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HYDE PARK, Massachusetts – It was a dream that was three years in the making, but the wait didn’t dampen the moment for Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C&PC).
Three years after he finished as runner up, Frodigh made a triumphant return to the finals and captured the 110th Massachusetts Amateur Championship title as his own on Friday afternoon at George Wright Golf Course.
“It hasn’t really hit yet,” said Frodigh. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to do this with all my friends here watching. I felt like we both had a bunch of people here watching us. Cheers were both ways. There was a lot of them, and both of us hit some great shots. It is just awesome and a pleasure to be able to play a 36-hole match against Herbie.”
On Friday, he delivered a 4 & 3 victory over Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC) in the scheduled 36-hole final and as a result became the 77th individual to win the Massachusetts Amateur Championship which dates back to 1903.
“Winning this event is definitely up there, definitely top three,” said Frodigh, who announced that he plans to turn professional after this season. “It was a lot of fun this week. I am so happy to win this state amateur in what is my last year being an amateur for a long time hopefully. We will see what happens.”
Before he begins that professional golf journey, Frodigh was able to bask in the fact that he won what will go down as one of the most historic Massachusetts Amateur Championships. For the first time in golf history, the both state amateur championships – the one held this week as well as the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship scheduled for later this month – were hosted on two public/municipal golf courses.
“I grew up playing here a fair amount,” said Frodigh, who received his award in a presentation that featured Mayor Marty Walsh and several other City of Boston officials. “I live like 15 minutes away, so I played here with a lot of buddies. It’s nice because it feels like it is in my back yard. It’s not too far away, and I am happy to have won this close to home and to have all my family and friends watching me.”
The gallery, which grew to be one of the biggest in recent memory, watched Frodigh deliver a memorable performance from start to finish.
After advancing through two rounds of stroke play and then three days of match play which included a quarterfinal victory against the defending Massachusetts Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC), Frodigh completed his task by outlasting Aikens in a match which came to an end at 3:11 p.m. on the 15th hole of George Wright Golf Course.
It was a match which began at 8:00 a.m. and never saw Frodigh trail. Through 33 holes on Friday, the soon-to-be Elon University graduate made seven birdies and played 3-under par en route to capturing the Massachusetts Cup.
“He made a ton of putts, it was impressive,” said Aikens. “Everything he looked at it seemed like it went in. He hits it great tee to green. He’s really solid, and then for him to make 30 footers it was impressive. It was fun to watch. It stinks to be on the receiving end, but it was definitely fun to watch.”
Frodigh wasted no time getting into a rhythm on the 6,399-yard George Wright GC layout on Friday morning. After making three straight pars, he drained a 10-foot birdie putt on the 158-yard, par 3 4th hole to take a 3-up lead after Aikens made bogey on the 1st and 3rd holes. On the very next hole – the 414-yard, par 4 5th hole – Aikens approach shot missed right. Frodigh, meanwhile, hit his fourth straight fairway off the tee and then drained a 16-foot birdie putt to extend his lead to 4 up.
“I came out of the gate pretty hot,” said Frodigh who played that first front nine at 2-under par 33. “I think I was 4 up through 8 or 9 and then Herbie came right back. He made a few birdies on the back nine. He played really well. I just regrouped at lunch and got refocused, and it was a really close match all day.”
On that back nine, Aikens did exactly what he had done nearly 24 hours earlier in his semifinal match against Andrew O’Leary (Pawtucket CC). Trailing 3-down to O’Leary on Thursday afternoon, Aikens clawed back on the back nine to eventually defeat O’Leary by a score of 1 up.
It was a near case of déjà vu on Friday morning. Aikens made three birdies – on the 11th, 15th and 16th holes – and managed to pull within one of Frodigh at the mid-match break.
“Yeah, I fought back,” said Aikens. “I was always down, and it wears you down in the end. You get tired and maybe a little frustrated. You are trying to get it back, and he’s such a good player he did not let up. Even when he would get into a little bit of trouble, he would hit a great chip shot and then follow it up with a great shot. He didn’t give any holes away, which is the key. That’s what you got to do to win.”
Following the lunch break, both players sent their approach shots on the 19th hole to under five feet for birdie. Frodigh then sent his approach on the very next hole – George Wright’s 360-yard, par 4 2nd hole – to a foot for a conceded birdie and a 2-up lead.
Aikens would continue to battle back. He made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 26th hole of the match to draw within one, but he would give it back just one hole later when he made bogey on both the George Wright 9th and 10th holes.
Perhaps the biggest blow to Aikens’ come-back bid came on that 27th hole of the match after Frodigh’s drive sailed into the right trees. Aikens’ drive sat in the middle of the fairway but he pushed his second shot into the right-side bunker and eventually settled for bogey. Frodigh – after needing two shots to get out of the woods – delivered a crowd-pleasing up and down to halve the hole.
“That felt like an eagle,” said Frodigh. “That bogey was unbelievable. When I made that I knew that I could maybe carry that momentum into the back nine and hang on.”
Aikens too agreed that it was a game changer.
“He was awesome,” said Aikens. “He was tough and not a guy you want to get down to, and I was down all day. I grinded back and got a little momentum and then that five he made on nine was unbelievable. That’s where I lost the momentum. I think I played it too safe and ended up in the bunker. I was trying not to just miss left and it was a mistake.”
Following the match all day long was the man who defeated Frodigh three years ago. Nick McLaughlin, the 2015 Massachusetts Amateur Champion, made sure that he was there to support his former adversary and forever friend.
“We were talking last night,” said Frodigh. “He texted me about some things. It’s really cool to have someone who beat me come back and support me. I can’t wait to go say hi to him in the clubhouse.”
Following his victory, Frodigh did get a chance to return to the clubhouse. After receiving his award during a presentation which included Mayor Marty Walsh, Frodigh and McLaughlin enjoyed some time together.
Two competitors who could – after three years – both call themselves champions.
While the primary focus of this week’s 110th Massachusetts Amateur Championship was on the playing field, which started off with 144 competitors before dwindling down to the final two competitors in the final round of match play Friday, there were no questions that the unsung heroes of the championship week were the young men and women involved with City of Boston’s Caddie/Scholar Program.
In the midst of their six-to-eight week work program set up with the help of the City of Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh’s office and the Boston Parks Department, young men and women from across the city have assisted in the operations of the cities two municipal courses, George Wright Golf Course and William J. Devine Golf Course, the site of this past week’s state amateur championship.
“It was always called the caddie scholar program, and when I first came here, they did teach them more about caddying than anything else and they did not do any work on the golf course,” explained George Wright head golf professional Scott Allen. “After a couple seasons of that, we decided to turn it into more of a working program, where they could still play golf and still learn how to play golf, but the majority of our time spent now is working on the course.
During each individual program, these young men and women, which averaged between 25 and 30 participants each day, assisted the course in a variety of different roles. The assigned projects have ranged from filling divots to even working on major course renovations and improvements.
“We have them filling divots on the tees and we have groups on the fairways,” said Allen. “We clean out just about the [worst] areas you can imagine, areas the goats didn’t even want to go into. They will build bunkers and do certain projects that we like to do too.”
Over the course of this week’s five-day tournament, which began Monday at William J. Devine before making its move to George Wright, the caddie/scholar program has played an essential role in the overall success.
Among the assigned tasks this week included filling divots, picking up broken tees, fore caddying and serving as scoring bearers, pivotal roles that ensured the Massachusetts Amateur Championship remained one of the top amateur tournaments in the country.
For both George Wright Golf Course and Franklin Park Golf Course, the caddie/scholar program has been extremely beneficial.
“At the end of their program, they really make a huge difference for us for those 6 to 8 weeks,” added Allen. “It’s a really cool program that the city allows us to have. It all comes from the city and its Parks Department, who do a great job. You’re proud of what the golf course is and you’re also proud of what the kids do.”
Hole 1 | Par 4 | 383 Yards
Aikens missed a five footer for par to lose the hole. Frodigh, whose opening drive missed the fairway, found the green on his second shot and he two putted for par. Frodigh 4, Aikens 5. Frodigh leads 1 Up through 1.
Hole 2 | Par 4 | 360 Yards
Both Frodigh and Aikens lag mid-range putts to within inches of the hole for conceded pars. Both were just over 100 yards from the green off the tee. Aikens made a nice shot from the left rough while Frodigh was in the fairway. Both left their putts short. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh leads 1 Up through 2.
Hole 3 | Par 5 | 520 Yards
After Aikens tee shot was into the left rough, it ended up taking him five shots to get onto the green. Frodigh was on the green in three and closed out the hole with a lag birdie putt for a conceded par. Frodigh 4, Aikens 5. Frodigh leads 2 Up through 3.
Hole 4 | Par 3 | 158 Yards
Frodigh sinks a 10-foot birdie. Aikens can’t counter. Frodigh 2, Aikens 3. Frodigh leads 3 Up through 4.
Hole 5 | Par 4 | 414 Yards
Aikens approach misses right and he can’t get up and down. Frodigh found his. Fourth straight fairway off tee for Frodigh, which he drains for his second birdie from 16 feet out. Frodigh 3, Aikens 4. Frodigh leads 4 Up through 5.
Hole 6 | Par 4 | 378 Yards
Hole is halved on six. Frodigh made a nice par save with a long lag putt that slows to within inches left of the hole. Aikens two putts for par. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh leads 4 Up through 6.
Hole 7 | Par 4 | 433 Yards
Aikens wins his first hole of the match after his birdie on 18. Aikens 3, Frodigh 4. Frodigh leads 3 Up.
Hole 8 | Par 3 | 181 Yards
Frodigh rolls in a 25 foot putt for birdie on the elevated par-3 hole with a front center hole locations. Frodigh 2, Aikens 3. Frodigh leads 4 Up through 8.
Hole 9 | Par 4 | 442 Yards
Frodigh’s tee shot on 9 falls between to the right of the cart path and left of the fairway, just outside a tree. Aikens tee shot falls in the middle of the fairway. Frodigh can’t find his way out of trouble and Aikens two-putts for par. Aikens 4, Frodigh 5. Frodigh leads 3 up through 9.
Hole 10 | Par 4 | 444 Yards
With the honors on the tee, Aikens drive hits off the trees alongside the left of the fairway. Aikens is unable to recover. Frodigh’s huge drive which left him 183 to the green was enough to win the hole. Frodigh 4, Aikens 6. Frodigh leads 4 Up through 10.
Hole 11 | Par 4 | 344 Yards
The pair halve the hole with a pair of birdies. Frodigh sinks his from left to right. Aikens sinks his from right to left. Frodigh 3, Aikens 3. Frodigh leads 4 Up through 11.
Hole 12 | Par 4 | 399 Yards
Frodigh is unable to move to 5 up when he burned the edge on a five foot putt attempt for birdie. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh leads 4 Up through 12.
Hole 13 | Par 4 | 377 Yards
Frodigh’s drive off the 13th tee finds the rough. On his second shot, Frodigh punches it out to 75 yards from the green, but fails to sink par putt when ball lips out of hole. Aikens wins with a par. Aikens 4, Frodigh 5. Frodigh leads 3 up.
Hole 14 | Par 3 | 195 Yards
Frodigh’s tee shot sails long and left while Aikens hits his to 20 feet. Frodigh’s second shot hits the flagstick from the back of the green and almost holes out. The two halve the hole. Frodigh 3, Aikens 3. Frodigh is 3 Up through 14.
Hole 15 | Par 5 | 496 Yards
Frodigh’s drive sails in the adjoining 16th fairway and his second shot goes way right of the green and behind trees. Despite Aikens hitting out of a bunker on his third shot, he was able to birdie the hole and bring the match the closest it has been since the third hole. Aikens 4, Frodigh 6. Frodigh is 2 up through 15.
Hole 16 | Par 4 | 343 Yards
Aikens sticks his second shot to within a foot of the hole. Frodigh is forced to hit out of a fairway bunker on second shot and can’t hit the 20 foot downhill putt to save it. This is the first time today that Aikens has won two consecutive holes and the match is closest its been since the second hole. Aikens 3, Frodigh 4. Frodigh is 1 up through 16.
Hole 17 | Par 3 | 158 Yards
Both Aikens and Frodigh finds the green on their first shots and manage to two putt the halve the hole. Frodigh 3, Aikens 3. Frodigh is 1 up through 17.
Hole 18 | Par 4 | 374 Yards
Aikens and Frodigh each par the 18th hole. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh is 1 up through 18.
—- 40 Minute Break between first half and second half of match —-
Hole 1 (19) | Par 4 | 383 Yards
Aikens puts his drive almost into the right trees, but made an incredible second shot to five feet which he made for birdie. Frodigh sinks his four footer for birdie. Hole is halved. Aikens 4, Frodigh 4. Frodigh leads 1 up through 19 holes.
Hole 2 (20) | Par 4 | 360 Yards
On the second hole of the afternoon, Frodigh nearly holed his second shot from the fairway and his birdie putt was conceded. Aikens leaves his birdie putt on the lip, allowing Frodigh to get back to a two-hole lead. Frodigh 3, Aikens 4. Frodigh is 2 up after 20 holes.
Hole 3 (21) | Par 5 | 520 Yards
On the 21st hole of the match, Aikens approach shot sailed right. His third shot fell short of the green and he was still away. Frodigh was on the green in three but the two halved the hole. Aikens makes his par putt and Frodigh two putted for par. Frodigh 5, Aikens 5. Frodigh remains 2 up through 21 holes.
Hole 4 (22) | Par 3 | 158 Yards
On George Wright’s fourth hole, the 22nd hole of the match, Aikens missed a nine foot birdie putt. Frodigh was short of the green on his tee shot and had to chip up. He sunk his putt for par. Frodigh 3, Aikens 3. Frodigh remains 2 up after 22 holes.
Hole 5 (23) | Par 4 | 414 Yards
Both Aikens & Frodigh reach the green in two. Aikens burns the right edge with his birdie attempt while Frodigh lagged a long birdie putt to inches. They halve the hole. Frodigh maintains his lead. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh leads 2 up after 23 holes.
Hole 6 (24) | Par 4 | 378 Yards
Again, both players find the fairway and green, but Aikens and Frodigh leave their birdie putts short to halve the hole. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh leads 2 Up through 24 holes.
Hole 7 (25) | Par 4 | 433 Yards
Aikens and Frodigh have each parred the past five holes. On the 25th hole of the match, Aikens taps in a two foot putt while Frodigh counters with a four foot par putt of his own. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh leads 2 up through 25 holes
Hole 8 (26) | Par 3 | 181 Yards
Aikens sunk a 30 foot birdie putt on the eighth hole, a par three elevated green, and Frodigh was unable to match him. Aikens 2, Frodigh 3. Frodigh leads 1 up through 26 holes.
Hole 9 (27) | Par 4 | 442 Yards
Frodigh’s tee shot backs into the woods, forcing him to hit a provisional. He decided to stick with his original shot and had to punch it out from under a low hanging branch back towards the fairway. Despite the error, he gets onto the green in four and sinks a spinning eight foot putt to halve the hole with Aikens. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh is 1 up with 27 holes down.
Hole 10 (28) | Par 4 | 444 Yards
Aikens approach shot on the 10th hole of the second half of the 36-hole match lands on the fringe and he can’t convert for par. Frodigh is on the green and his birdie putt is just short, but conceded by Aikens. Frodigh 4, Aikens 5. Frodigh extends lead to 2 up through 28 holes.
Hole 11 (29) | Par 4 | 344 Yards
A long putt from the edge of the green by Frodigh leads to a conceded par putt on the 29th hole.
Hole 12 (30) | Par 4 | 399 Yards
Aikens secures a huge putt to save par and preventing Frodigh from going 3 up. Frodigh had just made a good lag putt from the fringe, which settled inches from the hole. Aikens had to concede that before he made his par putt. Frodigh 4, Aikens 4. Frodigh is 4 up through 30 holes.
Hole 13 (31) | Par 4 | 377 Yards
Frodigh gets onto the green in two shots and sinks an eight foot birdie. Aikens can’t counter after his second shot from the right of the fairway gets up on the green. Frodigh 3, Aikens 4. Frodigh leads 3 Up through 31 holes.
Hole 14 (32) | Par 3 | 195 Yards
Frodigh’s tee shot lands high in the right rough while Aikens falls to the left of the green, laying up the fringe. Aikens can’t get his chip shot up enough and he misses his putt for par. Frodigh sinks his 10 foot downhill putt to save par. Frodigh 3, Aikens 4. Frodigh is 4 up through 32.
Hole 15 (33) | Par 5 | 496 Yards
Frodigh’s drive on 15 lands in the 16th fairway, similar to his attempt on the same whole in the morning half of the match. Aikens lands his on the outermost left of the fairway, leaving a straight line to the hole from about 75 yards out. Frodigh gets his to go and Aikens second shot lands atop the front side bunker and rolls to the back of the green. Frodigh’s second shot lands short of the green, providing a nice chip shot opportunity, a shot that he knocks to less than 10 feet. Aikens missed his birdie attempt that would have extended the match. Frodigh’s birdie putt was short, but it was conceded. Frodigh wins match, 4&3.