---- — ATKINSON — All the top area players breathed a sigh of relief years ago when Marc Spencer decided to turn pro and teach in the area.
Little did we know, nearly a couple decades later, the former University of Georgia star would still be making an impact at the amateur level.
Whether it was the old Rogers Tourney, the intermediary Northeast Amateur, or this Joseph F. Healey Memorial Championship, Spencer remains a player — through his protégés.
A look at the leaderboard proved it.
“All these guys at one time or another have been taught by Marc,” said Round 2 medalist Rich Campiola, himself included. “Spencer is just amazing. And I don’t care if you’re a scratch golfer, looking to learn how to move the ball one way or another or a 25-handicap just trying to learn the game and hit it straight. He’s just an unbelievable teacher.”
Spencer, a former Rogers champ who now works as a teaching pro on Joanne Flynn’s staff at Windham Country Club, played the role of proud professor yesterday.
No matter who won, he couldn’t lose.
A couple other constants up and down the leaderboard?
All the big guns spent at least some of their junior golf time at Atkinson Resort and Country Club. Yes, each member of the top five, which averaged just over 20 years old, by the way.
Finally, there is that early connection as youth golfers at the Murphy’s Garrison Golf Center.
Drohen overtakes Ahern
Like a shark smelling blood in the water, veteran Jim Drohen took notice. At the turn, Senior Division leader Colin Ahern had struggled to a 41.
That, along with a solid 38 from Drohen, set up a back-nine showdown between the two, with Drohen trailing by a stroke.
Ahern gathered himself and put up a 39 — an above average back nine score on this day — but it wasn’t enough. Haverhill’s Drohen drilled key birdies at 13 and 16 on his way to a back nine 37. That was 1-over par and second on the day only to the 35 by overall champ Nick Fairweather.
Drohen took home the Senior trophy by one shot, with the defending senior champ Ahern settling for second.
It’s going to be mighty tough to wrest the Russ Conway Cup team championship trophy from Atkinson CC.
Led by top-fivers Joe Leavitt, Nick Pandelena and Rich Campiola, Atkinson defeated Bradford CC by seven shots.
MVP for the week
A long list of people make the Healey Memorial a happening.
Atkinson Director of Golf Peter Doherty could earn the MVP award as could the Haverhill Country Club greens staff.
Haverhill was deluged by rain on Wednesday night. It came down in two different manners – torrents and buckets.
Somehow, the staff got the course back into impeccable condition.
Here’s hoping that the rest of the premier clubs in the region host the Healey and take on the opportunity to show themselves off, like Haverhill, Indian Ridge and Atkinson have done the past three years.
Yesterday, $1,000 scholarships were awarded to top student-golfers: Ryan Mahoney of Atkinson, Scott Farley and Ryan Paris of Bradford CC and Andrew Robbins of Haverhill CC.
This is an all-volunteer venture.
Courses/players pay their entry fees to cover prize money, trophies and the final dinner. All the rest goes to the scholarships for a great cause.
Players winning pro shop credits will receive them at either Haverhill Country Club or Atkinson Country Club. Here were the top winners:
Joe Leavitt ($500) — $400 runner-up, $100 winning team member
Nick Pandelena ($350) — $200 for 4th, $50 Round 1 co-medalist, $100 winning team member
Rich Campiola ($375) — $175 for fifth, $100 Round 2 medalist, $100 winning team member
At Haverhill CC
Nick Fairweather ($750) — $600 for champ, $100 Round 3 medalist, $50 Round 1 co-medalist
Nick Maccario ($300) — $300 for 3rd place
Jim Drohen ($325) — $125 for 7th place; $200 for Senior Division champ