Saturday, July 29, 2017

Crashing The Party

HANOVER – Warming up at Hanover’s 15th hole before the start of match play at the 42nd Tommy Keane Invitational Saturday, Jeff Frechette heard someone grousing a little about how the hole was set up.

“It won’t matter to us,” cracked the head athletic trainer at Dartmouth. “We’ll be long gone before then.”

He was right.

And he was wrong.

Frechette and Terry Hall, who combined to shoot a best-ever 72 in Friday qualifying to earn the 16th seed in the Championship Flight, were indeed gone after their opening match against qualifying medalists Scott Peters and Andy Hydorn.

But not much before the 15th.

Just one hole before, which was something of a relief.

“I had nightmares last night of losing by nine and eight,” Frechette said with a laugh. “We made it to 5&4. I call that a win.”

“Me too,” chimed in Hall, a nurse at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “We didn’t play as well as we did yesterday but we were just two down after nine, which was good.”

Frechette and Hall have been teaming up ever since the former’s previous partner got Wally Pipped.
“Something came up, a wedding or something and he couldn’t make it,” Frechette said. “So I asked Terry to play. We’ve played together ever since.”

While they’ve had some success in the second and third flights in years past, Friday’s round was easily their best in the almost decade in which they’ve teamed up. It brought with it the dubious distinction of their first-ever date in the Championship Flight, and against a team that shot a blistering 64 in qualifying.

“When I parred one and two yesterday I said, ‘I hope this isn’t going to be one of those days,’ ” Frechette cracked. “It turned out to be one.

“We both played pretty well. When one of us was out of a hole the other one was there and made par. Terry had closest to the pin on five. He almost had a hole in one, 14 inches away. We could have been under par easily but I lipped out two putts.”

As the day went on the good only got better.

“On the back we both started making putts that were 18-to-20 feet,” said Hall. “You’d hit the putt, it would roll in the cup and we would laugh.”

Fully aware that each satisfying plop into the cup only further sealed their fate, the two figuratively shrugged their collective shoulders.

“At some point we said we might as well see how low we can go,” explained Frechette. “We were going to be playing in a flight where people were going to be better than us either way, so we might as well see what we can do.”

There was, of course, an alternative.

“We were playing with friends of ours,” Hall explained. “I think it was on the 16th tee when they said, ‘You can’t tank now. If you do we’ll go to the tournament committee.’ ”

And then the two laughed, which they did a lot while keeping their cameo appearance in the Championship Flight in perspective.

“I think the best we ever shot before was a 74 or maybe a 75 to get in the First Flight. That was a short weekend as well,” Frechette said.

Knowing it would be a lot to ask for them to advance past Saturday morning, Hall seized the day by printing this sign:

After shooting a picture of his car parked in front of the sign for his Wednesday night golf buddies Hall affixed it to the front of the pair’s golf cart for their match against Peters and Hydorn.

They aren’t expecting to need it again next year, when their goal will be a little different.

“We’ll try to make it back to the second flight,” joked Hall.

And then the teammates laughed some more.

Morning matches in the Championship Flight provided at least two surprising results. Three-time defending champions Shane and Nick MacDonald were ousted by fellow father-son team Jim and Andrew Jankowski, 1 up. Also making an early exit was the team of Nate Choukas and Benny Hayes, knocked off by Jeff and Nick Lazerowich, 1 up.

Facing off in Sunday morning’s semifinal matches will be a familiar cast.

No. 1 seed Peters and Hydorn will play the No. 12 Jankowski team and No. 2 Jake Obar and Bill Vielleux will square off against No. 6 Dean Cashman and Chris Hynes.

Hall, Frechette and Hydorn watch Peters' drive on three.

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