2021-07-31-tsc-spt-AAGA-Open-qualifier2

Cameron Martin of Attleboro watches his putt on the sixth hole roll just wide at the AAGA Open qualifying round Friday at Heather Hills Country Club in Plainville.

PLAINVILLE — It came down to the final threesome in the field at the qualifying round for the Attleboro Area Golf Association’s Open Friday at Heather Hill Country Club.

Finishing up on the North and Middle courses were former Seton Hall University hoopster Jim Dickinson and a pair of former Attleboro High Bombardiers, Kris Carrier and Chris Minutoli.

The seven-foot-tall Dickinson, an AAGA Open veteran, scored a 78 to qualify. The scorecards of Carrier and Minutoli left the remainder of the estimated 14 qualifying spots and then some with baited breath. Minutoli rolled in a 6-inch bogey putt at 339-yard, par-4 No. 9 hole on the Middle Course, thinking that he was on the borderline for his first AAGA Open spot in his first time at qualifying. Carrier had taken a triple bogey at the 419-yard, par-4 No. 15 hole (the No. 1 stroke hole) and thought his fate was sealed.

But at No. 18, Carrier chipped to within an inch of the cup for a tap-in par putt. So when the scorecards were tallied, Carrier was in with a round of 81 and Minutoli was out by one shot with a round of 82.

Had Carrier finished with an 82, that would have allowed Minutoli, Peter Inglese, Richard Ringler, Jesse Donohoe, John Brunelle, Jack Rounds and Weeman — all of whom finished at 82 — to make the field.

“If there’s any consolation, at least I beat Anthony Pirri (an 84),” Minutoli said of his Rocketeer-Bombardier, neighborly rivalry.

“At least I was consistent, but my goal was to beat last year’s score,” said Pirri, a former North Attleboro High football great, of his two 42s which added up to an 84 on the Middle and South courses, missing the cut by four shots.

Trying to qualify for a fifth straight year, Pirri shot an 83 last year and missed the cut by two shots.

“My strategy was pretty simple — — hit it and find it,” said the Pawtucket CC member.

Pirri is the new offensive coordinator for coach Mike Strachan’s Attleboro High football team, leaving Stoughton High after 14 seasons.

At 73 years old, AAGA tournament veteran

  • Larry Kissell of Norton and Crestwood CC’s, is quite content to even get to the golf course and the No. 1 tee. That is, Kissell underwent laser surgery to correct a kidney ailment last week and believed the best remedy was golf.

“I’ve been playing in this tournament for over 30 years, I wasn’t about to sit at home, Kissell said.

Unfortunately, Kissell shot an 89 on the North and Middle courses, missing the cut. He did so last year too, by one shot with an 82.

“I didn’t lose any golf balls and I feel good, so I think that I should at least win the wheelchair division,” he said.

Ditto for “COVID”

  • Bill Gaskin, who has lost some 32 pounds due to being struck by the pandemic in March of 2020 and again a month ago.

“I don’t have any strength, I’m hitting three or four extra clubs to get my ball up there,” Gaskins said.

Never hospitalized, but home-ridden for his bouts of recovery, “needless to say, everyone thought I was dead,” he said. “I only started eating solid food last week.”

Gaskin finished with a 90 on the Middle and South courses, but did chip in from 30 yards out for a par on the backside No. 10 hole.

Salve Regina University freshman and Moses Brown Academy grad

  • Paul Shannon

, III of North Attleboro had to apologize to his pairings group of Jamie Hunt and Dave Weeman for not venturing into the woods with them to look for lost balls.

Shannon came down with a severe bout of poison ivy which required a steroid shot and doses of medication. And yet, he was the No. 3 scorer on the North and Middle courses with a 5-over-par round of 76, hitting 14 greens in regulation.

“I have it (poison ivy) everywhere,” Shannon, a TPC-Boston member said of his misfortune. On the course though, he had 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey.

Incoming North Attleboro High freshman

  • Tyson Laviano could not have envisioned any worse of a start in his quest to qualify for the AAGA Open for a second straight year.

Having shot a 77 in 2020, Laviano hoped to surpass that number — only it was in the other direction, an 84 not to his liking. Starting on the South Course, Laviano inked a double bogey, a double bogey, a triple bogey and another double bogey on the first four holes contested.

“That’s a tough course, it’s tight,” Laviano said of wandering from the fairways.

He has played in seven summer tournaments thus far, winning the NEPGA Junior Tournament in Rockland.

Another rising star, North Attleboro High junior

  • Jake Gaskin, qualified for a second straight year, shooting a 78.

Gaskin was the low scorer at 72 on the South-North courses last year, but missed the 2020 AAGA Open cut after 36 holes. He drilled just one birdie putt, a 60-footer.

North Attleboro’s

  • Justin Guimond figures he’s won the jackpot, hit the lottery without even qualifying for the AAGA Open, despite a medalist round for the second time. Having overcome drug and alcohol addition,

Guimond and his bride Sheri are expecting a child in another month.

“I had a relapse last year,” Guimond said. “I was dead for eight days, I was in a coma. Now life is good and I’ve been playing good golf too.”

Peter Gobis may be reached at 508-236-0375

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