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WEST YARMOUTH, Massachusetts – For the second time this year, two USGA Qualifying events were held on the same day at the same venue. Wednesday’s morning wave of play at Bayberry Hills GC featured U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifying and the afternoon saw U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Qualifying.
Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich GC) added to his “embarrassment of riches” by shooting the course record and earning medalist honors in the process. Clapp qualified for, and played in, the U.S. Senior Open earlier this year and will now compete in his second National Championship of the season.
And in the afternoon his good friend, Pamela Kuong (Charles River CC) made birdie on her final two holes to grab a share of medalist honors with Christy Schultz (NY).
MORNING PLAY: U.S. MID-AMATEUR QUALIFYING
With this year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship being held on Nantucket (September 25-30), the players of Massachusetts have shown excitement at the prospects of competing for the title in-state.
Doug Clapp didn’t need to make a 2 on the par-4 13th hole (396 yards), but it didn’t exactly hurt him either. His 65 (-7) was three shots clear of the field and a score that has never been bested at Bayberry Hills GC.
Talking about his hole-out for eagle, Clapp said the hot and humid conditions led to the result. After seeing several shots spin back more than normal on the front nine, he adjusted on the back.
“I had a perfect number, a 102 yard gap wedge. Just hit it maybe eight feet right behind the hole and, I mean the rest of it is, you know, little vagary and luck. But I wouldn’t really have thought (the ball would spin back) had that not happened on the front nine. It crept in over the edge and when those disappear, they’re a lot of fun.”
🚨 Course Record 🚨
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) August 25, 2021
The only other player to break 70 was Sam Russell (Cranberry Valley GC), who bounced back from a bogey on his first hole of the day to shoot 68 (-4). “I wish I had that putt back (on one), but yeah, it was pretty easy living after the first hole. Just a lot of fairways and greens, made a couple 10-12 footers and just kind of cruised.”
And cruised he did, making five birdies with no blemishes over his final 17 holes. Russell’s attention will now turn to gearing up for the championship proper. “I cannot wait. I’m super excited to get to get in the zone and start practicing now and hopefully get my game in in better shape for the championship.”
Shooting 70’s and grabbing the final two spots up for grabs were Cam Moniz (Swansea CC) and Robert Henley (Lake Sunapee CC). Moniz played in a group alongside Clapp, and made birdie on his final hole of the day to earn a spot in the field. Henley got off to shaky start, double-bogeying his opening hole and shooting 39 on the front. But a blistering 31 on the back (5 birdies, 4 pars) was enough to make up for the slow start and earn him a trip to Nantucket.
In a playoff for alternate seeding, Alex Snickenberger (Wellesley CC) went birdie-birdie-birdie to finally defeat Scott Copeland (FL) and grab the 1st alternate position.
The final qualifying event to be held in New England for the U.S. Mid-Amateur will take place on August 31st at Indian Hill CC (Newington, CT).
AFTERNOON PLAY: U.S. WOMEN’S MID-AMATEUR QUALIFYING
The saying goes they save the best for last. On Wednesday, Pamela Kuong did just that. Standing on the 17th tee, she was 5-over-par and in danger of missing her opportunity to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. But a chip-in birdie on the 17th hole and a closing birdie on the par-5 finisher not only secured her spot in the field, but also earned her a share of medalist honors.
“On 17, I probably got a little too aggressive to that pin because I kind of felt like I needed to get lower. And then on 18 I thought ‘you know the pin is accessible’ so I hit a good iron shot in and made the putt. And then I felt ‘alright, that should get me in.'”
Kuong also had glowing remarks about the condition of Bayberry Hills GC, a municipal golf course on the Cape. “The course was in great shape. Great shape! This is a really nice golf course and I’m just really happy that I’m going to another USGA Championship.”
She was also thrilled to hear that her good friend Doug Clapp earned medalist honors on the very same course earlier in the day. “I’m so excited for Doug. I’m not surprised, but I’m so excited that Doug’s medalist and for me to be medalist today as well. Doug and I will make sure we share a virtual toast.”
Anyone that follows women’s amateur golf would not be surprised to see Christy Schultz playing her way into a USGA Championship. After a stellar college career at Purdue University, she continued to see success in the amateur ranks. She became the 9th player to win the New York Women’s Amateur at least 3 times.
Schultz had a mix of birdies and bogeys, but successfully avoided any big numbers. And in the closing stretch she played steady golf, and carried herself with a hop in her step. Five straight pars to close her round was good enough for a 75 and a share of medalist honors.
Susan Curtin (Boston GC) brought the smiles and positive energy like she always does. And that positivity was just what she needed during the last few holes. With two holes left to play she was 5-over-par, and unsure where she stood in the field. On 17 (par 3, 147 yards), she pulled her tee shot slightly, but still caught a piece of the green. And after a long lag putt, she was faced with a 4-footer for par that she knocked home with ease. On 18, Curtin took note her playing partner’s bunker shot that got stuck on the upper shelf of the green. She then played her bunker shot as a chunk-and-run instead of trying to use the backstop. That shot left her with a tap-in par to finish the day and grabbed her a spot in yet another National Championship.
Playing alongside Schultz and Curtin was Mary Mulcahy (Hatherly CC). The fine play of the threesome was infectious as she too played steady golf, avoiding any major mistakes. Mulcahy showed off her power on the 18th hole, where she outdrove the rest of the group by a solid 50 yards. That power will be useful next month when she goes toe-to-toe with the best mid-amateurs in the country.
This was the final 2021 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Qualifier to be held in New England. The Championship will get started on September 25th at Berkeley Hall Club in Bluffton, South Carolina.
U.S. MID-AMATEUR QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Doug Clapp (Walpole); (-7) 65
Sam Russell (Boston); (-4) 68
Cam Moniz (Seekonk); (-2) 70
Robert Henley (Somerville); (-2) 70
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Alex Snickenberger (Boston); (-1) 71*
Scott Copeland (Miami Beach, FL); (-1) 71
*Won on 3rd playoff hole.
U.S. WOMEN’S MID-AMATEUR QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Pamela Kuong (Wellesley Hills); (+3) 75
Christy Schultz (Rochester, NY); (+3) 75
Susan Curtin (Westwood); (+5) 77
Mary Mulcahy (Scituate); (+6) 78
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Lindsay Muse (Phoenix, AZ); (+8) 80
Lynne O’Neill (Boston); (+10) 82
U.S. Mid-Amateur Eligibility: Open to any amateur golfer who has reached their 25th birthday as of Sept. 12 and whose Handicap Index does not exceed 3.4.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship will be a special event in 2021 for players from Massachusetts. The event is heading to Nantucket and will be contested at Mass Golf Member Clubs: Sankaty Head GC and Miacomet GC. The event will be held from September 25-30. This is the first time the championship proper will be played in New England since 2002, when it was held at The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, CT.
Brockton’s Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) famously won the U.S. Mid-Am in 2017 which earned him invites to The Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open in 2018.
U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Eligibility: Open to any female golfer who has reached her 25th birthday by September 25 and whose Handicap Index does not exceed 9.4.
The 34th playing of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship will take place September 25-30, 2021 at Berkeley Hall Club in Bluffton, S.C. The championship proper will consist of 132 competitors playing 2 rounds of stroke play, before cutting the field to 64 for match play.
Two Thorny Lea GC members are exempt into the field: Shannon Johnson and Megan Buck. In 2018 Johnson won the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Norwood Hills CC in St. Louis, Missouri. The win earned her a spot into the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open.
Bayberry Hills is beautifully set in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts. It is a 1986 Geoffrey Cornish and Brian Silva designed golf course. The Championship Course has a healthy mix with four par-5’s and four par-3’s, playing to a par of 72 and stretching close to 7,200 yards. On Wednesday, U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifying was played from tees set at 7,039 yards and U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Qualifying was played from 6,054 yards.
Bayberry Hills has played host to many Mass Golf Qualifiers and Championships over the years, but Wednesday marked the first time USGA Qualifying was held on site. It is the second time in 2021 that two different USGA Qualifiers (conducted by Mass Golf) were held at the same site, on the same day. Earlier this summer, U.S. Senior Amateur and U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifying was held on the same day at Marshfield CC.
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