John Boland is the 2010 men’s champion at Gannon Golf Club after defeating Ben Friedman, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final match Saturday at the Lynn course.
It was just a great experience – I played just well enough to hang on,” said the 51-year-old Boland, who captured his first title after runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2008. “It was just a wonderful day.”
A member of Gannon for 30 years, Boland entered match (head-to-head) play as the No. 3 seed. Boland defeated Brian Cote and two-time defending champion Mike Cole in down-to-the-wire matches to earn a berth in the final against the 28-year-old Friedman, a former three-time NEC All-Star at Saugus High School who started his golfing career in the junior program at Gannon.
“I look up to the guys that have won the tournament in the past like Mike Cole and Bobby Small and Tortellini and Gilchrist and all those guys,” said Boland, who works in the shoe business. “I’ll be really proud to see my name up there with them.”
Friedman, who finished third in last year’s tournament, earned the No. 8 spot in match play after surviving a three-way playoff. He knocked off No. 1 seed John Lynch Jr. and Brian Small to reach the finals.
“Ben beat the No. 1 seed so I knew right away he was going to be tough to beat,” said Boland, a graduate of Lynn English where he played on some championship Bulldog hockey teams. “I’ve played golf with him in the past so I know he’s a grinder and a very good player. He played phenomenally in the tournament.”
Friedman said he and Boland were partners in the State Fourball Tournament.
“John’s one of my best friends at the club, so it was fun to play him in the final,” said Friedman, husband of 13-time women’s champion Tara Johnson Friedman.
Friedman said the turning point in the final match came on the back nine of the first round. “I lost five holes in a row and that put me 5-down really quick,” said Friedman. “Johnny’s too good of a player to give a 5-up lead to and expect to come back. I spotted him too many holes there. But I made him work and I’m proud of myself for at least pushing him on the second 18 holes, but it was definitely Johnny’s day. He outplayed me and he’s a man of class. I couldn’t be happier for him.”