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HYDE PARK, Massachusetts – The third day of the 110th Massachusetts Amateur Championship began at 8:00 a.m. at George Wright Golf Course. When the final putt was conceded at 6:52 p.m., the field of 32 had been reduced to just eight.
Over the course of those nearly 11 hours, a total of 24 matches were played to help determine Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups which will begin at 8:00 a.m. in Hyde Park.
The semifinal matches will be contested during the afternoon. The two finalists will then meet in a 36-hole final match on Friday morning to determine the champion.
Here are Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups.
8:00 a.m. – Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C&PC) vs. Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC)
8:10 a.m. – Chris Francoeur (Amesbury G&CC) vs. Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC)
8:20 a.m. – Andrew O’Leary (Pawtucket CC) vs. Sean Fitzpatrick (George Wright GC)
8:30 a.m. – Tommy Parker (Thorny Lea GC) vs Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC)
CLICK HERE to view the 2018 Massachusetts Amateur Championship match-play bracket, and see below for complete summaries from the round of 16 matches.
After taking the first hole of his Round of 16 match, Dedham’s Patrick Frodigh battled Lexington’s Jackson Lang for the first five holes and went into the sixth hole holding a 1-up advantage in the match.
On the par-4 sixth hole, Frodigh found trouble on the scorecard when he was forced to call a penalty on himself when his swing from the left rough, according to Frodigh, didn’t feel like a clean stroke.
He said, “On six, I was up in the left rough. I was a foot in the rough and it was really downhill right to the pin. The pin was tucked on the left side and I tried to blade my 56º and kind of Texas wedge it. I’m not sure if I double hit it, but it wasn’t struck like a one strike.”
After carding a double, due in part to a missed putt that would have halved the hole, Frodigh regained the lead when he sunk a 40 foot gem on the seventh hole.
“I played it two feet out to the left and it was kind of downhill the last six feet,” recalled Frodigh. “Me and my caddie Dan talked about just kind of dying it on that top slope and [instead], it just fed right in.”
Lang would bring the match back to all-square on the 10th hole, but Frodigh ultimately got the best of his competitor, making par on both the 13th and 14th holes to increase his lead back to two, then made a par-putt on the 17th hole to close out the match with a final score of 3&1.
With the victory Wednesday afternoon, Frodigh will return to the Massachusetts Amateur Championship quarterfinal round for the first time since 2015, when he fell to Nick McLaughlin in the Championship match contested at Oak Hill Country Club.
The defending champion has meticulously made his way through the first three days of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. He advanced into match play with a pair of even par rounds of 70 on Monday and Tuesday, and then he needed just 31 holes on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals.
“The first two rounds of stroke play I was a little rusty. I hadn’t played in about a week because I was moving,” said Matt Parziale. “The last nine holes of stroke play yesterday afternoon I started to feel pretty good and that carried into today so I am starting to hit it better.”
To date, Parziale has made 48 pars, 10 birdies and seven bogies. After building a 5-up lead over rising Duke University junior Steven DiLisio (Salem CC) in the round of 32 this morning, Parziale has played 3-under par golf with one bogey over his last 25 holes
That consistent play was critical especially during the afternoon hours on Tuesday when Parziale found himself in a 2017 finals rematch with Matt Cowgill (George Wright GC) in the round of 16. Parziale made one birdie and eight pars but held just a 1-up advantage at the turn.
He was able to increase his lead to 2-up after Cowgill suffered a three putt on the sloping 10th green. Cowgill did manage to pull within one on the 377-yard, par 4 13th hole when Parziale’s approach dropped short of the green after hitting a tree left of the green. He was unable to get up and down, but that would not be the case three holes. On that 343-yard, par 4 16th hole, Parziale sent his approach long and nearly up against the back stone wall. He was able to get up and down from off the green.
That par save delivered Parziale the victory after Cowgill failed to make his birdie putt the par-5 15th hole hole which he had to concede to Parziale’s birdie.
“I definitely tried to carry over the momentum and think about last year and build on that feeling,” said Cowgill, who aspires to turn pro after competing in the upcoming U.S. Amateur sectional qualifier and the Ouimet Memorial Tournament later this month. “I didn’t play that great today. Matt played great. He is always consistent, so you have to hit good shots to beat him. I missed a couple of putts that I wish I had back.”
Since stepping foot on the two City of Boston courses, Parziale has fielded questions about his summer playing in major events and the perceived edge he has here this week. However, Parziale is very straightforward in his assessment of the challenge that this unique event presents each year.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Parziale of his recent success which includes his victory at the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. “This game is so hard. This tournament is so hard to win. I have gotten beat so much here so I just love to be out here with the guys and compete and play a good round tomorrow.”
As one of nine competitors who advanced to Wednesday’s match play after competing in a playoff at the end of stroke play regulation, Amesbury’s Chris Francoeur said that he was happy to just advance see another day.
“The putt I made in the playoff yesterday was probably the biggest putt I made all week,” said Francoeur. “It was like an eight-foot, downhill slider and I made it to make match play then I grinded today to get two wins.”
Two matches and 34 holes later, Francoeur heads to the quarterfinal round after besting Colin Brennan (Indian Ridge CC) in the Round of 32 by a 4&2 final, then defeating Ben Balter, 1 up, in the Round of 16. This week was also Francoeur’s first Mass Golf Championship Proper of the season.
In the afternoon round, the University of Rhode Island freshman was all-square with Balter after 11 holes and following a Balter bogey on the 12th, Francoeur was able to take the lead for good. He birdied the par-4 13th hole to extend his lead to 2-up and added another helper on 16.
Despite a last minute effort to bring the match within one on 17, Francoeur parred 18 to finish the round at 1 up.
Following his victory, he said, “It just feels to play against the top guys in the state and know that I can compete with all of them.”
Alex Jamieson wasted no time during his match against Bill Drohen, as he jumped out to a 3-up lead through five holes, thanks to birdies made on Holes 3 & 4. Jamieson remained 3-up following the conclusion of the front 9. Despite a bogey on the 10th hole, Jamieson went on to secure a 4-up advantage over Drohen through 15 holes.
Jamieson commented on both his rounds today.
“I thought I played pretty well. I feel like I hit it the same both rounds. I don’t think I made a birdie in the morning round, but I made a lot more putts the second round. I like the course, how it’s set up it’s pretty firm right now. I’m hitting a lot of 2 irons, and I feel like I am taking advantage of the low-ball flight it produces and it is running out a lot and I’m trusting it a lot. I feel really excited heading into tomorrow.”
For Jamieson, advancing in the Mass Amateur is something he is looking forward to.
“It means a lot to me. This is a great tournament. This is our State Amateur, so it means a lot to everyone and I feel like a lot of people catch up on the results of it and follow it along a lot. So you can get a lot of recognition and everyone plays in it. You pretty much know every name in the field. It’s a lot of fun.”
In a battle of two Division I-bound golfers, two of the three remaining recent high school graduates in the Round of 16, Norfolk’s Andrew O’Leary came away with the win over friend Dillon Brown, 4&2.
“It was a good match. I started 1 up when I won the first hole, but then he made a nice birdie putt on 4 that got us back to even” said O’Leary. “I made a birdie on six, but it was pretty much back and forth the whole day. I was never more than 2 up at any point until 15. It was a really fun match.”
On the 15th hole, the second-par 5 of the day, O’Leary extended lead courtesy of a birdie, and added another on the 16th hole to complete the match.
As a fellow I felt a lot more comfortable [playing against Dillon],” said O’Leary. “I’ve been friends with Dillon for a long time. We played in a lot of tournaments with him this year. I think I’ve played in almost 10 tournament rounds with him this year. It was good to know my competitor. It didn’t feel like I was trying to battle him and try to beat him. I was just having fun out there.”
Sean Fitzpatrick and Brian Bassett battled head to head through the first three holes of their Round of 16 match, as the two remained all square. On the fourth hole, Fitzpatrick tallied his first birdie of the afternoon and took his first lead of the day, then added a second birdie on the fifth hole to extend the lead to two.
The George Wright member Fitzpatrick held a 2-up lead over Bassett until the 11th hole, where a Bassett bogey helped increase Sean Fitzpatrick’s lead early. What seemed to be like a sure victory, Fitzpatrick three-putted the 16th hole to extend the match. Bassett went on to win the 17th hole, cutting the deficit to one with one hole remaining. However, a comeback effort couldn’t be completed when both competitors parred the 18th hole, leading Fitzpatrick to prevail with the win.
“Today Brian and I had a good match,” said Fitzpatrick. “I played pretty steady throughout the day and didn’t give away a lot of holes, only losing a couple holes throughout the two matches. We had some good shots, I made some birdies on 4 & 5, so I had a lead coming at the turn. Brian played pretty steady on the back and I made a few mistakes which he capitalized on.”
For Fitzpatrick, advancing to the Massachusetts Amateur quarterfinals at his home course means so much to him.
“It’s always good to advance in the Mass Amateur, you always want to win your match,” added Fitzgerald. Obviously this year, little extra juice with it being a hometown game and it means a lot that I can play on Thursday for the Mass Amateur at my home course.”
Tommy Parker (Thorny Lea GC) began this week by firing a 5-under par 65 and no doubt hoped that it was a sign of good things to come. It might just be.
Fast forward to Wednesday evening when Parker was the last man standing on the 18th green at George Wright Golf Course following his round of 16 win. He was the only competitor out of the 32 who started the day who played that 18 hole two times.
He began the day with a win over Alejandro Soto (Blue Hill CC) in 19 holes, and then secured his spot in the quarterfinals with a hole-winning par on the 18th hole against Justin Turbeville (Falmouth CC).
“It is definitely a grind,” said Parker, who moved to Boston in 2010 from his native Florida. “I went 19 this morning and then 18 here for 37 holes. Fortunately it wasn’t as hot as it was yesterday, but you have to just keep playing and play smart golf and keep the ball in front of you.”
During his round of 32 match against Soto, Parker built a 3-up lead through 10 holes only to see his advantage slowly fade away as the back nine wore on. After taking a 1-up lead with a birdie on 14th hole, Parker would be forced into extra holes after a double bogey on the 18th hole.
Parker would come through with a birdie on the 19th hole to secure the win over Soto and earn him a spot in the round of 16 against Sturgis West High School’s Justin Turbeville (Falmouth CC).
With every other competitor finished for the day, Parker found the 18th green in two and was able to two putt to win the hole over Turbeville. The victory came after a match which saw Parker go 2-down early and then claw his way back to where he was 1 up with two holes to go.
“It’s tough. You start to think about a lot of different things and every time your mind wanders and you try to get it back to center,” said Parker. “I was 2 down early in this match and then fought back a little bit to go to 2 up and then back to all square. Justin played well, and it was a good match. It was the same thing this morning where I was 3 up and let it slide a little bit. It was a battle.”
Although he looked tired when he took his hat off in victory at 6:52 p.m., Parker is now looking ahead to the next challenge ahead
“I was thinking of the times when I haven’t had success in match play, and it was because I tried to play the opponent and paid too much attention to what they were doing instead of coming out and playing the golf course,” said Parker. “There were a few times today I let that get away from me, but I will have the same mindset tomorrow. Come out tomorrow and hit greens and hopefully get some putts to fall.”
Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC) was featured in the last match of the round of 32, but he made sure he put on a clinic for those who followed his group.
The 36-year-old Kingston resident made eight straight pars and then a birdie to play the George Wright Golf Course front nine at 1-under par. He had built a 4-up lead over Mark Turner (Bass Rocks GC) through just nine holes. Aikens made three straight pars before a bogey – his lone miscue of the match – won him the 13th hole and secured him the 6 & 5 victory.
“They are tough greens to read, and you have to trust your line and just hit it,” said Aikens whose play was described by many observers as simply steady. “Some of them go in and some of them don’t, but I am happy with the way I putted and hope I make more as we go further.”
Following his match against Turner, Aikens faced Ben Spitz (George Wright GC) who is not only a past champion of this event but also a member at the host club.
Once again Aikens began his match strong and made two birdies and six pars through his first eight holes to build a 3-up lead over Spitz. A pair of bogeys by Aikens on the 8th and 10th holes allowed Spitz to draw within one, but Aikens was eventually able to close out Spitz with a par on the 17th hole.
“It feels great,” said Aikens. “It is a great field, so anytime you survive against these guys it feels really good. Ben is awesome to play with and a really good player so I knew that I had to play well. I got lucky that today I was a little bit better.”
With the prospect of one and hopefully two rounds facing him on Thursday, Aikens is looking to continue his steady play and stay the course.
“I am just going to try and play steady and keep it front of me and not do anything too stupid and see how it goes,” said Aikens.
Harry McCracken and Peter Costello unassumingly made their way around George Wright Golf Course this past week. McCracken, the 92-year-old executive secretary/treasurer of the New England Golf Association, was on hand most of Tuesday to help give out the stroke-play medalist honor which was memorialized in his namesake just one year ago
Costello has been on site all week long from dawn until dusk serving as an official in charge for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. It is a volunteer position, but one that requires him to be in charge of the oversight of one of the most historic and premier amateur championships in the country.
Both gentlemen are familiar faces to many, but the majority of spectators and competitors would never realize the influence that they have had on the City of Boston’s two golf courses.
The Rebirth of George Wright Golf Course
Throughout the early 1970s and into the 1980s the City of Boston was suffering from what was reported as “rampant violence and vandalism” as well as budget cuts which had – by 1982 – reduced William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park to just four playable holes.
The Fall 2015 issue of MassGolfer magazine continued the story and explained that “to the rescue came Bob McCoy who, when he was appointed Parks Department commissioner in 1982, became the highest ranking African-American ever in City of Boston government. He began working with the tireless and persistent FPGA, Franklin Park Coalition and other community activists — and the revival began.”
The revival that would ensue included Mass Golf (what was then known as the “MGA”) led at the time by Harry McCracken, who first served on the executive committee and then took over as president in 1984-85. During that time, McCracken was instrumental in overseeing the lease of George Wright Golf Course to the Massachusetts Golf Association. The goal was to enhance and expand the city municipal’s golf courses.
The work of McCracken, along with Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame inductee and golf course owner/manager Bill Flynn and many others, led to the reopening of the course on July 31, 1989.
MassGolfer continues the story.
“… the following day Chi-Chi Rodriguez gave a free golf clinic to hundreds of children. Two years later, the [Boston] Globe reported that “..not only has the course been restored — groomed and greened as finely as any in New England — but a notable social achievement has been realized as well.”
“Harry was extremely instrumental in brokering the deal for the City to come back and take over operations when we were in tough shape,” said Dennis Roache, director of administration for the Boston Parks & Recreation Department. “We were going through some private golf operators who were not running it at the level that the City was expecting, and Harry was very instrumental in brokering that deal to get the City back to running the golf course. We would not be where we are today without Harry McCracken.”
When the City of Boston came together with Mass Golf in 2015 to announce that for the first time in history the Massachusetts Amateur Championship and the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship would be held at the public/municipal golf courses in 2018, it was another major and historic step forward in the continued rebirth of the two Boston courses.
“This is a significant moment for amateur golf in this state,” said McCracken. “It was important for us to do whatever we could to keep golf alive in the City of Boston. To this day, not only are George Wright and Franklin Park important for the local communities, but they are exceptional golf courses that should be a must-play for any golfer. The City of Boston has done an incredible job restoring them, and it’s so rewarding to see the state’s top players – male and female – having a chance to play them this month.”
In addition to hosting both this week’s Massachusetts Amateur Championship and the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship at George Wright Golf Course later this month, William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park currently serves hundreds of city youth as one of six program locations for The First Tee of Massachusetts. All summer programming is free of charge to any city resident.
While McCracken is quick to speak of the work of others and the positive impact that the two facilities have made on the local communities, his direct role in the resurgence can not be overstated.
“While many people played a role in getting to this point, none of this would have happened had it not been for Harry McCracken and his vision and persistence,” said Jesse Menachem, Mass Golf’s executive director/CEO. “These two courses would not be where they are without him, and I don’t think that it would be a stretch to say that municipal golf in Massachusetts as a whole has been impacted by his work.”
Pro Support Through the Ages
From the earliest days at George Wright Golf Course, scores of youth began golf journeys on the Hyde Park layout and were overseen by a handful of dedicated golf professionals who managed not only course operations but also oversaw those who arrived each day.
One those golf professionals was Bill Taylor, the uncle of Peter Costello.
“I remember coming to George Wright as a 12 year old and learning the game from my uncle,” said Costello, who proudly points out his uncle in one of the many photos that line the entryway of the George Wright entryway. “This was such a friendly and welcoming place to come play. It never seemed to be too crowded because we always were able to come here and hit balls on the 18th fairway towards the green.”
Costello was excited to make the ride from Hingham to Hyde Park each day to play golf and spend hours with his uncle and the other patrons of George Wright Golf Course.
“He was very proud to be here and to represent the City,” said Costello. “ All of the patrons here knew him. Even when I make my way around the course today and I tell them that my uncle was a pro here they all say, ‘I knew Bill. He was a great guy.” My father’s sister Eleanor used to work in the pro shop at the time too, so I think that they were running the whole show here.”
While Taylor managed the pro shop and operations during the 1950s, the line of golf pros that came before and continued after Taylor have maintained the welcoming and open atmosphere that has made the course a valued course for those in the surrounding communications and a destination site for so many more.
The fact that George Wright exists at all is still an amazing feat. The land was originally – in the 1920s –set to become a private facility but that project was abandoned when the market crashed in 1929.
Three years later, Walter Irving Johnson, who had worked for years as an Associate of Donald Ross, took on the project as an engineer for what was then known as the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC).
The City of Boston web site reports that “George Wright became one of the great feats of engineering and building in the annals of golf. Before completion, 60,000 pounds of dynamite were used to excavate the ledge, 72,000 cubic yards of dirt were spread to raise the ground above the swamp level and 57,000 linear feet of drainage pipe were laid to drain the property.”
It was estimated that by completion in 1938, the project costs surpassed the $1 million mark and more than 1,000 individuals worked on the project.
The irony of its beginning and its now has not been lost on those who know the history of the course. After all, what was originally planned to be a private facility has recently been chosen as Golf Digest’s Best Municipal Course in Massachusetts and was ranked the 14th Best Municipal Golf Course in The U.S. by Golfweek in 2009.
“We are extremely proud to bring our state amateur championships to these two courses,” said Costello, who also serves on the Mass Golf Board of Directors. “It was important for us to bring our premier events to these courses so that everyone realizes how the City of Boston has maintained and grown two outstanding championship layouts that are accessible to all golfers. It truly is the people’s course, and I know that I speak for the officials and players when I say that we are truly honored to be here.”
To learn more about the history of the two City of Boston, click here.
All 32 match play competitors earned an exemption into the 2018 Massachusetts Amateur Championship per category #2 (click here to view all 10 exemption categories). Player of the Year points are also awarded.
Match #1: Jackson Lang (Nashawtuc CC) def. Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich GC), 1 up
After both players matched each other shot for shot for the first three holes, Lang earned a 2-up lead through six holes after a Clapp bogey on the 4th hole and a Lang birdie on the 5th hole. Clapp would square the match by the 8th hole, but a stretch of four straight bogies from Hole 9 to Hole 13 saw Lang gain a 3-up advantage through 13 holes. Clapp made one more comeback and had the match all square through 16 holes, but a costly bogey by Clapp on the 17th hole led to an eventual 1-up victory for Lang. Clapp had a birdie attempt on the 18th hole, but he left his putt inches short.
Match #2: Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C&PC) def. David Spitz (South Shore CC), 2 & 1
Frodigh’s round began with a double bogey, but that early 1-down deficit would end up being the only time that Frodigh trailed in his match against Spitz. Despite making just one birdie the entire match, Frodigh made key pars which resulted in the win of hole on the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th and 14th holes. Frodigh closed out Spitz on the 17th hole with a matching par, his ninth of the day. Spitz carded just one birdie – on the 9th hole – and five pars on the day.
Match #3: Matt Cowgill (George Wright GC) def. Mike Calef (Pine Oaks GC, 5 & 4
Cowgill sprinted out of the gates by making birdie on four of his first six holes to jump out to a 4-up lead that he would not relinquish. Calef, who made two birdies on the day, was able to get as close as 2-down through four holes and then 3-down through 12, but Cowgill closed the door on a Calef comeback with his fifth birdie of the day on the 13th hole. The match ended on the 14th hole where Calef made bogey to Cowgill’s par.
Match #4: Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) def. Steven DiLisio (Salem CC), 5 & 3
After two double bogeys from DiLisio and two birdies from Parziale through 7 holes, Parziale gained a four-shot lead going into 9th hole. Parziale extended the lead to five shots at the end of 9 holes. On the back nine, DiLisio would go on to make birdie on Holes 10 & 13. However, it was not enough as Parziale closed out the match on the 15th hole with a birdie, his fourth of the day.
Match 5: Chris Francoeur (Amesbury G&CC) def. Colin Brennan (Indian Ridge CC), 4 & 2
Francoeur played the George Wright front nine at even par which earned him a 3-up lead at the turn. Brennan, the 2017 Mass Mid-Amateur Champion, made one birdie and five bogies on the front nine. Brennan’s double bogey on the 11th hole and then bogey on the 12th hole gave Francoeur a 4-up lead that would prove enough. Francoeur closed out the match with a par to win the 16th hole and deliver him a 4 & 2 victory.
Match #6: Ben Balter (Weston GC) def. Alex Yun (Brae Burn CC), 3 & 2
Balter made birdie on two of his first five holes to build a 4-up lead through five holes over Yun. Although Balter would not post another birdie to his scorecard through the rest of the round, he made key pars throughout the match and his lead was never less than 3-up. He held a 5-up lead through 12 holes and then eventually closed out the match with a matching bogey on the 16th hole.
Match #7: Jason Cook (Pine Oaks GC) def. Bill Drohen (Brookmeadow CC), 1 Up
Cook and Drohen battled head to head on the front nine, for a chance to play in the round of 16 Wednesday afternoon. For the final four holes on the front 9, the match remained tied. On the back nine, it was a different story as Cook took a two-shot lead after Hole11, following a birdie. Five holes later, the match was back to all square. On Hole 17, Drohen drained a 20-foot birdie putt, while Cook’s birdie attempt was left on the side of the hole. Drohen’s birdie on 17 was good enough to secure the victory. Cook had a chance to extend the match on the 18th hole, but his birdie attempt missed by just inches.
Match #8: Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC) def. Brendan Monahan (Winchester CC), 19 Holes
Jamieson quickly took a two-shot lead after 4 holes over Monahan, the result of two straight bogeys from Winchester native. However, after making two bogies in a row and Monahan birdying hole 8, the match was back to even. Jamieson and Monahan continued to battle on the back nine, as the match was all square at the conclusion of 18 holes. On first hole of the subsequent playoff, Jamieson’s par to Monahan’s bogey propelled him into the afternoon round.
Match #9: Andrew O’Leary (Pawtucket CC) def. Theodore Lederhausen (George Wright GC), 6&5
O’Leary came out red hot and made four birdies on the front nine to build what proved to be an insurmountable 6-up lead through nine holes. After posting a 3-under par 32 front nine, O’Leary made one bogey and then three straight pars before closing out Lederhausen on the 13th hole.
Match #10: Dillon Brown (CC of Halifax) def. Owen Quinn (Wachusett CC), 20 Holes
Brown and Quinn went head to head through the first 9 holes. The match constantly switched from Quinn having a 1 stroke lead through 3, to being all square through the next 5 holes. Brown would take a 1 shot lead going into the back 9, as Quinn made bogey on Hole 9. Brown would quickly gain a 3-up lead through Hole 12. However, Quinn was not going out with a fight. With a birdie on 13 and a Brown bogey on both Holes 14 and 17, the match was back to all square through 18. Brown would go on to make a birdie on the 20th played hole to advance.
Match #11: Sean Fitzpatrick (George Wright GC) def. Ronald Laverdiere (Hickory Ridge GC), 3 & 2
Laverdiere took a one-shot lead over Fitzpatrick, after 3 holes following a birdie on Hole 2. After a bogey on Hole 4, the match remained all square through six holes. For the final three holes on the front nine, Fitzpatrick quickly took a 3-up lead, following birdies on Holes 8 and 9. On the back nine, the match was all Fitzpatrick as he closed the match out with a 3-up lead through 16 holes.
Match 12: Brian Bassett (Oyster Harbors) def. Christopher Bornhorst (Brae Burn CC), 19 Holes
Bornhorst quickly grabbed a 2-up lead over Bassett through four holes, following a birdie on Hole 3 and a bogey from Basset on Hole 4. Bornhorst would retain that 2-up lead through the next seven holes. After a bogey from Bornhorst on Hole 11 and a birdie from Bassett on Hole 15, the match was back to all square. Bassett grabbed the lead after the next hole with a birdie. However, the match would remain at even through 19, after Bassett made bogey on the 17th hole. In the first playoff hole, Bassett came out on top with a birdie to advance.
Match 13: Tommy Parker (Thorny Lea GC) def. Alejandro Soto (Blue Hill CC), 19 holes
Parker jumped out to a 3-up lead over Soto through three holes. After both exchanged bogies through the remainder of the front nine, Parker had a 2-up lead going into the back 9. The lead grew to 3-up after Soto made bogey on Hole 10. However, following two straight bogies from Parker and a birdie from Soto on Hole 13, the match was back to all square. Once again the two exchanged bogies through the remainder of 18, causing the match to go into extra holes. Parker made birdie on the 19th hole, which gave him the match win.
Match 14: Justin Turbeville (Falmouth GC) def. Shuvam Bhaumik (Thorny Lea GC), 1
The match between Turbeville and Bhaumik was all square through the first six holes. A bogey on Hole 7 gave Bhaumik a 1-up lead going into back 9. Turbeville would go on to made birdie on the 12th hole, to put the match back to all square going into the 18th hole. A bogey on the 18th hole from Bhaumik gave Turbeville the win.
Match 15: Benjamin Spitz (George Wright GC) def. Matthew Naumec (GreatHorse), 2 & 1
Spitz grabbed a 4-up lead over Naumec, following two bogies from Naumec on Holes 2 & 4 and birdies made by Spitz on Holes 5 & 7. Spitz had a 3-up lead over Naumec going into the back nine, after he Naumec made bogey on the 9th hole. On the back 9, Naumec reduced Spitz’s lead to 2 with a birdie on Hole 15 and a bogey from Spitz on Hole 13. However, Naumec would run out of holes to play, as Spitz claimed the victory through 17 holes.
Match #16: Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC) def. Mark Turner (Bass Rocks GC) , 6 & 5
Herbie Aikens came out firing and took a 3-up lead through the first 3 holes. While the match remained that way for 5 more holes, Aikens made a birdie on 9 to extend the lead to 4 going into the back 9. Following Turner’s double bogeys on Holes 10 & 13, Aikens would secure the victory on the 13th hole with a bogey win.
Discovering Donald Ross: Although he did not advance to match play this year, Cobb Carlson has deep ties and an even greater knowledge base of George Wright Golf Course. A member at the club for nearly 20 years and a past club champion, Carlson is also a videographer who produced an acclaimed documentary entitled, “Donald Ross: Discovering the Legend.” Carlson’s goal for the film was to bring to light “the simple idea that Donald Ross’ lasting and unique contribution to the game should be more widely recognized and appreciated.” Not surprisingly and very appropriately, a focus of that documentary is on George Wright Golf Course Here are three excerpts from that documentary:
Watch: Head Golf Professional Scott Allen talks about the influence of Donald Ross on Hole #6
Watch: Golf Course Superintendent Len Curtin reflects on the restoration work at George Wright GC
Watch: Curtin continues on to highlight the history of the stone wall that wraps around Hole #10 green
The Under 30 Crowd: The average age of the starting field of 144 competitors was 31.5. When the field was reduced to just 32 match-play competitors, the average age dropped to 29.5. At the age of 59, Ron Laverdiere was the oldest competitor to advance to match play. Dillon Brown, Andrew O’Leary, Justin Turbeville and Mark Turner are all 18 years old, but a mid-December birthday for O’Leary makes him the official “youngest” match-play competitor.
Return Engagement: Fourteen of this year’s 32 match-play participants made the cut one year ago at Charles River Country Club including the two finalists from that year, Matt Parziale (champion) and Matt Cowgill (runner-up). Also making a return to match play this year are (with 2017 finishes noted in ): Jackson Lang [semifinals]; Doug Clapp [round of 32]; David Spitz [quarterfinals]; Steven DiLisio [round of 16]; Chris Francoeur [round of 32]; Andrew O’Leary [round of 32]; Sean Fitzpatrick [round of 16]; Brian Bassett [round of 32]; Ben Spitz [round of 16]; Matt Naumec [round of 32]; Mark Turner [quarterfinals]; and Herbie Aikens [round of 16].
Past Champions: Three past champions survived stroke play to advance to match play. Mike Calef – winner of this event in 2012-13 is the last competitor to win back-to-back Massachusetts Amateur Championship titles. Other past winners include Matt Parziale, who won this title one year ago, as well as Ben Spitz, a member of George Wright Golf Course who captured this Championship Proper title in 2006 when it was held at Worcester Country Club.
Strong Golf Roots: Two competitors have unique but strong golf familial roots. Owen Quinn’s father, Fran Quinn, is a current Champions Tour player who won the Massachusetts Open Championship in 1990. In 2014, Owen and his father made national headlines when Owen served as caddy for his father during the final round of the U.S. Open Championship. Brendan Monahan is part of the Monahan legacy at Winchester Country Club. His family holds the club’s record for most father and son championship titles. Brendan’s brother Jay is also the PGA Tour Commissioner who made a big announcement just one day ago about the Tour’s new playoff schedule.
Brotherly Love: for the second straight year, both Ben Spitz and David Spitz – who are brothers – advanced to match play. One year ago, Ben and David were seeded in opposite sides of the bracket and would have met in the finals had they won all of their matches through the first two days of match play. The all-brother final was not meant to be as Ben fell in the round of 16, while David was defeated in the quarterfinals. The two brothers were once again in opposite sides of the bracket in 2018.
Club Dominance: The host club of George Wright Golf Course edged Thorny Lea GC in the category of having the most members advance to match play. The Hyde Park course saw four of its own – Matt Cowgill, Sean Fitzpatrick, Ben Spitz and Theodore Lederhausen advance, while the club that boasts #thistleseverywhere was cheering on Shuvam Bhaumik, Tommy Parker and Matt Parziale. Courses that had two representatives each include Brae Burn CC (Christopher Bornhorst and Alex Yun), Old Sandwich GC (Doug Clapp and Herbie Aikens) and Pine Oaks GC (Jason Cook and Mike Calef).
Match play represents an opportunity to come see golf at its roots and at its best.
If you can’t make it to George Wright Golf Course this week, here is a summary of the coverage you can expect online from Thursday through the final 36-hole match on Friday.
Quarterfinals – hole-by-hole scores
Semifinals – hole-by-hole score & on-course Twitter updates
Final Match – hole-by-hole score & on-course Twitter updates and hole-by-hole descriptions
Highlights and competitor interviews will be posted following the end of each day. In addition, Mass Golf Photographer David Colt will be in site on Wednesday and Friday and Videographer Don Coyne will produce final-round highlights on Friday. For complete coverage of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, visit MassGolf.org or follow Mass Golf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @PlayMassGolf and by using the hashtag, #MassAm.