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QUECHEE, Vermont – Massachusetts junior golfer Xavier Marcoux, of Concord, has spent this week’s 90th New England Golf Association’s Amateur Championship at Vermont’s The Quechee Club near the top of the leaderboard, having improved on his under-par round in each of the previous two days. In Thursday’s 36-hole finale, the 18-year old, who will compete for Rutgers University beginning this September, carded matching 3-under 69 rounds in both the morning and afternoon to capture the 2019 Championship title.
Marcoux fired a three-day, four-round 9-under 279 to edge Rhode Island’s Bobby Leopold, the 2017 NEGA Amateur champion, by one stroke and topped the rest of the 42 competitors who had advanced to Thursday’s final rounds en route to being crowned champion.
“It’s been a long time since my last win, so it definitely feels good to have my name on a trophy like that with such history here in New England Golf,” said Marcoux on capturing the Harry B. McCracken Trophy, named after the longtime NEGA Executive Secretary who was on site to award Marcoux the trophy.
After finishing the round, Marcoux had to wait for Leopold and two other groups to finish before his spot atop the leaderboard became finalized.
In Thursday morning’s round, Marcoux opened up play on the 10th tee of Quechee Club’s Highland Course by tallying birdies on three of his first five holes to quickly pace himself and move up from his T3 spot on the leaderboard where he started the day up into the top spot. Despite two bogeys on the par-4 15th hole and par-3 17th holes prior to making the turn to his second nine in the morning, he was able to record another two birdies on the par-4 third hole and par-5 fourth hole to move back to 3-under for the round and 6-under through three rounds.
In the afternoon round, Marcoux, a recent graduate of Florida’s Bishops Gate Golf Academy, registered three birdies on his front nine and erased a back nine bogey with a fourth birdie on the par-4 15th to keep his spot atop the leaderboard. Leopold, who had fired a 4-under 68 in his morning round Thursday, courtesy of an eagle and three birdies, bogeyed three of his final four holes Thursday afternoon to finish at 1-under 71 for the afternoon and at 8-under 280 for the tournament.
On what went right Thursday, Marcoux said, “This afternoon was pretty steady. I didn’t make a bogey until I got to the 12th hole and I kind of just told myself I could get one more.”
He added, “I felt like I minimized my mistakes really well. So when I was out of position, I was back in position right away.”
Coming off a medalist finish two weeks ago at the U.S. Amateur Championship qualifier at Andover Country Club (Mass.), where he had to play 36-holes to advance to his first USGA championship, Marcoux said the experience was key in his performance on the day. The previous two days of competition at the NEGA Amateur Championship were conducted at 18-holes.
“36 holes is definitely a very long day,” explained Marcoux. “I learned a lot in my U.S. Amateur qualifier a couple weeks ago. You have to focus on one shot at a time and you can’t be thinking about the end goal. You have to definitely keep plotting your way around the golf course.”
With his victory in the New England Amateur Championship Thursday, Marcoux becomes the first Massachusetts competitor to win the regional tournament since Gloucester’s James Turner earned the feat at Hartford (Conn.) Golf Club in 2016. Since the tournament’s inception in 1926, 36 players from Massachusetts have taken home the NEGA Amateur trophy.
In addition to Thursday’s victory in Vermont, Marcoux’s top career finishes include placing second at the 2018 AJGA Rome Junior Classic and third at the 2018 Liberty National Junior Invitational.
The New England Amateur Championship will next return to the Bay State next year when Concord Country Club hosts the 91st NEGA Amateur Championship from July 21-23, 2020.
For more information about the NEGA Amateur Championship, visit NEGAgolf.org or follow @NEGA_Golf on Twitter and Instagram.