- Golfer Benefits
CONCORD, Massachusetts – Wellesley teen John Broderick (Dedham C&PC) had just over five hours to think about a 3-foot par putt on the 8th hole during the final round of the 91st New England Amateur on Thursday at Concord Country Club.
Due to an extensive weather delay, the final round had been reduced to just 18 holes, meaning he needed to make par on the remaining holes to force a playoff with Nick Maccario (Bradford CC), the runner-up in the Mass Amateur the week prior.
Broderick, just 16 years old, didn’t let the pressure faze him. Instead, he sank his first putt, then pumped his left fist as he made another par on the 9th hole to force a playoff. After a tie on the first playoff hole (13th), Broderick won the 14th with a 5-foot birdie putt to become the 37th Massachusetts player to win the New England Amateur. He also joins Xavier Marcoux (2019) and James Turner (2016) as recent players who won the event as teenagers.
“It was unbelievable and crazy,” said Broderick, a junior at Belmont Hill School.
“It really shows that I’m at that level now. I really improved so much in the last year. At the start of the year, I wasn’t really playing my best. I played the GolfWeek Junior Open last week and I really found something in my swing. Coming into this tournament, I felt really great. It really shows I can play with these guys and I can beat these guys.”
Broderick shot 2-over the first day but surged to the top of the leaderboard with a 5-under 65 in the second round.
After two rounds of 18-hole stroke play, the top 40 players and ties (46 total players) advanced to the final round, which was set to be 36 holes. The beaming sun made for a steamy morning round, with Broderick teeing off on 10th tee in the final twosome.
After Broderick made birdie on the 7th to pull even with Maccario at 4-under total, he was walking up the 8th hole (his 17th of the day) when thunder began to rumble. He hit his attempt for birdie just shy of the hole before the horn sounded for dangerous conditions at 12:40 p.m. Due to the extensive delay, the final round was called off, with the winner being decided based on the completion of the third round. Still, some of Broderick’s fellow young competitors stuck around to cheer for him.
“I didn’t expect to be in there for five hours,” Broderick said. “The five-hour wait was pretty tense because the 9th hole is a tough hole. It was tense but I was really happy I had all my friends here. I just kind of stayed loose. That was big.”
Maccario also shot 2-over in the first round but put together back-to-back 67s to put himself atop the leaderboard. He sank a long 40-foot downhill breaking putt on the fifth to move to 5-under, but he overshot the 8th green and three-putted for bogey to move back to four-under. After finishing the 9th hole just in time, he then sat around, anxiously awaiting to see if he’d have to compete in a sudden-death playoff.
“I was more nervous watching John finish than playing,” Maccario said. “The competition has been so great the last two weeks so it’s easy to get pumped up.”
Maccario teed off first on the 13th hole, which is elevated over the parking lot, and blasted his tee shot down the middle. Broderick found the left rough, and his approach struck the green but just barely rolled off the front. Maccario landed on but didn’t get any spin from the rain-soaked greens.
Maccario rolled his downhill putt just past the hole, but Broderick rolled his short left. Still, he was able to save par, as was Maccario.
On the 14th, Broderick had a clean look at the green from 132 yards out and got some wise advice to set up his winning putt.
“I actually had the exact same number earlier, and I hit a soft pitching wedge and I hit it past the hole for a tough two-putt,” Broderick said. “My caddie was like, ‘Just try to hit a bomb gap wedge,’ and I just a bomb gap wedge to 5-to-6 feet.”
Maccario also had a birdie putt inside 10 feet, but it just rolled past the right side by mere inches. Then he could only watch as Broderick made his putt, sending Maccario to a second runner-up finish in six days.
“The fields are super deep, and these guys are so good,” Maccario said. “John’s 16 years old. That’s outrageous, I was not doing this at 16, so credit to him. He made birdie to win so credit to him for doing that.”
Before Broderick was picked up the Harry B. McCracken, Jr. trophy for the first time, New England Golf Association officials offered a few minutes to reflect on McCracken, a longtime executive, volunteer and representative in New England and Mass Golf communities. McCracken died last October at age 94, as Thursday marked the first time the event was held since his passing.
Peter McCracken, Harry’s son, was on hand to say a few words about his father at the ceremony.
“It’s huge shoes to fill, so I’m never going to try,” Peter McCracken said. “He loved golf. He loved the sport, being involved with all the officials and everything. That kept him going for a long time.”
“We miss him today, we miss him every day, and we’re proud his name is on this trophy,” added Greg Howell, Manager of NEGA Operations & USGA Qualifying.
Broderick isn’t one to hold up play. When he hit his tee shot on the 9th hole following the delay, he marched up the fairway in excitement before the ball even landed on the back of the green.
Throughout the championship, Broderick rarely took much of a full practice swing, often stepping right up and making his swing.
“I really can’t stand over it for too long,” Broderick said. “If I’m over it for too long, I have to step away. Less thinking actually works way better for me as I feel loose and free and just hit better shots.”
John Broderick is 16-years-old, and needed par on his final hole of the tournament to force a playoff for the New England Amateur Championship.
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) July 24, 2020
Mass Golf members made up 89 of the 144 competitors in the competitive field. In the end, six of the top 10 spots in the New England Amateur belonged to Bay Staters, including Maccario and Broderick. Christian Emmerich (Kernwood CC), a rising sophomore at Holy Cross, finished fourth after finishing 1-over in his final round and for the tournament. Mike Calef (Pine Oaks GC) and Tim Umphrey (Tatnuck GC) both finished T6 at 3-over, while Northwestern rising sophomore James Imai (George Wright GC) placed T9 at 4-over.
Before the long delay, Mike Calef (Pine Oaks GC) put together one of his best rounds of the year, a 4-under 66, leading all players Thursday. After shooting 7-over through two days, he was certain he wouldn’t make the cut.
Alas, he did and saved his best stuff for the end, moving from T46 to T6 by finishing with eight birdies. In Round 3, he was the only player to make birdie on the 16th, which featured a particularly difficult pin placement.
“My goal today was just to go out, have some fun and try to work on some golf stuff,” said Calef, a two-time Mass Amateur champion. “I hit some good putts, so it was really a lot of luck and some skill.”
After going even on the front nine, Calef caught fire with birdies the 10th and 11th, another on the 14th and two more on the 16th and 17th. On the 16th, he was 150 yards out from the fairway but didn’t have a great look at the pin sitting just above a greenside bunker. Still, he went for it and stuck the shot to five feet.
“Today I had no reason to be defensive,” Calef said. “A lot of putts that I probably would have lagged up close yesterday or the day before, I could give a little more of a free run.”
A handful of Mass Golfers in the New England Amateur will also compete in the Ouimet Memorial Tournament next Wednesday to Friday, starting at Framingham Country Club and, as always, ending at Woodland Golf Club.
Concord Country Club will be back in the spotlight in a couple of years when the club hosts the 114th Massachusetts Amateur in 2022. The club hosted the event in 1995 and 2007.
“I love the golf course,” Calef said. “We’re really lucky to play this place.”
The 92nd New England Amateur will take place in Connecticut. The site is to be determined.
For more coverage of the New England Amateur, visit negagolf.org.