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MARION, Massachusetts – Clear skies and a steady breeze made for a picturesque setting for the third day of the 112th Massachusetts Amateur Championship. There was over 12 hours of competition, starting with a resumption of stroke play at 7:45 a.m. at both The Kittansett Club and The Bay Club at Mattapoisett. Stroke play concluded just after 9 a.m. with exactly 32 players making the cutline at 4-over to advance into the match play bracket.
The match play contestants then gathered at The Kittansett Club as 24 matches were played to cut the field down to eight players for Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Among the results, 2019 Mass Mid-Amateur champion Nick Maccario knocked off defending champion Steven DiLisio in the Round of 16. Stroke play co-medalists Chris Francoeur, the Division I New England Golfer of the Year, and Matt Parziale, the 2017 Mass Amateur champion also advanced.
Overall four players, Rob Owen, Matthew Organisak, Weston Jones and Andrew McInerney are in the quarterfinals for the first time.
Here are Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups.
8:00 a.m. – Chris Francoeur (Amesbury G&CC) vs. Rob Owen (The Country Club)
8:10 a.m. – Matthew Organisak (Nashawtuc CC) vs. Andrew McInerney (Charter Oak CC)
8:20 a.m. – Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) vs. Weston Jones (Charter Oak CC)
8:30 a.m. – Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) vs. Ben Spitz (George Wright GC)
Schedule of Play
Here’s how the match play bracket stands after Wednesday. To view the live scoring, CLICK HERE
Stroke play co-medalist Chris Francoeur played himself back into the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, taking a 3-up lead through the front nine with an exclusively par effort.
He took two more holes with a pair of birdies on the 12th and 13th, and though DiRamio climbed back by winning the next two holes, Francoeur closed it out with a sixth birdie on the par-4 16th.
Francoeur, a rising senior at the University of Rhode Island, faces a tough test Thursday as he’ll face Rob Owen, a member at both The Country Club and The Kittansett Club.
“It doesn’t really matter who I play,” Francoeur said. “I’m just going to take the same gameplan and try to play my best golf.”
Rob Owen, a former Princeton University golf and lacrosse, defeated Xavier Marcoux, a Rutgers University rising sophomore and 2019 New England Amateur champion.
Owen took a 4-up lead through seven, and his three birdies were enough to keep Marcoux from crawling back into the match.
Though Owen may be facing the No. 1 seed, he has the home course advantage, joining The Kittansett Club after graduating college. What’s more, after not being able to get in last year on his home course, he’s even more motivated this year to play well.
“It’s been really exciting,” said Owen, who grew up in Westwood. “I played here all my life so you know hopefully, the wind blows again, and with the wind, I feel like I know my way around here pretty well.”
After staring down a two-hole deficit after two, Matthew Organisak went to work and earned himself a quarterfinalist spot for the first time. The 2019 Ouimet Memorial Champion and former Division III standout at Emory rattled off wins on five of the next six to take a 3-up advantage after eight holes.
After trading wins on the 9th and 10th, Tibbetts turned it up, as he won two straight on holes 12 and 13 to pull back within one. After losing hole 15 to Organisak, Tibbetts would again hit back with a gutsy win on the 16th. However, Organisak was able to make a birdie setup by a stellar wedge into the 17th green, to take the victory.
It was a roller-coaster ride in this quarterfinalist match, but the University of Richmond rising senior won the first three holes and held off the rising sophomore at D-III York College and earned his first spot in the quarterfinals.
“It’s definitely a different stage,” McInerney said. “Making it all the way to the final eight is a huge accomplishment. “When you get off to a hot start like that, it was definitely a good confidence booster.”
McInerney won the first three holes with all pars, and each side won two more holes each on the remaining six of the front nine.
After he took 10 and 11 to move to 5-up, Rohlfs fought back to win 12, 13 and 15, including a birdie on 13. However, McInerney held on with two pars on 16 and 17 to end the match. He hit a 56-degree wedge to about a foot from 135 yards out for an easy tap-in on the 17th.
“I was a little downwind and hopped right up there and stopped on a dime, which was good.
He’ll now play Matthew Organisak, who he’s seen in past junior events, but it’ll be the first time they go head-to-head in match play.
“I can’t wait to see Organisak in the morning,” McInerney said. “He’s a good friend and I’m sure we’ll have a good and competitive match.
Weston Jones continued his hot play, cruising to the quarterfinals in his Round of 16 match against Brett Krekorian.
It was wire-to-wire for the high school and junior golf standout as well, as he went 1 up on the par-4 first hole and never looked back. He would win four of the last five holes played in this one to close out Krekorian and punch his ticket to Thursday.
Jones, who led Lincoln-Sudbury to an MIAA Div. 1 state title in the fall, lost to eventual champion Steven DiLisio in the Round of 16 last year, and this year and is into the quarterfinals for the first time.
Just like his finals match in 2008, Matt Parziale squared off with a fellow Thorny Lea GC, only this time it was Christopher Tarallo.
“Chris is another great friend of mine, we’ve known each other since high school,” Parziale said.
Parziale took control of this match early, winning three of the first six to take a 3 up advantage. The 2017 Mass Amateur Champion would increase his advantage to five with wins on holes 10 and 12, before birdie by both competitors on the par-5 15th would close out the match.
Though Tarallo tied Parziale on nine of 15 holes, Parziale took a 3 up lead through nine via three bogeys by Tarallo. A key birdie on the par-4 12th was enough to send Parziale to the quarterfinals for the third time in four years.
“It’s been no complaints here, other than a few loose shots this morning,” he said. “You just have to keep moving forward.”
In a match that didn’t see a tie until the sixth hole, 2006 Mass Amateur champion Benjamin Spitz was able to outlast three-time Junior Amateur champion James Imai to make the quarterfinals. After winning the first two holes, Spitz would drop the next two to Imai to bring us back to all square.
A win on the fifth hole gave Spitz the lead right back, which he wouldn’t give up the rest of the round. A bogey on 11 brought Imai back into it at only one back, but Spitz would immediately reclaim the 2 Up advantage after a par on 12.
Nick Maccario was simply unstoppable with his putter in the afternoon, riding seven birdies to victory and knocking off defending champion Steven DiLisio.
“I’ve known Steve for quite some time so anytime you can beat him in the Mass Am or otherwise is great,” Maccario said.
Maccario, the 2019 Mass Mid-Amateur champion, took it right to DiLisio, who had just concluded a grueling 21-hole Round of 32 match with No. 3 seed Ricky Stimets. Maccario won the first four holes, including the second when he holed out from the greenside bunker for a birdie and followed up with birdies on the next two holes.
DiLisio won his lone hole on the sixth, but Maccario won seven and nine and clinched the match with his seventh birdie on the 13th. After chipping on, he nailed the 15-foot uphill putt to put himself into the quarterfinals.
Maccario said the greens quickened a bit in the second half, and he used the extra time waiting for his next match to prepare.
“I hit a few putts to get the speed down,” Maccario said. “It definitely quickened up a little bit.”
DiLisio had to really scrap to get to this stage. After shooting a 5-over 76 on Monday, DiLisio played 15 holes Tuesday and managed a birdie to move to 5-over before play was suspended. Despite starting Wednesday with a bogey, he birdied his final two holes, hitting a long 40-foot putt on the 17th to sneak into match play at 4-over.
“I scraped it around,” DiLisio said. “I came back out here with the attitude of I’m even par for the round. I was just trying to finish off a solid round yesterday.”
FLYOVER FEATURING GIL HANSE
Gil Hanse, whose original designs locally include Boston Golf Club and Vineyard Golf Club, has played a part in the restoration of The Kittansett Club. Hear him talk about some of the signature holes on the course.
BACK ON THE BAG
With the start of match play Wednesday, caddies are now allowed for players who are still competing. Friends, parents and siblings, many of whom couldn’t watch on sight due to the no spectator rule, were present at Kittansett and got their first live look at this week’s action.
Vic Parziale, Matt Parziale’s father, said he was glad to be back on the course to watch instead of keeping track of the event from a distance for the first two days. Like many other parents, “I just kept refreshing the computer,” Vic said.
Vic was on the bag when Matt was a finalist in the 2008 Championship at Kittansett. John Hadges, who not only was a fellow Thorny Lea member but Vic’s high school classmate, edged Matt on the final hole that year.
“I might’ve miss-clubbed him on the last hole,” Vic said with a laugh.
But Vic has been on the bag for Matt’s biggest events such as the 2018 Masters and the last two U.S. Opens.
“I don’t say a lot unless he asks me,” Vic said. “We get along fine. I know what he wants from me. I know all his habits, so it’s just great to be out here with him.
Nick Maccario, who also advanced to the quarterfinals, had his close family friend Mackenzie Murphy on the bag. Murphy’s family owns Maccario’s home club of Bradford CC in Haverhill.
“He’s like a brother to me,” Murphy said.
As for being able to watch the action at Kittansett, “It was absolutely unreal. Seven birdies in the afternoon is crazy.”
While most players chose somebody close to them, Rob Owen chose another Owen — Owen Sughrue, a fellow member at Kittansett and a Ouimet Scholar.
“I’ve played so many rounds here in the past, but he helped me out with some putts,” Rob Owen said. “He’s a nice guy.”
Also on the bag Wednesday was Fran Quinn, the PGA TOUR Champions pro who is currently out for the season with a fracture in his right shoulder socket. The injury enabled him to caddy for his son Owen Quinn, who ended up falling in the round of 32 to Benjamin Spitz (George Wright GC). Quinn, 54, withdrew from the Senior Players Championship this week and the British Senior Open, set to begin July 25. He told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that he’s exploring options for his injury, but surgery is likely.
FROM NO. 32 TO CO-MEDALIST
Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) gave himself a much easier path to make match play during this year’s Mass Amateur. At The Country Club last year, Parziale nabbed the No. 32 spot in a playoff and actually advanced past 2019 medalist Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC), his U.S. Four-Ball qualifying partner.
This year, Parziale was the only person to shoot under par in both stroke play rounds and went full circle by splitting the Harry B. McCracken Medalist honors with University of Rhode Island senior Chris Francoeur (Amesbury G&CC). Both players finished 3-under 139, making it the second time in three years medalist honors were split.
“I feel like over the last five, six years, I’ve made it tough down the stretch in the stroke-play portion,” Parziale said. “This was nice to be able to play and not worry about what the cutline was.”
Parziale started Monday with a 70 at The Kittansett Club. He was 1-under through 16 at The Bay Club when play was suspended Tuesday due to darkness. He finished 17 and 18 on Wednesday morning with a pair of two-putts for par to lock up the No. 2 seed. It’s the highest seed he’s earned in the Championship Proper since 2017 when he was seeded third and won the championship at Charles River CC.
Francoeur, who led after the first round last year, finished his second round Tuesday, going 68-71–139 over three days. Parziale is 1-under for his round with two holes to play. Francoeur made a huge eagle on the 15th to pull ahead by a stroke. After a birdie on 17, he gave it back with a double bogey on 18. Still, he left himself enough room to hold on to the No. 1 seed.
“It feels good to be co-medalist,” Francoeur said. “It wasn’t necessarily my goal coming into this week. It was definitely a bonus.”
Medalist History (Since 2015)
|2020||Chris Francoeur/Matt Parziale||-3||The Kittansett Club/The Bay Club|
|2019||Herbie Aikens||-7||The Country Club|
|2018||Andrew O’Leary/Jackson Lang||-4||George Wright GC/William J Devine GC|
|2017||Steven DiLisio||-3||Charles River Country Club|
|2016||Peter French/Jake Shuman||-3||Taconic GC|
|2015||Nick McLaughlin||-7||Oak Hill CC|
Parziale and Francoeur will both attempt to become only the third competitor since 1999 to win the Amateur Championship as the No. 1 seed. Nick McLaughlin was the last medalist to win the championship as the No. 1 seed, doing so in 2015 at Oak Hill CC. Prior to that, John Hadges captured the 2008 Amateur title at The Kittansett Club as the No. 1 seed.
When the 2017 Mass Amateur came to Charles River Country Club, the Championship Stroke Play Medalist Award was named in honor of Harry B. McCracken, a longtime fixture at Mass Golf, the New England Golf Association and USGA events since 1969 when he first became a part of the Mass Golf Executive Committee.
Harry is tremendously missed by many this year, as it’s the first Mass Amateur held since he passed away in October 2019.
“This is always a special week of the year, but to celebrate the stroke play medalists around what would have been Harry’s 95th birthday just makes it that much more special for this event,” said Jesse Menachem, Mass Golf’s Executive Director/CEO. “His legacy and what he’s done for golf lives on through honors such as this. Our two stroke play medalists will represent him extremely well. They knew Harry personally and professionally, and just really an honor to be able to give these awards out in his name.”
All 32 match play competitors earned an exemption into the 2021 Massachusetts Amateur Championship at Brae Burn CC via category No. 2 (To view all 10 exemption categories, CLICK HERE). Player of the Year points are also awarded through qualifying.
Match 1: 1-Chris Francouer (Amesbury G&CC) def. 32-Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C&PC), 19 Holes
Francoeur rallied down the stretch, winning three of the last five holes, including a birdie on the Par-4 17th to even the match going into 18. After both competitors made birdie on the short Par-5 18th, Francoeur was able to win with par on the 1st playoff hole.
Match 2: 16-Andrew DiRamio (North Hill CC) def. 17-Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill CC), 4&3
After going two down through two holes, DiRamio would even the match with a pair of wins on the third and fourth. He would also take wins on holes 8-12 and 14 to win going away.
Match 3: 8-Rob Owen (The Country Club) def. 25-Anthony Vecchiarelli (Springfield CC), 2 Up
Owen started hot, winning holes two through seven to take a 5 Up lead over Vecchiarelli. However, Vecchiarelli would hang around with wins on holes 11, 13, 14, and 17 to bring his deficit to one going into 18. The hole would prove too great to overcome, with Owen making a decisive eagle on the 18th.
Match 4: 9-Xavier Marcoux (Nashawtuc CC) def. 24-Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood CC), 2&1
Marcoux was down one going into the 12th hole, and would do work from there. The Rutgers standout won four of the last six holes, including a birdie on the 17th to move into the Round of 16.
Match 5: 4-Matthew Organisak (Nashawtuc CC) def. 29-Christopher Bornhorst (Brae Burn CC), 3&1
In the battle of Division Three Alumni, it was Emory who would defeat Babson as Matthew Organisak came back from an early two-hole deficit. Organisak would win on holes 8,9,12, 13 and 17 without losing another to put his match away.
Match 6: 20-Kyle Tibbets (Framingham CC) def. 13-Nick McLaughlin (Far Corner GC), 1 Up
After trading blows back and forth on the front nine, Kyle Tibbetts found himself one down with seven holes remaining. Wins on 14 and 16 would allow him to cruise through the first match with a tight 1 Up win.
Match 7: 28-Andrew McInerney (Charter Oak CC) def. 5-Jeremy Meade (Nashawtuc CC), 4&2
In the first big upset of the Championship, 28 seed McInerney would control the match from the word go. After going three holes up through nine, wins on 10 and 16 allowed McInerney to move on in match play.
Match 8: 21-Riley Rohlfs (Nabnasset Lake CC) def. 12-Charlie Dubiel (Old Sandwich GC) , 1 Up
After sitting at two down through four, Rohlfs would flip the match on its head, winning five of the next six holes to go up three. Dubiel would make a late push with wins on holes 12 and 15 to cut his deficit to one but was unable to force extra holes on 18.
Match 9: 2-Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) def. 31-Tommy Parker (George Wright GC), 1 Up
This match would be back and forth all day, with Parziale jumping to a big lead early with wins on 5-7. Parker would respond by winning eight and nine to be only one down into the turn. Wins on 13-15 would net Parker a 1 Up advantage, but Parziale would come roaring back with wins on 16 and 17 to take the 1 Up victory.
Match 10: 15-Christopher Tarallo (Thorny Lea GC) def. 18-Arthur Zelmati (Cranberry Valley), 19 Holes
The second playoff of the day also only needed one hole to finish the job, with Tarallo making par to win the match. Zelmati did make a great run to force the playoff, facing a dormie with three left he would finish par-birdie-birdie to even the match.
Match 11: 7-Weston Jones (Charter Oak CC) def. 26-Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC), 2&1
Another back and forth affair, this match saw Alex Jamieson go down two in the first two holes. From there Jamieson would even the match up on three separate occasions, but a birdie on 15 and par on 16 would allow Jones to regain his 2 Up advantage. Both players halved the 17th, allowingJones to move into the Round of 16.
Match 12: 23-Brett Krekorian (Indian Ridge CC) def. 10-Jason Temel (Charles River CC), 4&3
This match was all square through eight holes, but Krekorian would turn up the heat from there, winning holes 9, 11, 12, 14 and 15 to take a decisive victory in his Round of 32 match.
Match 13: 30-Steven DiLisio (Salem CC) def. 3-Ricky Stimets (Barnstable Golf), 21 Holes
The third playoff of the day just didn’t want to go away, as the reigning Massachusetts Amateur Champion was able to close out Ricky Stimets on Kittansett’s signature hole, the Par-3 3rd, with an up and down out of the sand for the win.
Match 14: 14-Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) def. 19-Jack Tegan (TPC Boston), 4&2
The reigning Mass Mid-Amateur Champion would race out to a hot start and never look back. Maccario would win four of the first nine holes, and never look back as wins on holes 12 and 16 allowed him to close out this one.
Match 15: 6-James Imai (George Wright GC) def. 27-Jack Tobin (Marlborough CC), 3&2
These two were familiar with each other in match play events, as this was an old matchup fro the 2018 Massachusetts Junior Amateur. It would be the 2019 Junior Champion James Imai controlling this one, as he never trailed after going 3 Up through the first five holes.
Match 16: 11-Benjamin Spitz (George Wright GC) def. 22-Owen Quinn (Wachusett CC), 6&4
After losing on hole two to even up the match, Benjamin Spitz wouldn’t lose another hole the rest of the day. Wins on 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, and then 14 closed the door on this one and allowed Spitz to move on.
FIRST TEE, FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE
The First Tee of Massachusetts once again lent a hand for the operations portion of the Mass Amateur. The First Tee, a youth development organization that introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to young people, is partnered with Mass Golf and in past years has brought its youth members to Championship events to experience live competition.
During Wednesday’s Round of 32, Kyle Harris, Director of Operations for TFTMA, and First Tee member David Jope, 13 of Freetown, had their eyes in the sky. They were tracking all 32 tee shots the signature par-3, 155-yard third hole located on a peninsula green that is completely encircled in sand and tagging where each shot came to rest and the subsequent score.
“It’s just such a great thing for us to be able to have these opportunities again to expose our kids to championship environments and to have the opportunity to be around such high-level golf,” said Kyle Harris, Director of Operations for TFTMA. “The relationship that we have again as part of Mass Golf, and the ability to do things like this is just a great advantage for our program.”
Jope was also impressed by the competition of match play, watching the end of the Chris Francoeur and Patrick Frodigh match.
“The differences in the players was not a lot,” Jope said.
Through after-school and in-school programs, the organizations help shapes the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf.
To learn more about The First Tee programming, CLICK HERE
All-Decade Team: On Wednesday, The Boston Herald released its All-Decade Boys Golf Team, selecting 46 of the best high school golf players to compete for a Massachusetts high school. On that list were 21 players who competed in this year’s Mass Amateur, and nine of them made it to match play: Steven DiLisio, Chris Francoeur, Patrick Frodigh, James Imai, Alex Jamieson, Weston Jones, Andrew McInerney, Nick McLaughlin and Matthew Organisak.
Other Mass Amateur players on the list were: Jack Boulger, Will Campbell, Nick Cummings, Nick Drago, Christian Emmerich, Max Ferrari, Joshua Lavallee, Joseph Lenane, Matt Montt, Trevor Lopez, Jack O’Donnell and Colin Spencer.
To see the full article, CLICK HERE
Back In The Bracket: Out of 32 match play qualifiers this year, 10 of them also made it to match play last year. Matt Parziale, Steve DiLisio, Chris Francoeur, Nick McLaughlin and Brett Krikorian, all of whom made the quarterfinals, got in last year alongside Charlie Dubiel, Nick Maccario, Weston Jones, Ben Spitz and Matthew Organisak.
Club Count: George Wright Golf Course in Boston and Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord each had three players make it to match play, more than any other club represented. James Imai, Benjamin Spitz and Tommy Parker represent George Wright, while Matthew Organisak, Jeremy Meade and Xavier Marcoux and belong to Nashawtuc.
Looking Forward To Next Year: Recent Babson College graduate Chris Bornhorst said he’ll back at the Mass Amateur next year when it comes to his home course of Brae Burn CC. However, it’ll be a much longer trip as he’s moving out to Boulder, Colorado, to attend the University of Colorado. He’ll make the move with some Babson teammates including Lane Bohman (Old Sandwich GC), who competed in stroke play this week. Bornhorst qualified for match play
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Spectators have previously been allowed to attend the Massachusetts Amateur free of charge. However, due to the Massachusetts COVID-19 Guidelines for Outdoor Competitions & Tournaments, NO SPECTATORS will be permitted to attend the event this year.
ABOUT THE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
This year marks the 112th playing of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. The first Massachusetts Amateur, played in 1903 at Myopia Hunt Club, was conducted for a total of 54 golfers. The championship has been conducted every year except for 1917 and 1918 and 1942-45 due to WWI and WWII, respectively. It is the oldest of Mass Golf’s Championships. Only the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur (est. 1900) has been contested for longer.
Eligibility: Entries are open to amateur golfers who have an active Mass Golf/GHIN Handicap Index at any public, private, semi-private, municipal or non-real estate Mass Golf member course/club not exceeding 4.4 (as determined by the May 21, 2020 Handicap Revision), or who have completed their handicap certification.
Prizes: The Massachusetts Cup and a gold medal will be presented to the Champion. Merchandise certificates will be awarded to the 32 Match Play Qualifiers and are only redeemable at the host site.
Par and Yardage
Here is how The Kittansett Club was set up Wednesday.