Massachusetts Father & Son Championship Junior Division Title
Andover, MA — The trophy case at Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton has truly tested its weight limit this year with several of its members winning either Massachusetts or regional Championship events.
On Wednesday, two more trophies were added to the shelf as the father and son pair of Robert Mancini and Jack Mancini shot 1-under par 71 to win the junior division of the 41st Massachusetts Father & Son Championship at Andover Country Club. They were the only group in the field of 33 father and son pairs to finish below par.
“It feels great” said father Robert following their round, which saw them shoot 2-under on the back nine to jump to the top of the leaderboard Wednesday. “To play with your son, it is honestly the greatest feeling in the world to win this.”
As a result of Wednesday’s victory for the Mancini duo, this marks the first time since the junior division was introduced in 2009 that both the senior and junior division champions hail from the same club.
On Tuesday, Thorny Lea Golf Club’s Steven C. Tasho and Steven R. Tasho shot a tournament record 9-under par 63 to claim the senior division title.
With Robert and Jack in the mix at the turn, having tallied two birdies and three bogeys through the first seven holes, the Mansfield residents opened up the back nine with an eagle on the par-5 450 yard 10th hole, a score that helped set the pace for their second half of the round.
“He had me go first, and I blasted my shot dead right,” recalled the 16-year-old Jack, a rising sophomore at The Wheeler School in Providence, of his play on the 10th hole. “I was gone, but he decided to come in clutch and hit it straight and it rolls just out of the bunker and gives me a nice lie downwind.”
Hitting dad’s second shot, Jack was able to put his approach shot to within 20 feet of the hole, a hole which sits up uphill left from the tee. From there, Robert was able to sink the putt for what was the one of only three eagles that Andover saw all day.
Following the eagle, the duo made four straight pars and added a birdie on the par-3 15th hole on their way to finishing the back side at 2-under par 34 and 1-under par 71 for the day, two strokes ahead of Rick Miller and Richard Miller of Boston Golf Club, who ended the day at 1-over par 73.
Coming off a T-15 finish in last year’s Massachusetts Father & Son Championship, their inaugural appearance, the team’s strategy was simply to hit the better shot, as Jack’s game has significant improved from a year ago and no scheduled plan was needed this time around.
“This year, we didn’t have a [strategy] because he has been hitting it so well that it was take the best drive and whoever the closest is, the next guy steps up and hits the shot,” explained Robert, a 49-year old wholesaler who will be looking to qualify for the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship next week at his home course. “That’s exactly what we did.”
As to the difference from a year ago, the improvement in play has been credited to Jack, who also plays in NEPGA events during the summer.
“It was all Jack. I didn’t get better” said Robert. “[Jack] has really only been playing for two years and really got his handicap started. He had been taking some lessons from the golf professional down at Thorny Lea and did some really great things with his drive and kept it in the fairways and hitting crisp irons. That was the difference. He hit some really nice shots.”
In addition to the Mancini and Miller pairs on the leaderboard, four father and son groups finished T-3 at 3-over par-75.