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NEWTON, Massachusetts – Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) slowly pumped his right fist down as he tapped in on the 18th hole during the final round to win the 36th annual Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship, which took place on a picturesque morning and afternoon Thursday at Brae Burn Country Club.
Maccario, who set the competitive course record with an 8-under 64 on Tuesday, was unstoppable during the three-day event as he claimed the Ted Bishop Cup for the first time. He posted a final score of 8-under 208, 15 strokes ahead of his Thursday playing partner, Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC), and David Spitz (South Shore CC). Aikens and Spitz tied for second place, as Maccario’s winning margin ties Matt Parziale’s record from the 2015 Mid-Amateur at Marlborough Country Club.
“Ultimately to get this is awesome,” said Maccario, who shot a final round of 1-under 71, sinking five birdies and an eagle. “Anytime you can tie Matt Parziale in anything, I think it’s a good thing.”
This is Maccario’s second Mass Golf victory of the year, as he won the 2019 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship with Mike Calef (Pine Oaks GC) in May.
“This would probably be my best year of golf,” Maccario said.
Maccario took a four-stroke lead into the final round with Aikens, who shot a 68 on Wednesday. He stretched the lead with a birdie on the first hole, and he pumped his fist when he hit the green with a 3-iron on his second shot of the par-5 fifth hole. He missed the downhill eagle putt but made birdie to add another stroke to his lead.
“The birdie on one got my feet under me, and I said, ‘Alright, it’s actually so I can play under a little bit more pressure,” Maccario said.
Aikens followed up his 68 on Wednesday with an 82 on Thursday. He parred the first six holes, but he fell apart with a 9 on the par-4 seventh hole. Aikens tried to chip his third shot from the base of the steep hill in front of the green. He scuffed the first shot, and it rolled farther away downhill. After his two subsequent shots also rolled back, he finally flopped onto the green and putted out from there.
“The smart play would have been to beat a putter up on the green and make five and leave, but I was trying to get up and down,” Aikens said. “Unfortunately, I just made a mess of it, and it got in my head.”
Aikens’ lone birdie came on the par-3 12th when he and Maccario hit right near the pin off the tee. Still, Maccario followed up on the 13th by hitting a recovery shot with his 3-iron onto the green and sinking an eagle putt.
“I love playing with Nick,” said Aikens, who won the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur in 2014. “You just enjoy watching someone play well and then close it out.”
Spitz was steady throughout, starting with a 73 on Tuesday and shooting back-to-back 75s to close out the tournament. Jordan Burke (Needham GC) shot an even-par 72 on the first day, finishing fourth after closing out with a 75 and 78. Frank Vana, Jr. (Ferncroft CC), who has won the Mid-Amateur a record 10 times, shot a 76 on the final round to tie for fifth with Brian Foley (Cyprian Keyes GC), Ryan Riley (Pine Oaks GC) and Sean Deale, the top Brae Burn finisher.
The 2020 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship will take place from Sept. 22-24 at Andover Country Club.
The final Mass Golf championship for this year takes place next week with the Super Senior Amateur (Age 65+; 12.0 Handicap Index) from Oct. 2-3 at Woods Hole Golf Club in Falmouth.
When making your way through the clubhouse at Brae Burn Country Club, you can’t help but notice the relics on display. Numerous photos and trophies line the walls and shelves of the clubhouse, but the crown jewel can be found just inside the main entrance. The 1919 U.S. Open Trophy sits in a beautifully lit display case, with a plaque commemorating Walter Hagen’s victory at Brae Burn.
In commemorating the centennial of the 1919 U.S. Open, Brae Burn Country Club commissioned the production of a USGA approved replica trophy presented to Walter Hagen as Champion. The trophy was authorized by the USGA’s Trophy Agent in Cheshire, England and is composed of sterling silver.
Just around the corner from the trophy is a framed copy of the results and payouts of the 1919 U.S. Open played at Brae Burn Country Club. Walter Hagen’s name sits atop the list with a final score of 301 and his payout of $500. Massachusetts native Mike Brady also finished with a score of 301, but fell in a playoff to Hagen. His second place finish won him $300. Those who tied for 12th place took home $18.
In the dining area sits a framed club: a putter used by Alex (or Alec) Ross to win the 1907 U.S. Open at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. A Scottish professional golfer, Ross was employed by Brae Burn at the time of his U.S. Open victory. Ross was also a six-time winner of the Massachusetts Open.
Found on the second floor of the clubhouse is a large framed original Topographical Plan for the land of Brae Burn Country Club. All other walls throughout the clubhouse are lined with photos of past champions and championships. Photos include Mike Brady attempting to hole a chip-shot to tie Walter Hagen at the 1919 U.S. Open. And there are numerous photos of Robert T. Jones, Jr., (Bobby Jones) from his victory at the 1928 U.S. Amateur Championship at Brae Burn. You can even find a framed jersey and picture of the 1937 Brae Burn Hockey Team.