By Paul Kenyon
REHOBOTH _ George Pirie and Tom Acciardo staked a claim as the most successful team in the history of the RIGA’s Ed Perry Senior Four-Ball Championship on Tuesday and did it with a fair.
Acciardo birdied the final hole, coming within inches of holing out his third shot on the par-5 18th, to give his team its third title in the event. Acciardo and Pirie combined for their second straight 6-under-par 65 at Crestwood to win the 21st annual event by two strokes. Their 12-under 130 total was two better than the team of Dave McNally and Peter Sozek.
Acciardo and Pirie become only the second team to win the event three times. They also won in 2005 and last year. The only other team to do that was the duo of Joe Iaciofano and Brad Faxon Sr., who took the title in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
``That was one of the greatest matches I’ve ever been involved in,’’ said Pirie, the periodontist who has won virtually every title the RIGA has to offer, including the State Amateur three times.
``It feels good,’’ said Acciardo, the former Barrington High golf coach who has been a frequent contender in RIGA event for years. ``George played unreal on the front nine. I was happy to be able to help.’’
McNally and Sozek forced Pirie and Acciardo to earn the title.
The teams, who were playing together in the final foursome, were tied with three holes to play. Pirie birdied the par-4 16th, the same hole where he made an eagle in the first round, to put his team back on top. Both teams parred the 17th.
On the par-5 closing hole, Pirie hooked his drive into the pond that runs down the left side. Pirie, an RIGA Hall of Famer, had carried the team to that point. He had a 4-under 31 on his own ball on the front side in the second round.
His ball in the water put the pressure squarely on Acciardo. Acciardo drove down the middle and then hit his second down the middle about 80 yards short of the green. The hole is 510-yard and was playing longer than that because of a strong crosswind.
Acciardo hit his approach toward the middle of the green. The wind floated it toward the hole and the spin brought it even closer. It landed pin high about six feet from the cup and it spun straight at the hole, stopping about six inches short for a clinching tap-in birdie. McNally and Sozek made routine par to finish with a 67 and 132 total.
Pirie had birdied 1, 3, 4 to give his team a three-stroke lead after entering the day tied with Sozek and McNally. Still, McNally and Sozek stayed with them. The two teams were playing together in the final foursome since they had tied for the first day lead with 65s.
Sozek and McNally bogeyed the par-4 third, but then birdied 5, 6 and 8 to stay within two with a front side 33.
The two teams were tied for the lead when McNally birdied the 354-yard 11th while Acciardo and Pirie were both bogeying, their first and only bogey of the tournament. Acciardo’s bird on the par-5 12th put his team back on top.
Former State Amateur champions Paul Quigley and Mike Soucy had a second-round 68 to take third at 5-under 137. The Wannamoisett pair of Marc Forbes and Tom Goryl was fourth at 138 and the Potowomut team of John Barber and Kevin Clary rounded out the top five at 139.
The event is named in honor of the former RIGA executive director.
Check out photo's from the course