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HARWICH, Massachusetts – Following the completion of the first two rounds of match play Wednesday at the 102nd Massachusetts Junior Amateur, just four players remain at Cranberry Valley Golf Course. They will compete in tomorrow’s semifinal matches beginning at 7 and 7:10 a.m. The winners will move on to the 18-hole Championship Match immediately following the morning matches.
John Broderick (Dedham C&PC), the 2020 New England Amateur champion, is back in the semifinals for the second straight year. In the semifinals, he’ll face Jack O’Donnell (Boston GC), who is making his first semifinal appearance along with Joseph Lenane (KOHR Golf) and Matthew Epstein (Hopkinton CC).
MONDAY ‘A’ BRACKET
4-Jack O’Donnell def. 8-Owen Egan, 3&1
Jack O’Donnell has played in the Junior Amateur six times, and in one of his final junior golf events, he’s moving on to the final day for the first time.
“If anything it was a confidence booster just knowing I played it a bunch,” said O’Donnell, who’s heading to the University of Michigan in the fall.
O’Donnell certainly played confidently as he took 3-up lead on the front nine. Egan countered by winning the next two holes, but O’Donnell upped lead by winning the 12th. He closed out the match on the par-3 17th by hitting his approach shot to 3 feet and tapping in after Egan missed his par putt above the hole.
“I was hitting the ball really well the whole day,” O’Donnell said. “The putting wasn’t great, but my ball striking was definitely the best.”
Egan, who won an MIAA D2 state championship at Winchester High School in the fall, made his lone birdie on the par-4 12th to pull get within 1, but was unable to tie it.
O’Donnell now gets a rematch with John Broderick, who eliminated him in the Round of 16 last year.
3-John Broderick def. 7-Ethan Whitney, 2&1
John Broderick, a rising junior at Belmont Hill School, recently announced his verbal intent to attend Vanderbilt University. Still, winning the Junior Amateur certainly would be a nice touch to his resume.
Broderick called his quarterfinal match “a grind” as he battled swirling Cape winds and overcame an early 2-up lead by Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill CC) to make it back to the semifinals for the second straight year. He’ll now face Jack O’Donnell, who he defeated in last year’s Round of 16.
“He’s obviously a great player,” Broderick said. “Out on this course, you have to play well, especially in match play, and anybody can beat anyone in any round so you have to go out there and try to shoot the best number you can.”
Whitney won two of the first three holes, but Broderick turned the momentum around on the seventh. After hitting scuffing a bunker shot, he chipped in to win the hole. He also chipped in again on the 16th to take a 2-up lead.
“It’s been almost a year since I’ve chipped in,” Broderick said. “It was a huge turnaround because in your brain, once you hit a terrible bunker shot you’re thinking you’re two down now.
As for the chip on 16, “That one I knew it was going in right when it landed.”
Broderick also has a chance at history as Nick McLaughlin is the last person to win both the Junior Amateur and New England Amateur title. Even with the reputation of the reigning New England champion, Broderick said most pressure came from stroke-play qualifying on Monday.
“One-day qualifiers are never my thing,” Broderick said. “I’ve had some issues with those. I was. over par until I made three birdies in a row at the end of the Monday round just to get in, and that was way more of the nerve-wracking part because I think once you’re in match play, I know I can. beat these guys.”
TUESDAY ‘B’ BRACKET
4-Matthew Epstein def. 8-A.J. Gilpin, 19 holes
Matthew Epstein said it was a long ride home after losing in match play the year prior. He’ll stick around for another day this time as he outlasted A.J. Gilpin (Boston GC), who overcame a 3-down deficit to force a sudden-death playoff.
On the 10th tee for the playoff, though, Gilpin pushed his iron shot into the hazard on the right, punched out and then hit his approach over the green. Epstein hit his second shot to the left greenside rough, but he didn’t even have to putt it out for the win as Gilpin conceded after missing his long bogey putt.
“It’s big,” said Epstein, an incoming freshman at William & Mary College. “To make it again this year in my last event before college, it means a lot to make it this far.”
The match was tied through nine holes, but Epstein won the next three, including a birdie on the 11th. Though the lead crumbled with Gilpin making a clutch putt on the 18th, he was confident he would prevail.
“I felt like I was in control of my game,” Epstein said. “He was just hitting some really good shots, and. I knew that I just played the law of averages and just kept doing what I was doing, I could come through.”
Epstein will face his stroke play partner Joseph Lenane (KOHR Golf), who finished third place in last week’s Ouimet Memorial Tournament.
“He’s in good form so it’ll be a test,” Epstein said.
2-Joseph Lenane def. 6-Evan Giggey, 4&3
Joseph Lenane continued his stellar summer play by cruising to a victory against Evan Giggey (Renaissance). Finding himself 1-down after the first five, Lenane won holes 7-9 to close out the front with a two-hole lead. A win on 12 for Giggey would bring him back within one, but Lenane would then rattle off three straight wins on holes 13, 14 and 15, a stretch that he played in 3-under par.
“My second match was good,” Lenane said. “We were back and forth on the front nine. I made a birdie on eight and par on nine to get back up on him. Then an eagle on 14 and birdie on 15 to close the match out. It was a really good match overall.”
A solid player in his own right, Giggey provided a great test to Lenane in his afternoon match, one that he thought might have had the potential to go longer than it did.
“I thought we were gonna go a little bit longer than just to 15, but I felt like I had a lot of momentum going into those final holes,” Lenane said.
Lenane is looking to make a serious bid at the title of Massachusetts Junior Amateur Champion, especially coming off of last year where he lost in the quarterfinals at Crumpin-Fox.
“It’s good to get to the round of four for tomorrow,” Lenane said. “It should be really fun.”
MONDAY ‘A’ BRACKET
8-Owen Egan def. 1-Max Hutter, 19 holes
Owen Egan was able to two-putt to victory on the lone playoff hole to defeat Max Hutter (Weston GC), who was 6-under Monday to earn stroke-play medalist honors. Egan kept the match tied with a clutch putt to save par on the 17th. Hutter went up-and-down for par, and though Egan left his chip from the left greenside rough short, he sank the 15-footer. Following a tie on the 18th, Egan found the green in two, while Hutter found the left rough. After chipping on to about 8 feet, he missed his par putt, allowing Egan to make par and win the match.
4-Jack O’Donnell def. 5-Raymond Dennehy IV, 5&4
Jack O’Donnell made birdie four times to earn his first spot in the quarterfinals. His birdies on holes 3, 7 and 8 put him 5-up at the turn, and then he won the 10th. Raymond Dennehy IV (Oak Hill Country Club) won the 12th but the match ended after a tie on the final two holes.
7-Ethan Whitney def. 2-Spencer Dumas, 2&1
Ethan Whitney took a 3-up lead through 10 holes, and though Spencer Dumas (Franklin CC) cut it to 1-up with a birdie on the 14th, Whitney clinched the match with a par on the 17th. Whitney also made the quarterfinals in 2018.
3-John Broderick def. 6-Brian Glennon, 6&5
John Broderick never lost a hole, making birdie three times on the front nine before winning the 10th and 11th and clinch the match through 13 holes. Brian Glennon (Cohasset GC) made his lone birdie on the second hole to match Broderick, who made the semifinals last year.
TUESDAY ‘B’ BRACKET
8-A.J. Gilpin def. 1-Aidan Emmerich, 1-up
A.J. Gilpin sank a 40-foot birdie putt from behind the pin on the 18th hole to knock off Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood CC). Gilpin, an incoming freshman at Lehigh University, lost the first two holes but tied the match with a birdie on the 11th followed by a par on the 12th. With the match tied entering the par-5 18th, both players hit their approach shots about 40 feet behind the pin. Emmerich, who was medalist at 4-under Tuesday, left his putt short, and Gilpin made his to win it.
4-Matt Epstein def. 5-Dan Brooks, 3&2
After falling in the Round of 16 last year, Matt Epstein took a 3-up lead through seven holes. Epstein won holes 11 and 12 to increase his lead to 4-up. Dan Brooks (Dudley Hill CC) fought back, making an eagle on the par-4 15th, but Epstein parred the 16th to clinch it.
2-Joseph Lenane def. 7-Shan Syed, 7&6
Joey Lenane got back to the quarterfinals for the second straight year by winning five of the first seven holes to take an early 5-up lead. Shan Syed (South Shore CC) won the fourth hole, but he made bogey on holes 10, 11 and 12 to end the match.
6-Evan Giggey def. 3-Ben Catudal, 1-up
Trailing by 1 entering the 17th hole, Evan Giggey won the final two holes with a pair of pars to advance to match play for the first time. Ben Catudal (Milton-Hoosic Club), the co-Pre-Junior Division champion, trailed by 1 through nine holes but took his only leads on holes 12 and 16.