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massachusetts open

Matt Parziale tied for lead at Mass. Open

WESTON — The father and son, like many, play catch when the sun is out and the grass is green.

After Brockton’s Matt Parziale — in a dark blue polo, khaki shorts, white golf shoes, and hat — hit a drive on the 17th hole during Wednesday’s second round of the 105th Massachusetts Open at Weston Golf Club, he tossed his driver to his father and caddy, Vic Parziale.

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Vic — a Brockton Fire Department captain wearing a light blue polo, khakis, and white hat — caught the club and slipped it back into its place in the bag that he’d been hauling for 34 holes since Tuesday.

Later, after Matt’s second shot on 18, the son bent down, grabbed the divot, and tossed it underhand to his father. Vic caught it, kneeling, and replaced it, patting the soil to ensure it stuck.

Vic, 54, who’s been caddying for his son since Matt was 15, watched as Matt shot a first-round 70 and second-round 67 (with two eagles) to enter Thursday’s final round at 7-under-par 137 and tied for the tournament lead. Also at 137 are Colin Brennan (69), Eric Dugas (70), and Tim Ailes (65).

“He’s been doing it forever,” Matt, 27, said after the round. “He’s been doing it ever since I’ve been playing this stuff, so it’s no different. It’s fun, though.”

“It’s great,” Vic said. “Good bonding time.”

Their bond, fostered by golf, could grow stronger: In March, Matt — who returned to amateur golf in 2013 after three years as a professional — graduated the Brockton Fire Department training program and in three months will be permanently assigned to a post. The son joined his father.

“He just saw the lifestyle that we had as a family,” said Vic, a 29-year veteran of the department who will retire in three years. “I could spend a lot of time with him.”

Matt started drill school — five days a week of morning class instruction and afternoon physical drills — in January.

“I wasn’t the best in the class, but I wasn’t the worst,” he said, laughing. “It’s a lot of crossfit stuff — ropes, bundles. It was pretty intense at the beginning. I didn’t think I was gonna make it.”

He did, and his dad helped guide him through training.

“I just told him just to listen and to learn the right way, be respectful of everyone,” Vic said.

Since graduation, Matt said he has been on probation but still travels on the truck with the crew. The father and son likely won’t work together, and they’re fine with that.

“They usually keep them separate, which is OK,” Vic said, smiling.

On the course they’re together.

Vic will hand his son binoculars before drives, wipe off clubs before putting them back into the bag, walk beside Matt down fairways to the next shot. Everything except give him golf advice.

“He doesn’t really say much,” Matt said.

“I only say things when he asks me,” Vic said.

Vic wanted to act like a father on the 14th, when Matt took a chance that paid off.

“He had one shot today that I would not have tried,” Vic said, smiling again. “From 190 yards out, under the trees. Par 5. He was in the woods — he had an opening between these two trees. He knew I was trying to say something, but I didn’t. He hit a great shot.”

Matt birdied the hole.

When he’s not caddying for his son, Vic will play with him, once every couple of weeks. He joined Matt’s club, Thorny Lea, six years ago.

“He plays with his guys,” Vic said. “I play with my guys.”

Three holes after he restrained from advising his son, before Matt’s drive on 17, Vic leaned down and picked up several strands of grass.

He turned to Matt, lifted the thin green strings, and released them to test the wind’s direction.

They couldn’t catch them, so the father and son watched as the breeze carried them away.

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