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MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Massachusetts | Pawtucket, Rhode Island – Entering Tuesday, the state of Massachusetts knew that it was going to have significant representation next month at Pebble Beach for the 118th playing of the U.S. Amateur Championship, the result of two Bay State golfers exempt into the Championship field and two players that qualified in Maine on Monday. Following a pair of 36-hole qualifiers held across the region on Tuesday, the Massachusetts contingent expanded by five golfers thanks in part to a sweep of the leaderboard at Essex County Club and an additional two qualifiers from Pawtucket Country Club.
An impressive 1-under 139 over two rounds by Mark Turner on the Essex County Club layout led the charge of three competitors who qualified on the North Shore, which also saw Steven DiLisio and James Imai advance, while collegiate teammates Davis Chatfield and Alex Jamieson also qualified at Pawtucket.
A huge day for #MassGolf! 5 Bay State golfers qualify for the @usga #USAmateur Championship at two sites Tuesday, increasing the number of locals in the championship field to nine (!!!). Congrats to Mark Turner, Davis Chatfield, Steven DiLisio, James Imai and Alex Jamieson! On their way to Pebble Beach! Full recap at massgolf.org
The quintet of golfers from the Commonwealth join reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt Parziale of Brockton, 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley, and the likes of both Patrick Frodigh, 2018 Massachusetts Amateur Champion and Matt Cowgill, who qualified on Monday in York, Maine.
Fresh off a match play appearance at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship last week at Baltusrol Golf Club, Gloucester native and Dartmouth College-bound freshman Mark Turner added another career first to his playing resume by earning medalist honors on his way to qualifying for the U.S. Amateur championship. The 18-year old former St. John’s Prep star shot a 1-under 69 par in his morning round, then followed up with an even par 70 in his second 18 to finish at 1-under par 139 for the day. His finish today was momentous.
“It’s going to be so exciting, especially at Pebble Beach,” said Turner on his finish atop the leaderboard that punches his ticket to the West Coast from August 13-19. “I played great today. The course is unbelievable. It was so difficult. You just have to focus on hitting the greens out there because that is the only place that you can make par from for the most part.”
And par he did make, carding a par or better on 33 of the 36 holes.
In his morning round, Turner birdied four of his first six holes which set the pace for the first half of the day, and made par on 10 of his final 11 holes to finish at 1-under 69 – good enough for the second spot on the board at the completion of the morning wave.
It was his morning round that helped him battle through his afternoon round. Playing the same layout in the afternoon, Turner bogeyed the fourth hole, birdied the 12th hole and made par on the other 16 holes to finish his second round at even par.
“I kind of knew where I stood for the most part most of the day because I was one of the leaders going into the second round,” said Turner, who also recently competed at the 110th Massachusetts Amateur Championship. “The wind was still whipping this afternoon so I had to just keep on making pars and hit it in the middle of the green. If I were to miss the green, I knew I just had to get up and down. I knew I would be fine. If I just kept on making par, which is what I tried to do, and I was pretty successful at that today.”
In addition to Turner, Swampscott’s Steven DiLisio, a rising junior on the Duke University Men’s Golf team, advanced to his first career U.S. Amateur on Tuesday after shooting 71-70-141 to garner the second position on the leaderboard.
“I have never been out to Pebble, so it will be a lot of fun,” said DiLisio after qualifying for his U.S. Amateur Tuesday. It’s exciting. It’s another opportunity. It’s 80 guys going for three spots here, so it feels good and I am just really looking forward to it.”
2016 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Champion James Imai, of Brookline, finished tied for the third spot with Austin Teal of Loudonville, N.Y. after the pair shot matching 3-over 143 for the 36-hole qualifier, which was ultimately decided in a two-hole playoff. Imai shot a 4-over during his first 18-holes, but rebounded by shooting a 1-under 69 in his second 18 to move into a tie for third place on the leaderboard.
After both carded pars on their first hole at Essex, Imai found the green in two strokes on their second playoff while Teal got stuck in the fescue, which allowed Imai to secure the final spot and entrance into his first U.S. Amateur Championship.
“It’s obviously exciting, especially knowing it’s at Pebble Beach,” said Imai, who was playing in his fourth U.S. Amateur qualifier dating back to 2015. “I saw Mark [Turner] qualify as well, he is one of my best friends, and Michael [Thorbjornsen] recently got in with his win [at the U.S. Junior Amateur], so just to be part of that and to represent Mass Golf is going to be a lot of fun.”
At the Pawtucket Country Club qualifier, conducted by the Rhode Island Golf Association, two of the three spots were won by Bay State natives and collegiate teammates at the University of Notre Dame.
Attleboro resident Davis Chatfield earned medalist honors after firing back-to-back 68’s in the 36-hole qualifier while Duxbury’s Alex Jamieson was one of four competitors to shoot a two-round score of 1-under 137. Both Jamieson and Oklahoma State-bound golfer Patrick Welch of Providence won out in the first playoff hole to advance to the U.S. Amateur Championship.
The two qualifiers conducted at the Mass Golf member clubs Tuesday represented the 91st and 92nd of its kind held across North America dating back to the second of July. A total of four more will be held over the course of the next two days. Entries were open to amateur golfers with an up-to-date Handicap Index® based on ratings for men not exceeding 2.4 under the USGA Handicap System.
Mass Golf will provide coverage for its competitors playing in the U.S. Amateur Championship. Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MassGolf and #USAmateur.