- Golfer Benefits
NEEDHAM, Massachusetts – It was a true New England summer day at Needham Golf Club on Thursday. Hot and humid weather had temperatures rising into the high 90s as 37 junior golfers teed it up in the 9th Young Golfers’ Amateur Championship Powered By KOHR Golf.
Players battled the hot weather in the 18-hole modified stableford format, but that didn’t slow down Joey Monahan (Winchester Country Club) and Liam Reed (Charles River Country Club) as the pair each earned 39 points to force a sudden-death playoff.
If 18 holes in the blazing heat wasn’t enough to declare a champion, then 19 holes certainly wouldn’t either. Neither could the two holes after that. Monahan and Reed battled it out for over an hour as they traded shot-for-shot, birdie-for-birdie until the fourth playoff hole.
The pair waited on the short par-4 8th to get their playoff underway as a local commuter rail trail wailed into the station located a couple hundred yards away. After the purple and silver double decker train came to a stop, Reed stepped up and hit a beautiful high draw that landed on the green and stopped 8 feet from the hole. Monahan, now facing the pressure knowing Reed was in close, proceed to rip his drive onto the green 20 feet away. Both players tapped in for birdie 3s as Reed narrowly missed his eagle putt for the win.
The two friends continued to grind it out as they matched pars on the par-5 9th and then again with birdies on the same hole. With a Mass Junior Amateur qualifier quickly approaching the 9th hole, Monahan and Reed bombed their tee shots to the middle of the fairway and had good looks into the green. After Reed pushed his approach right of the green, Monahan stepped up and hit a beauty to within 15 feet. He would go on to two-putt for birdie and secure his first Mass Golf championship victory
“I’m pretty exhausted,” Monahan said with sweat dripping down his face. “I putted pretty well today, and that got the job done.”
View this post on Instagram
What makes golf such a great game is the honesty and respect that comes with it. Even in defeat, Reed couldn’t help but be happy for his friend while also acknowledging his good play.
“It was a great event,” Reed said after the playoff. “Congrats to Joey, we battled out a long duel and it was a lot of fun. He played well and I played well but he ended up beating me in the end, and I give that to him with all the respect.”
This small gesture is a healthy reminder that golf is not only a game, but a way to learn and accept the victories of life as well as its defeats.
This year marks the 9th time the Young Golfers’ Amateur Championship has been played, with Michael Thorbjornsen becoming the first champion in 2015. The Stanford star has since played on some of the game’s biggest stages, but the Young Golfers’ Amateur often provides the first statewide competition for junior golfers in the Bay State.
“This is a special event on our schedule and for our membership,” said Jesse Menachem, Mass Golf Executive Director/CEO. “They’re the future of our game.”
The Young Golfers’ Amateur Championship Powered By KOHR Golf is open to junior golfers who have an active Mass Golf Membership and did not reach their 14th birthday before July 6, 2023. The event is played as an 18-hole modified stableford where points are awarded for Eagle (4), Birdie (3), Par (2), and Bogey (1). Any score double-bogey or higher receives no points.
Despite temperatures reaching a triple-digit feel, the excitement and anticipation filled the air at Needham as players walked off the 9th green with smiles beaming across their faces as beads of sweat rolled down their cheeks. That excitement was also demonstrated by the staff and volunteers, who were well represented on Thursday, as they too battled challenging conditions while putting on another successful championship.
“It’s tremendous,” Menachem added when asked about the impact of the staff and volunteers at the Young Golfers’ Championship. “We have a core group of volunteers to step up, and they really want to support junior golf. Someone like Terry Wappel, who has been a junior golf champion, she’s out here enjoying the day meeting the kids. We have past presidents, new volunteers, and our staff treats this as we would any other championship.”
View this post on Instagram
In April of 2022, Mass Golf announced a multi-year partnership, making KOHR Golf the official sponsor of all three Mass Golf junior golf championships: The Junior Amateur, the Girls’ Junior Amateur and the Young Golfers’ Amateur.
Since 2018, KOHR Golf Center in Natick has been a program location for First Tee Massachusetts. But the facility has also developed and coached several of the top players, 18 years and younger, in Massachusetts, many of whom compete in Mass Golf’s junior championships. All three of those events will now be “Powered By KOHR Golf”. With 62 hitting bays, 14 target greens and 12 USGA Greens & Bunkers, KOHR Golf Center is open 7 days a week and has been regarded as a premier golf training center in the Northeast.
1. Joey Monahan (Winchester Country Club); 39 points*
2. Liam Reed (Charles River Country Club); 39 points
T3. Charles Lans (Hopkinton Country Club); 36 points
T3. Riley Donovan (Student Member/MIAA); 36 points
T3. Luke Edgar (Harmon Golf); 36 points
*Won in a four hole playoff
Located 20 miles out of the heart of Boston, Needham Golf Club is a private nine-hole layout with breathtaking scenery and challenging golf. The Country Club, which hosted the 2022 U.S. Open, is a quick 15 minute drive down the road. Needham was first incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1923 and this year marks its centennial celebration.
Also Read: Needham Centennial History
Needham Golf Club was designed by professional golf architect Wayne Stiles, a contemporary of the legendary Donald Ross and A.W. Tillinghast. Stiles designed over 30 courses during his career including Woodland Golf Club in Newton, and Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown.
The club manages acres of town-owned land which is one of the most beautiful properties in Needham. Since 2003 Needham Golf Club Charities has provided ongoing scholarships to Needham High School seniors and made financial contributions to Needham charities and service organizations.
Needham Golf Club not only provides an exceptional golfing experience, but it also is a certified Audubon course in the state of Massachusetts. The Audubon Program is an education and certification program that helps organizations and businesses protect the environment while enhancing their bottom line. At Needham, this means using a variety of tools to reduce the disruption of wildlife, conserve water and chemical use, along with many others that help improve its sustainability.
Although they utilize technology to help the improvements, there are a couple unique members who also play a pivotal role in course maintenance.
Goats, yes the animals that ‘baaah’, are used to help maintain the overgrowth of plants and are housed to the left of the 8th green where golfers are welcomed to visit and feed. Along with goats, Needham also features bee boxes, which helps improve pollination and elevate the diversity and sustainability of the bees’ entire ecosystem.
Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for the latest information on Mass Golf championships and events. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MassGolf.