THERE ARE at least two things that distinguish Bretwood Golf Course’s Bob Kearney from the other entrants in this year’s New England Golf Association Senior Amateur: Kearney is the only golfer in the field with a chance to win the tournament for the second time in as many years, and he’s the only player entered who was once the top-ranked senior amateur golfer in the United States.
Kearney, a 64-year-old Harrisville resident, won last year’s Senior Amateur at Biddeford-Saco (Maine) Country Club with a 1-over-par 143 total. He played golf at the University of Connecticut from 1975 to 1978, and in 2015 was the No. 1 senior amateur golfer in the country, as ranked by Golfweek and AmateurGolf.com.
He’ll attempt to add a second NEGA Senior Amateur title to his resume at Mount Washington Golf Club in Carroll on Sept. 15-16. Golfers will play 18 holes each day to determine the champion.
“I still play a lot of good golf — I hit a lot of good shots — but I make a lot more mistakes than what I made when I was younger,” Kearney said. “I still love the competition. When you’re counting your score, the competitive juices are flowing. That’s what makes it interesting. That’s where the battle starts. They always flow when the tournament starts, no matter what tournament it is.”
Kearney has a residence in Texas, but spends about five months a year in New Hampshire. He won the Texas Mid-Amateur in 1998 and the Texas Amateur in 2001.
Kearney also qualified to play in back-to-back U.S. Senior Amateurs in 2015 and 2016. He reached match play in the 2015 tournament and advanced to the second round.
Kearney said he is not familiar with the Mount Washington course, but plans to play a practice round there the day before the Senior Amateur begins.
“Usually I find that to be plenty,” he said. “I’m playing OK. The game, as I’ve gotten older, I find that you just never know what you’re going to get on any given day. The struggle is with myself now: Can I put together a good round? Can I put together two good rounds in a row for this tournament? You just never know.”
Claremont native Kirk Hanefeld, a member of the New Hampshire Golf Hall of Fame, won his third teaching professional championship Tuesday at the 2020 New England PGA Head Professional and Teaching Professional Championships at LeBaron Hills Country Club in Lakeville, Mass.
Hanefeld, the PGA director of instruction at Salem (Mass.) Country Club, won the title by beating Eric Barlow on the second playoff hole.
A 1974 Somersworth High School graduate, Hanefeld won the New Hampshire Junior Championship and the Red Ryan CYO tournament in 1971, 1972 and 1973. He won the New Hampshire Amateur title twice (1974 and 1976) and the New England Amateur once (1977) before he turned professional.
Hanefeld won five state opens, including the New Hampshire Open in 1982, and participated in three PGA Tour major championships.
Point leaders for the NHGA’s Kirk Hanefeld Player of the Year (Junior), Thomas J. Leonard Jr. Player of the Year (Regular) and Senior Player of the Year:
Junior: 1. Bryce Zimmerman (Nashua CC) 370; 2. William Huang (Golf Club of New England) 350; 3. Mathew Gover (Atkinson Resort & CC) 265; 4. Jack Pepin (Atkinson Resort & CC) 90; 5. Ben Dougherty (North Conway CC) 88.75.
Regular: 1. James Pleat (Nashua CC) 605; 2. Harvin Groft (The Oaks Golf Links) 490; 3. Cameron Sheedy (Windham CC Online) 465; 4. Pat Pelletier (Carter CC), 420; 5. Ryan Kohler (Hooper Golf Course) 403.3.
Senior: 1. Bill Everett (Laconia CC) 260; 2. Craig Steckowych (Portsmouth CC) 202.5; 3. Daniel Arvanitis (Derryfield CC) 190; 4. Bob Kearney (Bretwood GC) 182.5; 5. Phil Pleat (Nashua CC) 155.
Top 10 scores from Tuesday’s NHGA Stroke Play Series event at The Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth:
Groft 70, Alex Gambordella 73, Jack Meehan 74, Rob Zimmerman 75, Bryce Zimmerman 75, Bob Landry 76, Peter Keilty 77, Dan Mulkern 77, Mike Blair 77, Loukas Coussoule 77.
Sept. 3: NHGA Stroke Play Series (Rochester CC)
Sept. 8-9: NHGA Senior Amateur Championship (Atkinson Resort & CC)
Sept. 15-16: New England Senior Amateur (Mount Washington Resort & GC)
Sept. 20: NHGA Spring Four Ball (Kingswood Golf Club)
Sept. 21-23: NHGA Women’s Match Play Championship (Green Meadow GC)
Sept. 27-28: NHGA Mid-Amateur Team Championship (Mount Washington Resort & GC)
Sept. 27-28: NHGA Senior Four-Ball Championship (Mount Washington Resort & GC)
Sept. 29: NHWGA Fall Classic (Baker HIll GC)
Oct. 4: NHGA Fall Four Ball (Beaver Meadow GC)
Oct. 6-8: NHGA Mid-Amateur Championship (Lake Winnipesaukee GC)
Oct. 14: NHGA Tournament Series (Baker Hill GC)
Oct. 19: NHGA Tournament Series (Cochecho CC)
Oct. 26: NHGA Stroke Play Series (Concord CC)
Oct. 27: NHGA Tournament Series (Wentworth by the Sea CC)