Kays Captures Classic Crown
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. -- Taconic senior Michael Kays carded the best round in the nine-year history of the Berkshire Classic Sunday at Stockbridge Golf Club, winning the county’s individual championship with an even-par 71.
Kays finished four strokes better than Mount Greylock junior Ben Gilooly, who was runner-up at the event for the third year in a row.
For the second year in a row, the 345-yard, par-4 16th hole proved to be critical in determining the title.
Last October, Pittsfield’s Kevin Quinto beat Gilooly in the first sudden death playoff hole on 16.
On Sunday, Kays sank a 15-foot birdie putt on 16 to turn a one-stroke lead into a two-stroke cushion going into the final two holes.
“It was a pretty downhill putt, it was straight in,” Kays said. “All day, I had the right lines, so I just lined up the ball to the hole and sank it. Put a good stroke on it. I was putting good all day, I had all the confidence in the world.”
Wahconah’s Nate Dos Santos placed third, two strokes behind Gilooly at 77. Lee’s Thomas Fraser, who played in the lead threesome with Kays and Gilooly, finished fourth at 79.
Kays picked up one birdie on the front nine on Sunday, on the 357-yard, par-4 sixth hole.
“I had a pretty good drive, and I had a little chip in, put it to about 2 feet and made the birdie putt,” he said.
After making the turn neck-and-neck with Gilooly, Kays ran into some trouble to start the back when his tee shot found a sand trap on the 133-yard, par-3 11th.
“I knew I was going to have to make a good bunker shot because I’m not the best sand player,” he said. “But I put a good swing on it, put it pretty close. I knew if I got it within 10 feet I could make the putt.”
Mount Greylock senior Tenley Smith said she didn’t have her “A” game with the putter on Sunday, but her accurate drives kept her in the round -- good enough to finish fifth in the tournament with an 84.
“I should have [had a birdie],” she said. “I missed a couple. I was on the green in regulation a couple of times, but I missed a couple of putts. … The greens, to the credit of the grounds crew, are very fast. And they’ve got lots of subtle breaks. So, as I’m sure other players will attest, they’re tough to make putts on.
“But I was driving the ball really well, which I was happy about.”
On Oct. 24, Smith and the Mounties will head to Cranwell for the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Championships. She already has two post-season events under her belt this fall -- a fourth-place finish in the Western Mass Girls Championships and Sunday’s performance as the only girl in the 24-player field.
Smith said she appreciated the opportunity to play in the girls meet back on Oct. 5.
“It was so nice,” she said. “I so wish there were more girls who played golf -- in the world and here. We have one other girl on my team, and she’s awesome. But going to Western Mass was so nice -- all people here to play golf, and they’re all women. It was so empowering and positive.
“Because boys are nice, but sometimes they can be a little more combative than girls. I had so much fun in my group. We were having a great time. I had fun today, but it’s not the same.”
Kays, meanwhile, had a lot more fun Sunday than he did the last time he took on the Stockbridge layout.
“This summer, we had the Allied Championship, and I played the worst round I have all summer,” Kays said. “I shot an 87. I wanted to get some revenge today.”
71 - Michael Kays, Taconic
75 - Ben Gilooly, Mount Greylock
77 - Nate Dos Santos, Wahconah
79 - Thomas Fraser, Lee
84 - Tenley Smith, Mount Greylock
86 - Colin Finnegan, Lee
86 - Conner Champeux, Taconic
87 - Derek Alibozek, Hoosac Valley
88 - Max DiGrigoli, Lenox
89 - Brendan Hayden, Lenox
90 - Hunter Roosa, Lee
91 - Noah Hunter, Lenox
93 - Henry Sniezek, Hoosac Valley
94 - Daniel Wilson, Wahconah
95 - Brent Arseneau, Taconic
97 - Liam Fitzgibbons, Pittsfield
100 - Caden Frazier, Wahconah; Luc Trombley, Hoosac Valley
101 - Bennett Zimmerman, Mount Greylock
108 - Cooper Rothvoss, Mount Everett
109 - Kolby Bleau, Mount Everett
111 - Brady Whalen, Monument Mountain
115 - Kurt Wilton, Monument Mountain
117 - Luke Bleau, Mount Everett