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Wait Was Worth It As Caples Takes Senior City Golf Title

September 15, 2018
Wait Was Worth It As Caples Takes Senior City Golf Title

Tom Monahan of Vesper (Ieft) was the Super Senior (65-up) champion and Keith Caples of Long Meadow was the overall winner of the eighth annual Senior City Golf Tournament held Friday at Nabnasset Lake CC. SUN/BARRY SCANLON Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

WESTFORD -- The waiting is the hardest part.

Tom Petty released “The Waiting” in 1981. The late rocker’s words rang true for Keith Caples on Friday during the eighth annual Lowell Senior City Golf Tournament at Nabnasset Lake Country Club.

The 65-year-old Caples, a builder from Dracut, fired a 73 and was pleased when he turned in his card. Then he waited, waited and waited some more. A group came in. He was still leading. Another group came in. He was still on top. In all, more than 90 minutes -- it felt quite longer -- elapsed by the time the final foursome finished.

In the end, Caples captured his first Senior City title when defending champion George Popp, who knew he needed a birdie on No. 18 to force a playoff, saw his 50-foot putt stop about two feet short.

“I knew George Popp, Peter Harrison, Jackie Hassett were out there. Those guys are established, real good players. I was hoping for a playoff. I didn’t think 73 would hold up,” said Caples, a Long Meadow GC member. “I wasn’t expecting victory. I’m pretty proud of it, to tell you the truth.”

Caples rolled in birdie putts on No. 7, 9 and 13. Thinking about his round, he said he would only like to have one shot back, a poor swing on the fifth hole.

“I didn’t attack the course. I just hit in to the middle of fairways and two putted,” he said.

Caples has been a consistent player for years. But he admits he doesn’t have the name recognition of Popp, Harrison -- both Vesper CC members -- and Hassett, a Long Meadow member and two-time Senior City champ who shot a 77.

“I’ve been knocking on the door. But this year I kicked it in,” a smiling Caples said. “We all know who the good players are. I’m 65 years old. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play well.”

Popp finished a shot back with a 74. Playing the 18th hole in the tournament’s final group, he knew he needed a birdie to force a playoff with Caples.

“I can’t complain. I had my chances,” said Popp, who birdied No. 3 and 7, but was stymied on the back nine.

Popp tipped his cap to Caples, saying, “He’s got a good enough game to win and today he did.”

It’s been quite a 2018 for Harrison, who was looking to add another title to the Vesper club championship and senior club championship he won. Also, he earned medalist honors after the opening round of the Lowell City Men’s Golf Tournament.

After shooting a 36 over the first nine holes, however, Harrison couldn’t sink any putts and his 39 left him in third place with a 75.

“I knew I had to be around par,” he said. “But I also knew I had to make a few putts.”

All in all, though, Harrison enjoyed a memorable week -- he became a grandfather for the first time when Peyton Cole Pasley entered the world last Saturday.

“Yeah, it’s been a good year,” Harrison said.

Caples said one of the reasons he played so well was because he was pushed by one of his three playing partners, Vesper’s Tom Monahan, who won the Super Senior (65 and over) championship for the second straight year.

Monahan finished with a superb round of 76 to tie Long Meadow’s Keith Burgess for fourth place overall.

In the team competition, Long Meadow won the title by just two shots over Vesper, 796 to 798. Nabnasset was third (801), followed by Mt. Pleasant (838).

Of the 48 players, 17 fired a round in the 70′s, an impressive showing for guys all 55 or older.

“It’s golf. It’s a bunch of old guys having fun,” Caples said. “It’s great for the clubs.”

And there’s nothing wrong with winning a tournament. Even if you have to wait for it.

Follow Barry Scanlon@BarryScanlonSun

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