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MARION | MATTAPOISETT, Massachusetts – When the 112th Massachusetts Amateur Championship begins Monday, it’ll be a symbol of triumph and perseverance for Mass Golf and the state’s golf community at large.
The five days of competition will mark the first live statewide championship sporting event that will take place in the Bay State during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though several spring events and competitions have had to be rescheduled or canceled this year, the Mass Amateur is still taking place as scheduled. Hosting this historic event will be The Kittansett Club in Marion, with The Bay Club at Mattapoisett co-hosting stroke play for the first two days.
“We could not be more excited to have the ability to begin our championship season,” said Jesse Menachem, Mass Golf’s executive director/CEO. “For all the uncertainty that has come with this year, next week we’ll surely be a celebration of the fantastic golf talent we have across the Bay State. Both golf courses have done an excellent job preparing so that golfers compete to the best of their abilities and enjoy themselves.”
Both golf courses are located along on the south shore, along Buzzards Bay. The Kittansett Club, founded in 1922 and designed by legendary golf course architect William Flynn, is a seaside links course surrounded on three sides by water that is often transformed by a stiff wind. When Kittansett hosted the Walker Cup in 1953, Dick Chapman, a top U.S. amateur who won the 1940 U.S. Amateur and 1951 British Amateur, referred to Kittansett as, “The hardest golf course I ever played.” What’s more, when the Mass Amateur was last played at Kittansett in 2008, the cutline was 11-over. Gil Hanse has restored many of the original mounds and has had numerous trees removed to return the seaside views. The course has also been rated as one of Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses in America since 1971.
The Bay Club at Mattapoisett, located 10 miles west, was added in early June as a second site for stroke play, making it the second time in three years the Mass Amateur is being played at two different facilities. Founded in 2003, The Bay Club has a much shorter history, but it’s a scenic parkland course with 88% of the original forest preserved. Designed by PGA Professional Brad Faxon and designer Brad Booth, the course features pristine fairways and greens and British-style fescue that will swallow up poorly-executed shots.
Mass Golf’s competitive season officially began June 15, with three of the nine total qualifying rounds used to determine the 144-player Championship field. With first-tee starts only, half the field will start stroke play at The Kittansett Club, while the other half will compete at The Bay Club. They will switch the next day, and the top 32 will advance to match play.
Kittansett has hosted this event five times previously, first in 1958 and most recently in 2008. In the field are 12 previous champions, including defending champion Steve DiLisio (Salem CC), who recently finished his senior year at Duke University. John Hadges (Thorny Lea GC) last won this event when it was played at Kittansett and will have the chance to do so once again. Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC), the six-time Mass Golf Player of the Year, won the championship in 2017, while Mike Calef (Pine Oaks GC), the last person to win back-to-back (2012, 2013) is seeking a third title.
This year will also mark a record 34th Mass Amateur for Frank Vana Jr. (Marlborough CC), a Mass Golf Hall of Fame member who has won the championship twice (2004-05). He also holds the record with 26 match play appearances, last making it into the Round of 32 in 2017.
Steven Tasho (Thorny Lea) also won twice, taking home titles in 1981 and 1985. Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C & PC; 2018); Nick McLaughlin (Far Corner GC; 2015); Ryan Riley (Thorny Lea GC; 2011); Benjamin Spitz (George Wright GC; 2006); Brendan Hester (Pleasant Valley CC; 2001) round out the defending champions.
“We’ve been looking forward to watching the best amateur players in the state compete on the same stage with one another once again,” said Kevin Eldredge, Mass Golf’s Director of Rules & Competitions. “We have two great venues that will set the perfect stage for the return of championship golf in the Bay State. The staff at both The Kittansett Club and The Bay Club have done a wonderful job keeping their courses in pristine conditions and preparing their facilities to allow us to conduct a safe and enjoyable championship for all.”
While the eyes will certainly be on past champions, there is an abundance of talented golfers who are or have recently finished competing at the college level and are looking to hoist the Massachusetts Cup for the first time. Among them are Chris Francoeur (Amesbury G&CC), a rising senior at the University of Rhode Island who was recently named the New England Golfer of the Year. James Imai (George Wright GC), a three-time Mass Junior Amateur champion, just finished his first year at Northwestern. Owen Quinn (Wachusett CC), a grad student at Lehigh University, recently defended his Worcester County Amateur title and won the Mass Amateur Public Links last year. Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC) plays for Notre Dame, while Nick Cummings (Marlborough CC) competes Boston College, Jack Boulger (Walpole CC) is at UConn, Jack Tobin (Marlborough CC) competes for Siena College, and 2019 New England Amateur champion Xavier Marcoux attends Rutgers.
“Last year I didn’t make it, and I was pretty disappointed because it was a special year at The Country Club,” Tobin said. “This year, I’ll get to play two really nice courses that I otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to play.”
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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.
To help individuals follow along, Click Here to view Round 1 starting times. Round 2 starting times are available by using the drop-down menu at the top left.
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.
The individual (or individuals) who post the lowest cumulative score following the 36-hole stroke-play portion of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship will be awarded the Harry B. McCracken, Jr. – Stroke Play Medalist Award. McCracken, a longtime executive and volunteer in the New England golf community, died this past October at age 94.
Qualifying: Sectional qualifying, played over 18 holes, was conducted at nine sites across the state between June 15 to June 29. CLICK HERE for highlights from each qualifying site.
Championship Field: The starting field of 144 golfers will be cut after 36 holes to the low 32 scorers who will advance to Match Play on July 15. A tie for the final qualifying places shall be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff.
Stroke Play: Eighteen holes of stroke play are scheduled each day on Monday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 14 at The Kittansett Club and The Bay Club at Mattapoisett. A tie for the final qualifying places shall be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff at The Kittansett Club on July 15.
Match Play: All match play will take place at The Kittansett Club. A general numeric draw will be used. For purposes of determining places in the draw, ties in qualifying rounds shall be decided by the order in which scores are returned, except that places of those participating in a play-off shall be determined by performance in the play-off and if necessary, a blind draw.
Seeded 9th entering match play, Steven DiLisio squeaked by in his first match, 1-up, before cruising to much wider victories en route to the final match. There he met UConn graduate Jimmy Hervol, and DiLisio made birdie on eight of 34 holes to win the match, 3 & 2.
Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC) won medalist honors by shooting 7-under total through the stroke play portion. He earned the Harry B McCracken, Jr. Stroke Play Medalist Award.
The following competitors have been victorious at this event in the past and are a part of the 2020 Championship Proper.
The Kittansett Club will be set up at approximately 6,934 yards and will play to a par of 35-36–71. The Bay Club at Mattapoisett will be set up at approximately 7,008 yards and will play to a par of 35-36–71.
The Kittansett Club
The Bay Club at Mattapoisett
Most Common Name in the 2020 Field: Matthew/Matt (10)
Youngest Players In the 2020 Field: John Hiller (14) (The Bay Club)
Oldest Player In the 2020 Field: Robert Linn (66) (Berkshire Hills CC)
Number Of College Players: 26
Number Of Volunteers: 24
Total Number of Mass Golf Member Clubs Represented: 85
Most Represented Mass Golf Member Clubs: George Wright GC (8); Thorny Lea GC (6); Nashawtuc CC (5); Plymouth CC (5); Old Sandwich GC (5); Springfield CC (5); Marshfield CC (4); Brae Burn CC (3); Ferncroft CC (3); Granite Links GC (3); Marlborough CC (3); Oak Hill CC (3); Pleasant Valley CC (3).
Most Victories: 6 (Francis Ouimet (1913, 1914, 1915, 1919, 1922, 1925) & (Frederick J. Wright, Jr. – 1920, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1938)
Most Times as a Host Club: 11 (The Country Club)
Last Competitor to Win Consecutive Titles: Mike Calef (2012-13)
Youngest Players to Win: Ted Adams & James Driscoll (Adams – 1939; Driscoll – 1996… both were 18 years old)
Oldest Players to Win: Ed Fletcher (53 years old in 1995); Ted Bishop (48 years old in 1961)
Largest Age Differential Between Finalists: 39 years (1956 – Fred Wright (58) and Charles Volpone (19)).
Longest Final Match: 40 holes in 1993 (Flynt Lincoln def. Jason Kissell at Essex County Club
Shortest Final Match: 25 holes in 1922 (Francis Ouimet def. Clark Hodder, 12 and 11, at Kernwood Country Club)
Most Appearances in Championship Proper: 34 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1984-85; 1988-2017))
Most Consecutive Appearances in Match Play: 22 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1991-2012)
Most Appearances in Match Play: 26 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1985, 1988, 1991-2012; 2015; 2017))