O'Connors Capture MGA Parent-Child Championship
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (July 25, 2023) -- A Christmas gift from Niall O'Connor to his father Joe may've finally put the pair over the edge in a team competition with the MGA, as the duo carded a net 7-under 63 in the Pinehurst format to win the 3rd MGA Parent-Child Championship on Tuesday at Westchester Hills Golf Club.
"Niall gave me $400 for Christmas to go and get fitted for clubs because all my drives were going out to the right," said the Crown City Golf Club member Joe after the round, reporting his new clubs were helping him hit it great and were a key to the victory.
"He's driving it super straight and I made some massive putts," said Niall, a member of Celtic Golf Club.
The duo started consistently in the Pinehurst format, remaining even through the opening five holes. They made their move on the next six holes though, playing the stretch from No. 6-11 in 6-under, including a birdie net eagle on the par-4 seventh. They added another net birdie on the par-4 15th, just before the horn blew for some fast-moving thunderstorms late in the afternoon. At that point, they owned a one-shot lead.
"It really came down to commitment and staying in it," said Niall. "The rain delay was a little twist in there, but we kept it cool, calm and collected and kept our minds in it."
Though Niall did his best to keep the score and the duo's standing away from his father, their lead was revealed during what turned out to be a 2-hour, 15-minute suspension of play.
"I didn't tell him about it," said Niall. "He didn't know until someone texted us the scoreboard when we were inside eating, so he didn't know we were in the lead and I tried to keep that away from him."
Admittedly a nervous player, Joe agreed. "I don't want to know," he said. "The goal in golf is to try and concentrate on what you have to do and where you have to go. You have to pick a spot in front of you and if you don't get to that spot, you have to make adjustments to get to the next spot.
While they knew what they had to do coming down the stretch when play resumed at 5:20 p.m., they closed strong with a trio of pars to maintain the one-shot edge and claim the victory.
"We've been a long time pushing for this," said Joe, recalling past close calls in the Parent-Child and MGA Father and Son events. "This is special."
"Our games are completely unique and that kind of keeps us together," said Niall. "We play tons of golf together. We travel around the world playing golf and it's so special to us. I'm just so happy to have him."
Finishing one shot back were the father-daughter duo of Gerry and Ellen Oswald of Westchester Country Club with a 6-under 64. Tyler and Thomas Barbaro of Garden City Country Club and Peter and Peter Rubeo both carded -under 65s.