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HARVARD, Massachusetts – Two Massachusetts junior golfers added to their already impressive playing resumes after claiming respective titles at the 2018 New England PGA Junior Championship, a 36-hole contest conducted at Shaker Hills Country Club in Harvard earlier this week.
Norfolk native Andrew O’Leary, who is set to play golf at the University of Notre Dame beginning this fall, shot 72-71-143 to finish at 1-under par to win the Boy’s Division title while Lunenburg’s Emily Nash bounced back from a 5-over 77 in her first 18 holes on Tuesday by shooting an even-par 72 in her second 18, then winning out in a one-hole playoff to collect medalist honors in the Girl’s Division. With their victories, both O’Leary and Nash will advance to represent the New England PGA section at the PGA Junior Championships in Kentucky later this summer.
As the only competitor to finish the tournament under par, the longtime Mass Golf competitor O’Leary, who holds his membership out of Pawtucket Country Club, finished his first 18-holes tied atop the leaderboard with fellow Massachusetts junior competitor and reigning state junior amateur champion Dillon Brown after both shot even-par 72 on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the 18-year old O’Leary built on his first day performance by birdying the par-5 second hole and the par-3 third hole before adding a third on the par-5 fifth to quickly jump to 3-under for the day. Despite trouble on the sixth and seventh holes that led to a bogey and a double, O’Leary found his groove and made par on each of the next 10 holes before he birdied the par-5 18th hole, a dogleg right that sits at 530+ yards from tee to green. The recent Catholic Memorial High School graduate finished at 1-under 71 for the day, holding off Norwell’s AJ Gilpin, who shot a 2-under on the day to climb up to even for the tournament and take a share of second place.
In the Girl’s Division, Emily Nash, a rising senior at Lunenburg High School, birdied three of her final seven holes to bounce back from her 5-over 77 showing on Tuesday to finish tied atop the leaderboard with Hempstead, N.H.’s Lauren Thibodeau, who will play golf for the University of Louisville beginning this fall.
In the first playoff hole, contested on the par-5 18th hole which she had just made birdie on to force the sudden death playoff, Nash gave her best effort at the green and was able to tap in after three strokes to record her first eagle of the day.
With their victories, O’Leary will advance to the 43rd Boys Junior PGA Championship at Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club from July 31 to August 3 while Nash will compete at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington from July 9-13 for the 43rd Girls Junior PGA Championship.
Due to her previous victory in the 2017 Bay State Cup Invitational, Thibodeau is also exempt into the 2018 Girls PGA Junior Championship this July.
#MassGolf's Andrew O'Leary, who will compete for @NDMensGolf this fall, and rising @LunenburgGolf senior Emily Nash will each represent the @NEPGA section at respective Junior PGA Championships following their NEPGA Jr. Championship wins this week.
Recap: https://t.co/5JpJC7o0bf pic.twitter.com/RIc1JPqlu5
— #MassGolf (@PlayMassGolf) June 28, 2018
This year alone, O’Leary, who placed T2 at last year’s Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship, won his second straight Massachusetts Division II High School Individual Championship and advanced to the sectional round of the U.S. Open qualifying. Last week, he finished as an alternate for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at the qualifier held at Connecticut’s The Golf Club at Oxford Greens.
Nash, who was one of seven Massachusetts natives to play in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball in late April at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, California, won the Massachusetts High School Girls State Championship and last week earned medalist honors at the U.S. Girls’ Junior qualifier held at Crumpin-Fox Club.
In the Boy’s Division, Massachusetts natives AJ Gilpin, Dillon Brown, Max Hutter, Christian Emmerich, Sam Taraian, Nathan Ingram, Jared Winiarz and Weston Jones all finished within the top-10 on the scoreboard while the Girl’s Division top-10 consisted of Massachusetts residents Kaitlynn Washburn, Catie Schernecker, Isabelle Premkumar and Gabrielle Shieh.
For more information about the New England Junior PGA Championship, visit NEPGA.com.
For more information about Mass Golf, visit MassGolf.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @PlayMassGolf. Join the conversation using the hashtag #MassGolf.