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WEST NEWTON, Massachusetts – Brae Burn Country Club’s Head Golf Professional Phil Psaros described the club’s historic layout as a classic, old-school golf course.
The golf course, finished and enhanced by Donald Ross, retains its challenge and maintains its character to this day. Since it was founded in 1897, Brae Burn is one of two courses in the Bay State to have hosted the U.S. Open (1919), U.S. Amateur (1929), and U.S. Women’s Amateur (1906, 1975, 1997), in addition to several Massachusetts championships over the past century.
“We have a great tradition and history here,” Psaros said. “A lot of people join Brae Burn for the shape the course is in. The tee boxes are close to the greens. It’s a very enjoyable walk, it’s not spread out.”
The next chapter of the club’s legacy will be written when Brae Burn (par-72, 6,806 yards) hosts the 113th Massachusetts Amateur Championship from Tuesday, July 13 to Saturday, July 17*. A talented field of 144 players, representing 79 different Mass Golf Member Clubs, will compete in 36-holes of strokes play between July 13-14. The low 32 scorers advance to match play, which begins July 15. The final round on July 17 will feature a 36-hole Championship Match.
Live Scoring will be available during all rounds.
“I think it’s going to be a fun week,” Psaros said. “I think everybody is excited to see how the course holds up.”
*Due to heavy rainfall, the first round of the championship was postponed Monday.
The Mass Amateur, first contested in 1903, is one of Mass Golf’s signature and longest-running events and regularly attracts every level of amateur player from juniors, college players, mid-amateurs, and seniors. Next week will be the 11th time Brae Burn has hosted the Mass Amateur, matching The Country Club for most ever. Brae Burn last hosted the Mass Amateur in 1991 when John Salamone won the title and most recently hosted the Mass Mid-Amateur Championship in 2019.
“Coming off how successful the Mid-Amateur was a couple of years ago, it’s going to be nice to be back there for another showcase event,” said Kevin Eldridge, Mass Golf’s Director of Rules and Competitions.
At the Mid-Amateur in 2019, Nick Maccario set a competitive course record with a 64 in the opening round en route to the title. Maccario went on to finish runner-up in the 2020 Mass Amateur.
“It will be pretty interesting to see how low they can go in the Amateur,” Psaros said.
Brae Burn’s scenic views, including the signature wooden bridge connecting the tee to the fairway on the par-3 8th hole, provide the backdrop for a memorable and challenging layout. With its treacherous par-3s, including a 255-yard monster on the 17th, it’s a prime course for match play, where early leads can and have fallen apart.
“The last three holes here at Brae Burn (16, 17, 18) are very difficult from the back tees,” Psaros said. “Many matches have been won and lost on those last three holes.”
While Brae Burn has very limited space to expand the course, some tees have been implemented to stretch out the course. A new tee box on the uphill par-4 7th stretches the back tee back from 410 yards to 457 yards. The nearby second tee is now 365 yards instead of 310 yards.
“It’s a hard hole now,” Psaros said of the par-4 2nd. “Most guys are hitting hybrid or 3-wood off the tee instead of a 4 or 5 iron so it definitely makes a difference.”
However, it might not be the tees that matter as much as the other areas of the course. “The main defense is the undulating green (speed 11-11.5) and the thickness of the rough (3-3.5 inches),” Psaros said.
Out of over 800 entries accepted, 144 advanced to the Championship Proper, including a handful of exempt players. The 32 players who made match play last year at The Kittansett Club are among those who earned full exemptions.
Last year’s champion Matthew Organisak turned professional, meaning there will be a different champion in 2021.
Included in the field are nine past champions, with 2018 winner Patrick Frodigh (Dedham Country & Polo Club) being the most recent champion. Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea Golf Club), who won the Mass Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2017, is exempt after making it into the semifinals last year. Nick McLaughlin (Far Corner Golf Club), the 2015 champion, is among those who made it to match play the year prior.
Other past champions in the field: 2001-Brendan Hester (Pleasant Valley Country Club); 2004-2005-Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough Country Club); 2006–Ben Spitz (George Wright Golf Course); 2009-Bill Drohen (Brookmeadow Country Club), 2011-Ryan Riley (Thorny Lea Golf Club); and 2012-2013-Mike Calef (Pine Oaks Golf Club).
Michael Thorbjornsen, the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur winner, will be among the favorites as he makes his debut in the event. After completing his first season at Stanford University, Thorbjornsen placed T11 in both the Sunnehanna Amateur and the Northeast Amateur, a pair of elite summer events with college and local amateur standouts.
Thorbjornsen will be among a group of more than 30 college players, making up active players, recent graduates, or are incoming first-years. The list includes Louisville transfer Chris Francoeur (Amesbury Golf & Country Club), who won the 2020 Ouimet Memorial Tournament, and Michigan’s Jack O’Donnell (Boston Golf Club), the 2020 Mass Junior Amateur champion. UConn’s Jack Boulger (Walpole Country Club), Lehigh’s Owen Quinn (Worcester Country Club), and Rutgers’ Xavier Marcoux (Nashawtuc Country Club) also played with Thorbjornsen and Francoeur at the Northeast Amateur.
Francoeur is paired with Thorbjornsen and Spitz, making for one of the groups to watch during stroke play. They get underway at 1:10 p.m. Monday on Hole 1, and then 8:25 a.m. Tuesday on Hole 10.
Weston Jones (Charter Oak Country Club), who qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur, will be heading to Rutgers in the fall, while Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill Country Club) will attend Temple University. Vanderbilt commit John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club), the reigning New England Amateur champion, is also in the field.
Three young Brae Burn members are also set to compete, including Christopher Bornhorst, a former Babson College standout who transferred to the University of Colorado this past year. Bornhorst made match play in 2020 and ended up falling to the eventual champion Organisak in the first round. Boomer Jenks and Teddy Murphy, both 19 years old standouts, are also in the field. Murphy attends Division III Trinity College.
“Just like always, this championship has ha a fully diverse and eclectic field,” Eldridge said. “You’ve got all ages and everything so it’s always good to see the whole field that comes together to compete.”
*NEW!*: Mass Golf will be adding articles, videos, and other content before and during the Mass Amateur on the Mass Golf Championship Central page.
All competitors in the field will compete in two 18-hole rounds over the first two days of competition. The low 32 scorers will advance to match play beginning Wednesday, July 14.
ELIGIBILITY: Entries are open to professionals as well as amateur golfers who have an active USGA GHIN Handicap Index not exceeding 2.4 (as determined by the April 22, 2021 Handicap Revision), or who have completed their handicap certification.
AWARDS: The Massachusetts Cup will be presented to the Champion. The Harry B. McCracken, Jr. medal will be awarded to the stroke-play medalist(s). Merchandise certificates will be awarded to the 32 match play qualifiers and are only redeemable at the host site.
SPECTATORS AMMENITIES: Admission throughout the event is FREE OF CHARGE for the general public. Food and beverage will be available in the clubhouse and at the Tonic House located by the 12th tee. Restrooms are also available in the clubhouse and at any of the on-course restrooms.
PARKING: To limit the number of cars on-site, please carpool accordingly with any caddies, spectators, family members, etc.
FOLLOW ALONG: To help spectators and other individuals keep up with the action, starting times and live scoring links are always available on MassGolf.org through Golf Genius.
Starting Times (Round 1 & Round 2): CLICK HERE
Live Scoring: CLICK HERE
Brae Burn Country Club will be set up at approximately 6,806 yards and will play to a par of 35-37-72
BRAE BURN COUNTRY CLUB HOLE BY HOLE