A year ago, Nick Pandelena could only watch the battle.
A group of his golf compadres/adversaries had hooked into a fierce battle at the 2012 Joseph F. Healey Memorial, and due to a tournament commitment on the road in Las Vegas, Atkinson’s Pandelena found himself on the outside, ”That was tough, because I wanted to be here,” said Pandelena. “I kept in touch with Joe (Leavitt), and with Nick (Maccario), and when I saw about the playoff, it made it even tougher.”
This time around, Pandelena, fresh off a highly productive freshman campaign at Boston College, wasn’t about to miss out on the fun.
If the 2012 Healey was any indication, the event this week should be one heck of a battle.
Last year, shot-making ruled, especially in the championship round as the final group of eventual champ Joe Leavitt (URI), Nick Maccario (St. Anselm) and Nick Fairweather (URI) dazzled the gallery in their own version of dueling banjos up and down the Windham fairways.
This year’s final round will be on Pandelena’s home course of Atkinson Country Club. The former St. John’s Prep All-Scholastic would like nothing more than to crash the heavyweight party and have the opportunity to state his case as the top amateur in the region.
”There’s definitely significance here, knowing the caliber of players around here playing,” he said.
The Healey and its predecessor, the Allan B. Rogers Memorial, has for decades gone a long way in the honor of that title. We’ve seen amateurs rise out of these events and head to near greatness in the pros, most recently with guys like Andover’s Rob Oppenheim on the Web.com Tour and 2013 Mass. Open champ Evan Harmeling on the Canadian Tour.
Somewhat of a history buff, Pandelena understands what’s at stake this week.