Boylston's Frank Vana Jr. is 36 holes away from his third state amateur golf championship. Wellesley's Burgess Houston has his eye on his first crown after his runner-up finish a year ago.
On Friday morning at 8, the two noted amateurs from the western suburbs will square off in the Massachusetts Golf Association's 36-hole final at Concord Country Club.
Vana, the MGA's eight-time player of the year from Marlborough Country Club, advanced with a 5 & 4 win over Joe Keller of Oyster Harbors on Thursday afternoon. Houston, who plays out of Maplegate Country Club in Franklin, was masterful with the putter en route to a 6 & 5 win over Dan Ladd of Weston Golf Club.
Following a grueling match against John McNeill (Stow - B.A.G.S.) in the morning, Vana responded well by making three birdies and only one bogey to jump out to a 3 Up lead through nine holes. Despite a bogey on the 396-yard, par 4 11th hole, Vana sealed the victory by making two straight birdies – on the 12th and 13th holes – and a par on the 14th hole. Vana was 3-under par through the 14 holes, and on the day he registered 11 birdies in two matches.
Houston registered 10 birdies including five against Ladd. He broke the match open on the 8th and 9th holes by making two long birdie putts.
-- Craig Larson
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