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BERNARDSTON, Massachusetts – Spots at two USGA Championships Proper were on the line Wednesday at Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston as six total competitors – three boys and three girls – claimed spots to the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior Championships taking place next month at two of the country’s premier clubs.
Three Massachusetts natives clinched the three qualifying spots for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, while Emily Nash was the lone Bay Stater among the three competitors to secure spots to the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.
Highlights from each qualifier are below.
Leading the field of 82 boys in Wednesday’s qualifier, who will advance to the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. from July 18-21, was Gloucester native Mark Turner. The 18-year old, who competes out of Bass Rock Golf Club, shot a 1-under par 71 in 18-holes to earn medalist honors. He advances to his second U.S. Junior Amateur Championship after qualifying two years ago to the Championship Proper contested at The Honors Course in Tennessee.
“It was awesome,” said Turner on his round Wednesday. “I haven’t been playing too great this year, so this is great. I started to swing a little better this past week and it worked out today.”
Turner, who graduated from St. John’s Prep (Danvers) in 2017 after winning a high school state championship, will join his brother James Turner, a rising sophomore on the Dartmouth College men’s golf team, beginning this fall. He made birdie on the par-5 5th hole on his way out, then tallied an eagle on the par-5 14th to erase a pair of bogeys and to finish his round atop the leaderboard.
It was the eagle on the par-5 14th hole that proved to be eventual difference maker, helping him avoid what would become a three-for-two playoff to determine the final two qualifying spots.
“I had to hook it around this tree on 14 – a 20-yard hook – from 210 with a six iron,” explained Turner on his approach on the 525-plus yard straightaway. “It was unbelievable that I was able to pull it off because I thought I was going to go in the water. I rolled in the putt from eight feet, which was good and sailed in with all pars from there.”
Joining Turner in New Jersey next month will be Dover, Massachusetts native Andrew DiPetrillo (Blue Hill CC), an Emory University-bound golfer, and Northampton native Peter Bowie (CC of Wilbraham), who will play golf at Bryant University in the fall. Both won out in a two-hole playoff, by making birdie the final hole, after carding matching even-par 72’s in regulation.
The playoff’s third competitor, Jared Nelson, of Rutland, Vermont, was named first alternate while Michael Rosenbloom, of Wellesley, edged two fellow competitors in a playoff of their own to earn second alternate status.
On Wednesday afternoon, Lunenburg High School junior Emily Nash led the field of 27 competitors at Crumpin-Fox Club and earned her spot at the Championship Proper, being contested at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California from July 16-21. This marks the second USGA Championship that the 17-year-old will compete at in as many months, as she previously advanced to the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship in late April.
Nash fired a 2-over par 74 in the 18-hole qualifier to earn medalist honors and will join William and Mary-bound golfer Sarah Houle (Sandy Hook, Conn.), who placed second on the leaderboard at 5-over par 77 and Alexsandra Lapple (Ridgefield, Conn.), who edged three fellow opponents in what turned into a three-hole playoff to secure the final spot. Lapple shot 6-over par 78 in regulation.
Exactly one week removed from winning the Massachusetts Girls State High School Championship at Thorny Lea Golf Club, Nash bounced back from 3-over at the turn by carding a birdie and eight pars on the back to finish with a three-stroke lead over the next best scorer.
“On the front nine, I was doing OK but I got one double bogey because I three-putted and got another bogey later on, so I was 3-over after nine,” said Nash. “In my head, I thought under was going to win, so I knew that on the back I had to play a little bit better in order to get my chance at qualifying.”
While she played much better on the back nine, Nash wasn’t sure how the results would compare.
“On the back, I got all pars and one birdie and I still didn’t think that was enough,” she explained. “Even down to the last hole, I thought I had to par it to have any shot at making it. I didn’t think I was going to get medalist, but it worked out good.”
While this will be the second USGA Championship that Nash will compete it, this one also has special meaning because it is the first one that she will have qualified for as an individual. She had advanced to the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball back in April with Providence’s Allison Paik, who was also in Wednesday’s field.
“At the Four-Ball, I had so much fun. USGA events are definitely one of my favorite, and they are so well run,” said Nash. “Allison and I are going to try and qualify for the Four-Ball later on, but I also wanted to make it individually too. This was one of my goals for the past three years actually to get to the Junior Girls, so it’s great to finally accomplish that this year.”
In addition to Wednesday’s three qualifiers, Larchmont, New York’s Alice Hodge earned first alternate status while Paik finished as second alternate. Both shot 6-over par 78 in regulation.
Mass Golf will provide coverage for its competitors playing in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship & U.S. Girls’ Junior 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, #USJuniorAm and #USGirlsJunior.