Mike Soucy has been a mainstay in RIGA events over the past four decades. A calm, precise player, he won the State Amateur in 1999, 2001 and 2003 and captured the Senior Four-Ball with Paul Quigley in 2010.
Beyond his play he has won admirers for the class and dignity he has displayed in the true spirit of the game. That was never more obvious than in the Senior Championship several years ago at Crestwood where he held the lead with two holes to play. He pushed his tee shot on 17 right, into the hazard that borders the entire right side. As his threesome headed down after finishing all the tee shots, Soucy took a ball out of his bag in case he could not play the one that went in the hazard. “I didn’t have to hit a provisional. If I had to, I could have hit a provisional from where it crossed the hazard. So I just got in the cart and put it in my pocket,’’ Soucy related.
When he reached the hazard, he saw that his ball was playable. He was able to punch it out and get it on the green about 20 feet from the hole. His first putt missed by about two feet. “I went over and washed my ball. I was the last one to putt, so I put it in my pocket,’’ he related. When his playing partners finished putting, he reached into his pocket, took out a ball - the wrong ball, not the one he began the hole with - and tapped it for what should have been a four. As he was bending over to take his ball out of the cup he realized what he had done. “There were no markings on the ball. I thought, that’s not the right ball,’’ Soucy explained.
The ball he putted into the hole was the provisional he had put in his pocket. It had no markings. He was the only one who knew. Nobody else knew. The rules dictate that a player cannot substitute a ball in the middle of a hole. The penalty is two strokes, so Soucy had a six. He then birdied the par-5 finishing hole to finish with a 77 for the day and 144 total. Without the penalty, he would have won the event by one stroke. “You just have to do it,’’ Soucy said of calling the penalty on himself.