driscolls to win the Invitational, which Randy told me was their favorite tournament to play together.
Three times in four years they lost in the final, with Bob more than holding his own despite being well into his late 60s. Stockbridge Golf Club head professional Steve Mazzariello said prior to Saturday's Mass that Bob was playing as well as he ever had despite his age.
In 2015, Randy's longtime friend Jeff Puleri took over Bob's spot as the quest for the elusive title continued. They lost in the final to the Pioneer Valley team Greg Fisk and Brian Cunningham. But in 2016, Driscoll and Puleri routed Matt Scarafoni and Chris Ferriter 5-and-4 with Randy shooting a spectacular 31 on the front nine. Puleri called him a one-man wrecking crew.
"I'd had a lot of close calls, so it was very satisfying to finally get the win," Driscoll recalled earlier this year. "My dad was able to come and watch us play, so that helped make it even more memorable."
At Saturday's Mass, I learned much more about Bob, his 47-year marriage to his wife Ramonda, his support of Randy and daughter Shannon's sporting endeavors and his interactions with four grandchildren. He had a zest for life that led to plenty of laughs when his experiences were shared on Saturday.
I knew from my brief times in his company that he was a great guy, but perhaps I didn't realize how special he was.
Rest in peace, Bob
Diane Breen and Kathy Duguay, who haven't played together as a team much over the past few years while dealing with health issues after dominating the local scene earlier in the decade, flashed their old form this week at Wyantenuck Country Club, taking the overall title in the Redfield Invitational.
Breen (Berkshire Hills Country Club) and Duguay (Taconic Golf Club) put together rounds of 75 and 72 to finish at 3-over 147 to earn a three-shot best-ball victory over Lynn Burke and Nora Patton in Flight 1.
"We both played very well," Breen said. "Any time you don't lose a ball at Wyantenuck you are doing well."
Another highlight at the Great Barrington club was a hole-in-one on the 120-yard 14th hole by Berkshire Hills member Nancy Crocker. The ace helped Crocker and partner Liz Flynn win Flight 4 with a 36-hole total of 156.
The victory gives the duo a boost as they prepare to take a step up in competition on Wednesday when they play at Taconic in the Curtis Bowl, one of the Women's Golf Association of Massachusetts' top annual events. The 18-hole tournament features the Scotch format.
The 44-team field will tee off in a shotgun start at 1 p.m.
The tournament will be the second WGAM event in two days in Williamstown. The Waubeeka Golf Links will host the organization's Mother & Son Tournament to Tuesday. The event will also start with a 1 p.m. shotgun start.
The Taconic team of Joan Zegras and Mace Foehl-Hemphill won Monday's Women's Allied Association tournament at GEAA, shooting a 79 in the Scotch format event.
GEAA's Bonnie Galant and Denise Marshall finished second, four shots back, while the Berkshire Hills team of Trish Kellar and Cheryl Bean took low net honors with a 71.
For the second time in two years, being an alternate for a big event has worked out well for Berkshire Hills member Bob Linn. Last year, as an alternate for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, he was rushed onto to the tee just as he arrived at the course when there was a no-show.
This time, his 5-over 74 at Agawam Hunt Club in Rumford, R.I., on June 27 came up one shot short of qualifying for the New England Amateur. But, this time with plenty of notice, he has been elevated into the field for the 72-hole tournament, which begins on Tuesday at Metacomet Country Club in East Providence, R.I.
The 63-year-old will be looking to make amends after a disappointing performance in last week's Mass. Am. at Charles River Country Club when, as the oldest player in the field, he finished at 20-over 160 to miss advancing to match play by 13 shots.
"Charles River was fabulous, but mental game was awful, which led to throwing away shots," said Linn. "The course length wasn't out of my range. I thought I hit it well enough to score 150."
Metacomet is another course that doesn't demand great length off the tee. The par-70 layout measures a less less than 6,500 yards from the championship tees. The course is a classic Donald Ross design that includes former PGA Tour standout Brad Faxon as a member.
While Linn struggled, reigning Mass. Golf Association Player of the Year Matt Parziale did not, capturing the state's most prestigious amateur event with a 4-and-3 victory over Matt Cowgill.
The Thorny Lea Golf Club member is the first player since amateur legend Frank Vana in 2004 to win the Mass. Am. the year after being the player of the year. Parziale jumped out 5-up lead through the first 18 holes of the 36-hole final and never let the 21-year-old Cowgill (Wayland Country Club) back in the match.
Reach Richard Lord at email@example.com or 413-281-2226
1. Joan Zegras and Mace Foehl-Hemphill (Taconic GC), 79. 2. Bonnie Galant and Denise Marshall (GEAA), 83. 3. Dolly Dechaine and Kelly Holmes (Skyline CC), 94.
1. Trish Kellar and Cheryl Bean (Berkshire Hills CC), 71. 2. Pam Turner and Barb Frost (GEAA), 77. 3. Jude Wesselman and Deb Cobb (GEAA), 81.
Best ball format
1. Diane Breen and Kathy Duguay, 75-72 -- 147. 2. Lynn Burke and Nora Patton, 76-74 -- 150.
1. Jen Race and Lorraine Cleaveland, 63-63 -- 126. 2. Deb McCulloch and Lynn Oberling, 64-66 -- 130.
1. Chris Eugin and Kimiko Akimoto, 75-73 -- 148. 2. Grace Rose and Sharon Connelly, 76-76 -- 152.
1. Barbara Budelman and Lisa Nielsen, 62-63 -- 125. 2. Flo Libertore and Linda Kolnick, 65-65 -- 130.
1. Anne VanBuren and Mary Ellen Milos, 74-77 -- 151. 2. Charlotte Ackerman-Liz Wilson, 81-81 -- 162.
1. Jill Kane and Patty Mort, 67-63 -- 130. 2. Bonnie Stewart and Mary Harris, 62-69 -- 131.
1. Liz Flynn and Nancy Crocker, 75-78 -- 156. 2. Linda Haskell and Linda Petrozzi, 83-81 -- 164.
1. Karen French and Martha Bell, 62-64 -- 126. 2. Barbara Corcoran and Leslie Bennett, 63-69 -- 132.
1. (tie) Debbie Perry and Kate Taylor, 86-87 -- 173. 2. Avon Frulla and Carole Terlik, 84-90 -- 173.
1. Nancy Gilbert and Sharon Davies, 65-63 -- 128. 2. Cathy Marchetto and Sue Gilligan, 67-64 -- 131.
1. Julie Bresnahan and Linda Ranville, 84-84 -168. 2. Marion Hyde and Nancy Walker, 85-89 -- 174.
1. Cheryl Bean and Mary Bauman, 60-66 -- 126. 2. Dawn McClure and Michelle Agahigian, 67-60 -- 127.
1. Mary Ellen Rosenberry and Thirza Hyatt, 92-89 -- 181. 2. Betsy Pearson and Pat Rajala, 92-91 -- 183.
1. Mary Caudill and Monica Fay, 66-62 -- 128. 2. Ann Tanner and Doe St. Lawrence, 62-67 -- 129.
David Kay, on the 168-yard 13th hole at Berkshire Hills CC. Witness: Dennis Boldyga.
Craigh Laurin, with a 7-iron on the 141-yard eighth hole at GEAA. Witnesses: Rich Ostellino, Bob Fallon, Bob Magi.
Nancy Crocker, on the 120-yard 14th hole at Wyantenuck CC. Witness: Liz Flynn.
Pat Grogan, on the 167-yard third hole with a 4-hybrid on the 167-yard third hole at Waubeeka Golf Links.
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