31st Senior Four-Ball Net Championship

By Joe McDonald

RIGA Senior Writer


EAST PROVIDENCE – The Senior Four-Ball Net Championship is one of the most popular tournaments on the RIGA circuit. It’s a fun event, but players take the competition serious. 


The 31st edition of the championship lived up to expectations on Day 1 at Agawam Hunt. Mother Nature finally provided perfect spring golf weather, the course is in incredible shape and many of the team scores were a result of the conditions. Just when many thought the morning groups would own the leaderboard, the afternoon pairings at other thoughts. The team of Richard Rotelli and Tom d’ Oliveira finished as the medalists with an 11-under net 58 after a late-afternoon surge. 








Gary Palmer and Michael Souza also put on a late push and finished the first round in second place with a 7-under net 62. For a while in the morning, 6-under was the leader in the clubhouse with three teams shooting a net 63. Dan Yorke displayed his short-game prowess and his teammate Pat Healey was thrilled with his partner’s clutch putting. 


“I don’t think the scorecard is that pretty, but we got up and down a lot – both of us,” Yorke said.  


Healey quickly added with a laugh: “My name is Ham, and this is my partner, Egg. . . I told him when the round was over I’m more excited that he played well than I did. I haven’t seen him play that well since the Carter administration, so I’m proud of the guy.” 


Yorke then gave credit to his friend and coach John Simmons, who is the pro at Agawam Hunt. 


“Pat and I are proud members of Kirkbrae, but the best teacher in Rhode Island, by far, is John Simmons,” Yorke said. “He and I have been working on my short game for the last few weeks and it finally started to click. We got up and down a whole bunch of times, and made a couple of birdie putts, so it feels good to play a competitive round of golf. It’s only Day 1 and we’ll see what happens (Tuesday).”


As Yorke and Healey walked off No. 18 in the late morning, they realized there was plenty of golf remaining and other teams stepped up during the rest of the round. 


Norbert Oliveira and Bruce Wedge also finished 6-under and they raved about the conditions at Agawam Hunt, which every golfer agreed as they finished their respective rounds on Day 1. 


“The greens are phenomenal,” Oliveira said. “The golf course is in great shape and we really enjoyed it.” 


This was the first time Wedge, a member at Segregansett played in a RIGA event and he was blown away by the experience, especially playing at Agawam Hunt. 


“I was super impressed,” he said. “I love the layout and the conditions are fabulous. We had a great day, made a lot of clutch putts.” 


The final round begins Tuesday morning at Agawam Hunt with the leaders teeing off early in the afternoon. The defending Senior Four-Ball Net champions, the team of Phillip Norton and Andrew Tait, are T10 at 3-under.