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CONCORD, Massachusetts – Despite a rain delay that suspended play for nearly three hours, the second round of the 2018 Ouimet Memorial Tournament was completed on Thursday at Concord Country Club. Following 36 holes of stroke play, the starting field which was comprised of more than 80 of the state’s top amateur, senior amateur and women’s amateur competitors was trimmed to just 55.
On Friday, those competitors from the Championship, Lowery (Senior) and Women’s Divisions will take part in the final 18 holes at historic Woodland Golf Club, which was the home course of the event’s namesake, Francis Ouimet. Since the event was introduced in 1968, the final day of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament has been held at the Auburndale layout.
Following two rounds of play, Jacquelyn Eleey (South Shore CC), Timothy Umphrey (Tatnuck CC), and Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC) lead the way in the Women’s, Championship and Lowery Divisions, respectively.
Play will begin at 8:00 a.m., while the final group of the day featuring Umphrey, Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) and Matthew Organisak (Nashawtuc CC) will tee off at 11:20 a.m. Any tie for first place (in any division) following 18 holes will be decided immediately by a hole-by-hole playoff.
The Richard F. Connolly, Sr. Trophy will be presented to the winner of the Championship Division, the Eddie Lowery Trophy to the winner of the Lowery Division and the Women’s Division Trophy to the winner of the Women’s Division.
Here are highlights from each of the three divisions.
It’s a position that she hasn’t been in since April, when she was finishing up her senior season leading the Georgetown Women’s Golf squad to a Big East title. She’s happy to be doing it again.
Quincy’s Jacquelyn Eleey (South Shore CC) fired a division best 2-under 68 Thursday in the second round of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament and is the leader in the clubhouse for the women’s division as the tournament heads to its final day Friday at Woodland Golf Club.
Eleey started the day at T3 on the leaderboard following her 2-over par 74 performance Wednesday on the same Concord Country Club layout. She began her second round on the 10th tee.
Following a double bogey on her fourth hole, the par-4 13th hole, that had her sitting two-over through four holes, Eleey said she was able to make a change – a change that had a large impact for her remaining 14 holes.
“I don’t know really what kicked in. I had a really good approach shot on my sixth hole, number 14, and then had three birdies in a row,” said Eleey, who quickly went from over par to under par and never looked back for the rest of her round.
With her mom, Aileen, on the bag Thursday, Eleey made par on the 9th hole before making the turn, carding two birdies, a bogey and six pars on her final nine to finish her round at 2-under for the day, leaping ahead of day-one leader Hannah Ghelfi, who fell to T2 on the leaderboard after finishing at 4-over 74.
“Today, I struck the ball really well and kind of saw the putts so I made some good 20 foot birdie putts and also hit it closer and made some more birdie putts,” said Eleey. “These greens were rolling super smooth, so if you just hit it on line, you had a good solid putt with good speed it’s going to go in. I just really saw the greens today.”
As the reigning Ouimet Memorial Tournament’s Women’s Division champion, Eleey, aged 23, seemed to be having all parts of her game working their best – always a good indication heading into the final round of any tournament. As the tournament shifts back to the same course where she won a year ago, she said that the idea of winning back-to-back titles would be a great experience – especially considering this is one of her final tournaments before she takes a stab at a professional career next month when she heads to Qualifying School in California.
“There are a lot of good golfers here so I guess I put together two good rounds to be on top, but there is still 18 holes to be played and I don’t really know who is behind me or how many strokes there are, but I’m sure they’re not behind by far,” she said on the prospect of a second victory in the tournament. “There are still 18 holes so I will stick with my game plan and do my own thing and focus on myself and trying to beat the golf course. If I do that, we’ll see what happens.”
She added, “I think it would be really cool to be back-to-back, but I try to not think about that stuff because it can sometimes distract me. It definitely would be cool to be back-to-back for sure.”
As the tournament heads back to Auburndale, Eleey finds herself atop the leaderboard at even-par 144, two strokes ahead of day one leader Ghelfi and Norton’s Shannon Johnson, who Eleey was tied with entering Thursday. Her final round will begin at 8:50 a.m. off the first tee.
Back in May, Tim Umphrey (Tatnuck CC) said that winning the Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship was near the top of his many golf accomplishments. Fast forward to late July and the 21-year-old Umphrey has put himself in a perfect position to add to his growing resume.
Through two rounds of stroke play at Concord Country Club, Umphrey is the only competitor in the field to have posted two consecutive under-par rounds. His two-day score of 5-under par 135 places him atop the leaderboard. He will head to Woodland Golf Club on Friday with a two-stroke lead with just 18 holes remaining.
“I am hitting it good and am confident,” said Umphrey. “Woodland is a course where it is easy to go low at. To be at the top and not having to take it as deep is pretty good. I like Woodland too. It’s a good course and pretty similar to here. I have a good feeling.”
It was hard not to exude confidence following the past 48 hours where Umphrey has carded six birdies, three bogies and one eagle through 36 holes. He was even par through his first 17 holes before making eagle on Thursday afternoon on the 535-yard, par 5 18th hole to post a 2-under par 68.
He continued that stellar play the following morning and made three birdies and zero bogies through his first nine holes to make the turn at 3-under par 32. His first birdie of the day came on the 414-yard, par 4 14th hole where he sent his approach to seven feet.
After making birdie three holes later, Umphrey found himself in trouble in the fairway bunker on the 18th hole. Despite what appeared to be a difficult position, Umphrey muscled his shot out of the bunker to seven feet to set up his third birdie on that Concord CC back nine.
“I hit a few putts early today which was key,” said Umphrey, a rising junior at the University of Connecticut and a graduate of Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury. “I had a great par save – a 15 footer on the first hole. I had a few more on the front and turned at 3 under and played solid on the back.”
Umphrey would make four straight pars after making the turn and then carded bogey – his only miscue on the day – on the 5th hole. He responded well by hitting his second shot on the 387-yard, par 4 7th hole to three feet.
When the deluge arrived in Concord, Umphrey was already through 17 holes.
“Luckily for us we only had one hole left,” said Umphrey, whose final hole of the day was the 146-yard, par 3 9th hole. “It was a 9 iron so it wasn’t that bad, and then we had 20 minutes to warm up. It was a long wait, but it was alright.”
Playing alongside Umphrey the past two days was Matthew Organisak, who finds himself T2 with day-one leader Jackson Lang (Nashawtuc CC) and reigning champion Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC).
Although Organisak’s club affiliation says Nashawtuc Country Club, the Sudbury resident has a deep connection to the Concord layout which has played out perfectly for him thus far.
“I play right down the road at Nashawtuc but I have caddied here a lot in the last five years,” said Organisak. “I honestly haven’t played here in six or seven years, but I have caddied here at least six or seven times this year so I have seen the greens all the time and I know what the golf course looks like. It just gives you a good feeling and a good vibe when you feel comfortable on a golf course.”
On day one, Organisak posted a 1-over par 71. It was a round where he was 1-under par through most of the day until a triple bogey on the 17th hole derailed his chances for an under-par round.
Organisak responded quickly on Thursday morning by making a 10-foot birdie putt on his very first hole of the day – the 402-yard, par 4 10th hole.
“I had one three putt and one bogey and was able to keep five off the card which is always a fun thing to do,” said Organisak when asked to assess his round of 4-under par 66. “I birdied both par 5s. I just felt like I played a very good, clean round of golf.”
Following that lone bogey of the day on the 193-yard, par 3 12th hole, Organisak took advantage of the par 5s by making birdie on both the 17th and 1st holes. He would make his fourth birdie of the day on the 432-yard, par 4 3rd hole before delivering a highlight-reel putt just three holes later.
His tee shot on the 193-yard, par 3 16th hole left him with a long and tricky 40-foot birdie attempt that he drained to help him towards what was the low round of the day.
“It was a good putt with a lot of break in it,” said Organisak, who will be entering his junior season at Emory University in the fall. “It had a lot of speed to it, but it was dead center and dropped thankfully.”
Tied with Organisak and also two strokes back of Umphrey are Lang and Parziale.
Lang followed up his 4-under par 66 on Wednesday with a 1-over par 71 this afternoon. Parziale was the second biggest mover of the day behind only Organisak. Parziale bettered his first-round score of even par 70 by three strokes to jump from T8 to T2 overall.
“I might not have been there mentally, but I am happy with the way I responded,” said Parziale, who after playing his first nine holes of the event at 3-over has played 6-under par golf. “I got into and made some good swings and had a couple of good scores coming in.”
On Wednesday, Parziale finished his day by making three birdies and zero bogies. He jumped out to a fast start on Thursday by making birdie on his first two holes of the day.
“It was nice to get a good start because I had a bad start yesterday,” said Parziale. “I had three birdies on the front and then got it to 4 under and then made a bad swing after the rain delay. I hit it in bad lie on the left there. I almost made par. I missed a 25 footer for par and made bogey, but I played well all day and had a couple chances coming in and just didn’t get the putts to fall.”
Despite the bogey on Concord’s 7th hole as the afternoon wore on, Parziale finds himself in contention yet again for a title that he won just one year ago.
“Woodland is always difficult. The greens are usually pretty fast and they will probably have the pins in tough spots,” said Parziale, whose next major challenge after this week will be the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Golf Links (CA). “There will be a little mix between conservative play and trying to pick your spots, and hopefully you have a chance down the stretch.”
It was a different day, but besides starting on opposite sides and a 2 hour and 39 minute rain delay between his 14th and 15th holes, the result was much of the same for Boxford’s Frank Vana, Jr., who finished his second round atop the Eddie Lowery Division leaderboard and is only 18-holes away from taking home his first senior division title – and sixth title overall – in the 51st playing of the tournament.
Exactly seven hours and 30 minutes after he originally teed off this morning, Vana, 55, finished his second round of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament at 1-over 71, bringing his two-day total to 2-under 138 – which left him with a five-stroke margin of victory over Keith Smith, who skyrocketed up the leaderboard into second place with a 2-under 68.
“I played solid again today. I had two three putts again today and I missed a few in the eight-to-ten foot range for birdie, but it actually felt like I hit the ball better today,” said Vana, who shot a 3-under 67 yesterday. “I maybe did not putt as well. I made a few putts yesterday, but again, I had two three putts which can prove costly.”
Despite focusing on the pair of three-putts that came on his fourth hole – the par-4 13th hole – and his 15th hole – the par-3 6th – Vana made some key shots when he needed to, keeping him atop the field of 20 in the division and ensuring he leads the group of 12 who advance to tomorrow’s final round.
Starting on Concord Country Club’s 10th tee, Vana made par on the first two holes and made birdie on the 12th hole – a par -3 – setting up a rare personal feat in back-to-back days.
“I chipped in out of the bunker. I hit a bunker shot and made it,” said Vana following his round. “I missed that green twice, both yesterday and today, and made two birdies. That hole has been nice to me.”
Quickly jumping to under par, he added a birdie on the 17th – another hole that was nice for him in Wednesday’s first round. He eagled the par-5 then.
“The 17th played a little longer today from that back tee,” said Vana. “I had the layup. I was just in the rough and didn’t have a good lie. I had about 75 yards to the hole and hit it to about seven feet then made it. That was good.”
Playing pretty much par golf after his second of the two birdies, a total of eight in his final 10 holes, Vana said that he feels he’s in a good spot heading into the final round Friday.
“I feel good and think I’m in a good position,” said Vana, who last was crowned champion in the Ouimet Memorial back in 2010. “I hope to maybe get the putter going a little more tomorrow. If I can keep hitting it well, I think we’ll be okay.”
Vana will be paired with both Smith and Kevin Carey, a two-time winner of the Eddie Lowery Division in the final slot of the division, beginning at 10:30 a.m.