Local Golf: 76th Annual Invitational Four-Ball begins at Country Club of Greenfield

  • Alec Meikle helps Derek Hoy line up his putt on the first green at the 76th Invitational Four-Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Sam Wolanske chips onto the first green at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Mike Johnson helps Max Wolanske size up his putt on the first green at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Andy Lesenski tees off on the second hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Thomas Herzig helps Matt Matroni line up his shot the first green at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Ryan Cote putts on the first green at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Joe Wilson putts at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Chris Ferriter makes a birdie putt on the first hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • John Soltys putts on the first green at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Jeff Humphrey watches his putt on the first hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Matt Grayson putts on the first hole at the 76th Invitational Four-Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Anthony Jung drives on the second hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Cody Booska on the first hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • David Donoghue chips out of the sand trap on the first hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Dennis Booska putts on the first hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Chris Austin tees off on the second hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Paul Denofriao putts on the first hole at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Mike Johnson tees off on Two at the 76th Invitational Four Ball qualifying day at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 7/22/2021 8:18:28 PM
Modified: 7/22/2021 8:18:36 PM

GREENFIELD — It was the start Paul Denofrio and Matt Grayson were hoping for during the qualifying day of the 76th Invitational Four-Ball at the Country Club of Greenfield on Thursday. 

As the defending champions of the event, Denofrio and Grayson were already locked into the No. 1 seed in the Championship Flight match play bracket, but the two were determined to get off to a strong start like they did last year. 

They did just that, shooting 6-under which tied them for the third-best score of the day. 

“I hit the ball really well of the tee,” Grayson said. “Chipping and putting, we hit some shots in close. We missed some shots in close that we should have made but other than that it went well. We started off kind of the same way we did last year.”

Grayson finished the day with four birdies while Denofrio had two. After four pars to open the day, Grayson hit a birdie on the par-3 fifth hole, which got the pair going. 

“Matt played really well,” Denofrio said. “He hit putts and chips fantastic. He’s a good player. He started with a putt from eight feet, it just broke off and he missed it so we had to settle for some pars to start. Once we hit a birdie on five, we were ready to go. We were both on most of the day, we only had one bad tee shot all day which was mine on 12. Other than that everything went well. We’re usually five, six or seven under on qualifying day.” 

This is the fourth time in the last five years Denofrio and Grayson are competing together, last year winning their first championship. 

After staying away from bogeys a year ago on their title run, the two kept the same strategy, not committing a bogey through 18 holes. They feel they play well off each other. 

“I think both of us peaked last year,” Grayson said. “We had one bogey on qualifying day. We play well together. He’s steady which releases me to let me swing at it and not play protective.” 

Denofrio and Grayson will take on No. 16 Clint McCloud and Justin McCloud in the opening round of the Championship Flight on Friday, the single-elimination match play portion of the tournament. 

Jarrod Goss and KC Finley had the best day on the course on Thursday by two strokes, shooting a 9-under 61 on the par-70 course. They’re the No. 2 seed in the Championship Flight, facing off with No. 15 Doug Riel and Tim McKenna who finished 3-under on Thursday. 

Andy Lesenski and Chris Austin shot 7-under on Thursday, the second best score of the day which earned them the No. 3 seed and a match against No. 14 Hugh Barber and Jared Barber, who were 3-under in the qualifying round. 

The father-son duo of Dennis and Cody Booska finished runner-up in 2020 and got off to a hot start on Thursday, shooting 6-under to earn the No. 4 seed on Friday. They’ll take on No. 13 Christopher Borbeau and Garrett Cousineau on Friday, Borbeau and Cousineau shooting 3-under on Thursday. 

Rounding out the remainder of the championship bracket is No. 5 Chris Ferriter and Joe Wilson (-6) against No. 12 Sam Conant and Will Conant (-3), No. 6 John Soltys and Ryan Cote (-5) against No. 11 Dave Kennedy and Nate Burdick (-4), No. 7 Garrett Hasanbasic and Jason Goodhind (-5) against No. 10 Alec Meikle and Derek Hoy (-4) and No. 8 Hank Champagne and Mike Devlin (-5) taking on 2019 winners and No. 9 seeded David Donoghue and Sam Wolanske (-4). 

The first tee time in the Championship Flight is set for 12:16 p.m. on Friday. The second round and the semis will take place on Saturday, followed by the finals on Sunday. 

The pairing of 2010 champions Max Wolanske and Mike Johnson didn’t have the day on the course they had hoped, finishing even-par, but Johnson may have had the shot of the tournament on hole No. 9. 

With rain wreaking havoc on the course all week, hole No. 9 was forced to be modified from a par-4 to a par-3 due to water on the fairway. 

Johnson took advantage of this, knocking in a hole-in-one, one that brought the team from 2-over to even. 

“Luck plays a part in it,” Johnson said. 

When Johnson struck the ball, he could only see the pin as the sand trap made it so he couldn’t see the hole. The shot felt good off the tee and he heard a click that indicated he had hit the pin, but he couldn’t see the ball so he was unsure if it had landed in the hole. 

Without a reaction from the spotter, Johnson had to wait until he approached the hole to see it had gone in. 

“My partner hit a good one that was spinning down to the hole, our opponents didn’t hit good shots so we knew they weren’t close to the hole,” Johnson said. “I said to my partner if we only see one ball, one of us is in the hole. We came up around the corner and saw only one. We asked the spotter why he didn’t have a reaction — they usually clap or something when it’s in a hole — and he said he wanted to keep us guessing. I pulled it out and it helped our score.” 

Though not qualifying for the Championship Flight, getting to play with Wolanske makes coming back and competing in the Third Division Bracket on Friday worth it. 

“We won’t be in the contention for the championship but we’ll still have a great time,” Johnson said. “We go back to diapers together, we were born nine days apart. We were fortunate enough to win this 11 years ago.” 

With so much rain, the course was slick but Johnson didn’t see it as a factor. 

“The course was wet,” Johnson said, “but the greens were phenomenal. They’re the best they’ve been all year and the best I’ve seen in three or four years. They did a great job with them.” 


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