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BERNARDSTON, Massachusetts – The competitors at Monday’s U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Crumpin-Fox Club were greeted with perfect weather throughout the morning, matching the pristine condition of the golf course. Known as one of the top championship courses in the state, Crumpin-Fox delivered yet again with beautifully manicured fairways and perfect putting surfaces.
Professionals dominated the top of the leaderboard, grabbing 3 of the 4 spots into Final Qualifying. Michael Martel (New Ipswich, NH) had the round of the day with a 3-under par 69. Martel is a familiar name in the Mass Golf community, as he is the defending Massachusetts Open champion. He got off to a hot start, making birdies on holes 2-4, before putting it in cruise control the rest of the way.
“I feel good about the way I played,” Martel said. “I stuck to my game plan and I played smart. I played back a lot, a lot of irons off tees and just hit a lot of really good iron shots.”
Playing in just the second U.S. Open Qualifier of his career, Matt Shubley (Canada) posted the best score amongst those in the early wave of play. Shubley’s 2-under-par (70), was highlighted by his play on the par 5’s throughout the round. He played the par 5’s in 3-under par.
Talking about the closing stretch, Shubley said, “I got off to a good start on the back nine there. Then kind of faltered with that double-bogey. A little bit of anger came out on a couple of the par-5 tee shots. And I only had irons in my hand, setting up the two closing birdies.”
Jeff Curl (Birmingham, AL) was in the final group of the event and had one of the most emotional celebrations following his round. After making the turn at 1-over par, Curl stepped on the gas starting on the 13th hole. He birdied three straight to get him to 2-under par, which allowed him to play for par on the final three holes to finish the job. Curl is no stranger to the U.S. Open as he qualified for the Championship Proper in 2012 and made the cut finishing T56.
Speaking emotionally, Curl said, “One of my closest friends in the whole world who caddies for me in all these events, Club Pro, Jeff Swanson, passed away a couple months ago. I put a post out this morning, I haven’t been up here (New England) since he passed and this is the first time I’ve played and probably 15 years where he hasn’t been around to caddy for me.”
After shooting even par 72’s, Will Lodge (Darien, CT) and Max Hutter (Weston, MA) were forced to wait out the remaining scores. With Curl’s score being the last of the day, the two teenagers had to quickly prepare for a playoff with each other for the final spot.
Thanks to some local knowledge (Lodge is a member of the Deerfield Academy golf team, which calls Crumpin-Fox home) Lodge knew exactly what he had to do on the first playoff hole: hole 1. He played the hole perfectly, hitting 4-iron to the left-center of the fairway before hitting a beautifully-controlled approach shot to 15 feet after seeing his competitor clip a tree and miss the green short. Lodge’s cozy 2-putt was enough to win the hole and claim the last spot. Lodge, 17, said this was the first time he’s ever tried qualifying for the U.S. Open.
Monday’s event was the last of three U.S. Open Local Qualifiers held in the Bay State in 2021. The 14 individuals from these three Local Qualifiers will look to take the final step by advancing through Final Qualifying for the 2021 U.S. Open Championship. The Championship Proper will be contested at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California from June 17-20. Final Qualifying begins next week in Japan and Texas.
QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Michael Martel (New Ipswich, NH); (-3) 69
Matt Shubley (Canada); (-2) 70
Jeff Curl (Birmingham, AL); (-2) 70
a-Will Lodge (Darien, CT); (E) 72*
ALTERNATES (In Order)
a-Max Hutter (Weston, MA); (E) 72
a-Ryan Kohler (Chesterfield, NH); (+1) 73**
*Lodge won on first playoff hole
**Kohler won on 4th playoff hole
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Built with ‘Championship Golf’ in mind, Crumpin-Fox has hosted over a dozen Mass Golf and USGA events over the past decade. Some notable events include:
2021 – U.S. Open Local Qualifying
2019 – Mass Golf Junior Amateur Championship
2018 – U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional Qualifying
2018 – U.S. Girls’ Junior Sectional Qualifying
2017 – U.S. Open Local Qualifying
2015 – U.S. Open Local Qualifying
2014 – U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifying
2013 – U.S. Open Local Qualifying
2012 – Mass Golf Senior Four-Ball Championship
2011 – U.S. Open Local Qualifying
A total of 10 players advanced through U.S. Open Local Qualifying held in Massachusetts prior to today’s event.
QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Andrew DiRamio (Boston, MA)
Weston Jones (Sudbury, MA)
John Hayes (Portland, ME)
Craig Deberg (Charlotte, NC)
Kent Monas (Akron, OH)
Billy Walthouse (Longmeadow, MA)
Benjamin Spitz (Milton, MA)
Peter French (Franklin, MA)
James Hervol (Hopkinton, MA)
Chris Francoeur (Amesbury, MA)
Nick Antonelli (Atkinson, NH)
Mike Calef (West Bridgewater, MA)
Garth McGee (Lincoln, MA)
Burgess Houston (Framingham, MA)
Shawn Scott (Tewksbury, MA)
Next stop on the road to the U.S. Open is Final Qualifying. The first two 36-hole Final Qualifiers will take place next Monday, May 24th with all others taking place on Monday, June 7th.
Monday, May 24
Monday, June 7
Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport. Made up of 90,000 golfers statewide, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Presently, more than two-thirds of the 360-member clubs are public-access facilities, while nearly one-half of member golfers are enrolled at public facilities. Mass Golf offers its member’s services including handicapping, event access, youth programming and exciting golf content.
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