Massachusetts Open Championship Makes 7th Trip To Oak Hill - MASSGOLF

Historic Oak Hill Country Club WIll Host 111th Massachusetts Open As Part Of Centennial celebration

for immediate release: June 10, 2021

FITCHBURG, Massachusetts – Measuring about 6,600 yards from its back tees, Oak Hill Country Club has never been the longest course for a championship event. But built on each side of Oak Hill Road overlooking the City of Fitchburg, the course has plenty of defense and prestige to make up for it.

Originally designed by Wayne Stiles (front nine) and later expanded and redesigned by Donald Ross, Oak Hill features elevation changes, long par-4s, rolling fairways, deep roughs, shifting wind conditions, and lightning-fast greens with false fronts. That, plus its extensive legacy of hosting signature Massachusetts events, makes Oak Hill one of the premier championship venues in the Bay State. 

ONLINE: CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL HOMEPAGE | ROUND 1 & 2 STARTING TIMES | MASS OPEN FACT SHEET | QUALFIYNG RESULTS | PAST CHAMPIONS | PAST RESULTS

A view overlooking the front 9 of Oak Hill Country Club. Hole 8 is the high point, and hole 15 on the other side of the road dividing the front and back nine is the low point. (David Colt, file)

“If you didn’t have a scorecard, you’d say, ‘Boy, that was a long 7,000 yards,” said Jim O’Leary, Oak Hill’s Pro Emeritus, who served as the club’s head golf professional for 50 years. “Our club is committed to making sure that Mass Golf is successful. They know we’re going to do our best to make sure the participants are comfortable and the course is ready for championship golf.”

As part of its 100th anniversary, Oak Hill Country Club is hosting the 111th Massachusetts Open from June 14-16, marking the seventh time the club has hosted the Mass Open, a feat accomplished by only two other courses (Worcester Country Club and Oyster Harbors). The Mass Open was last played in 2019 and was canceled last year due to COVID-19. 

Beginning Monday, Oak Hill will add another chapter to its legacy as 150 of the region’s best players begin to compete in the only Mass Golf event with a professional purse ($75,000), one of the largest of its kind in New England.

In total, 80 professionals and 70 amateurs will take center stage, all of them advancing to the Championship Proper through exemptions or one of six in-state qualifying events. 

Scroll down in this article for event information, course preview and flyovers, competition storylines, and more history about Oak Hill. *NEW!*: Mass Golf will add articles, video and other content before and during the Mass Open on the Mass Golf Championship Central page.


AERIAL VIEW OF OAK HILL

Check out a 1-minute flyover at Oak Hill Country Club, presented by Titleist.


CHAMPIONSHIP INFORMATION

All competitors in the field will compete in two 18-hole rounds over the first two days of competition. The low 50 scorers and ties, or anyone within seven strokes of the leader after 36-holes, will advance to Wednesday’s final 18-hole round.

ENTRIES RECEIVED: Beginning with registration opening in February, there were a total of 550 entries received for the 111th Massachusetts Open, ranging from players all across New England and the U.S. at large.

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: At the completion of the play, the Clarence G. Cochrane Memorial Trophy and a gold medal will be presented to the champion. The Commonwealth Cup will be presented to the low-amateur.

SPECTATORS AMMENITIES: Admission throughout the three-day event is free of charge for the general public. Parking is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Carpooling is recommended. Food and beverage will be available in the clubhouse and at the snack shack located by the pool between the 1st and 10th tees. Restrooms are also available in the clubhouse and at any of the on-course restrooms.

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


WATCH: HOLE-BY-HOLE FLYOVERS – OAK HILL COUNTRY CLUB

SCORECARD

Oak Hill Country Club will be set up at approximately 6,619 yards and will play to a par of 35-35–70.

OAK HILL COUNTRY CLUB HOLE BY HOLE 

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
Par 4 4 4 4 3 4 5 3 4 35
Yards 385 436 356 451 153 398 462 169 406 3216

 

Hole 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Total
Par 5 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 35
Yards 456 416 434 194 432 461 414 150 446 3403

Note: Yardages subject to change.


COMPETITION STORYLINES

A collection of player storylines from the 2021 Mass Open:

SEUL-KI PARK HAWLEY, a PGA Professional from Winchester Country Club, is set to become the first female to compete in the Massachusetts Open in the history of the event. Hawley earned her spot by finishing fourth at the PGA Section Championship in 2019. She’ll also have the unique distinction of competing while pregnant she will be 20 weeks pregnant at the time of the opening round.

DANNY FRODIGH, PATRICK FRODIGH & WILL FRODIGH, of Dedham Country & Polo Club, are a trio of brothers competing together in the Mass Open. The three brothers live in Westwood, but they all qualified in different ways. Patrick, 26, was exempt after winning the Mass Amateur in 2018. Will, 23, and Danny, 22, both missed the cut by one stroke at separate qualifiers. However, both earned alternate status and, due to other players withdrawing, moved up into the Championship Proper. William is a rising redshirt-senior at Elon University, where Patrick attended college, while Danny is a rising senior at The University of Hartford.

MICHAEL MARTEL, of New Ipswich, N.H., is looking to become the ninth player to successfully defend the Mass Open title. Martel’s one-stroke win in 2019 was his first as a professional, and this year he advanced to U.S. Open Final Qualifying.

JASON THRESHER, of West Suffield, Conn., is trying to get back to his winning ways after winning three straight Mass Opens between 2016 and 2018. Only Alex Ross, Geoffrey Sisk, Paul Harney, and Harold “Jug” McSpaden have won the Mass Open four times or more. 

FRAN QUINN, JR, of Worcester, is slowly working his way back to becoming a regular participant on the PGA Tour Champions. Nearly two years ago, he suffered a severe shoulder injury after stepping in a pothole while in New York City. A four-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour (nee Nationwide Tour), Quinn earned a partial medical exemption but has only competed in some tour events through sponsor exemptions. He’ll be joined in the field by his son, Owen Quinn, who recently finished his college career at Lehigh University, and has often caddied for his father. Fran Quinn, the 1990 Mass Open champ, is also playing in the same group as Kyle Gallo, who won the 2011 Mass Open at Oak Hill.

ETHAN WHITNEY, of Oak Hill Country Club, will be one of two representatives from the host club competing in the event. The other is Bucky Buchanan, the head golf professional, who has an exemption. Whitney, 18, has been a lifetime member of Oak Hill and got his start in golf at age 10 when he attended a golf and tennis camp there. Since then, he has developed into an accomplished junior golfer, finishing T4 in the 2020 New England Jr PGA Championship and advancing to match play in the 2020 Mass Junior Amateur championship. In the fall, he’ll join the Temple University men’s golf team, whose head coach is Fran Quinn’s brother, Brian Quinn, the 2003 Mass Open champion.

MATT PARZIALE, of Thorny Lea Golf Club, is in the field for the first time since 2017. In 2018 and 2019, Parziale played in the U.S. Open after earning exemptions from winning the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Parziale, a six-time Mass Golf Player of the Year, has finished T2 twice in the Mass Open (2014 and 2015) and finished 5th in 2016. This year, he’s paired with Ryan Gendron, who finished runner-up in 2019.

JEFF CURL, of Birmingham, Ala., is probably one of the more well-traveled golfers of the field. But he’s also one of few Native American professional golfers. Curl, who placed 56th in the 2012 U.S. Open, is a member of the Northern Wintu tribe of Northern California. He’s the youngest son of Rod Curl, who was the first full-blooded Native American to win a PGA Tour event. In the 1974 Colonial National Invitational, Rod Curl edged Jack Nicklaus by one stroke. Jeff Curl advanced to U.S. Open Final Qualifying through a Local Qualifier at Crumpin-Fox in May.

JIMMY HERVOL, of Hopkinton, & ZACH ZABACK, of Farmington, Conn., are both former standouts at UConn who were set to play in the Mass Open. Instead, both men qualified for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines through Final Qualifying on Monday in Purchase, New York. Hervol was runner-up in the 2019 Mass Amateur Championship, while Zaback placed well in the last two Mass Opens (T5 in 2018 and T6 in 2019).

OAK HILL HISTORIC FACTS

As Oak Hill celebrates its centennial, here are some notes on the club’s history.

  • Golf first came to Fitchburg in 1897 with the formation of the Alpine Golf Club, a founding member club of Mass Golf. But members broke off and purchased the former Rose Farm in 1917 to build Oak Hill. Work began on the new course in 1919, and Alpine closed during World War II.
  • Wayne Stiles designed Oak Hill’s original front nine, which opened for play on the Fourth of July in 1921. The Fitchburg Sentinal reported on the course’s debut by declaring that, “It is undoubtedly the equal if not the superior of any nine-hole course in this region and will be even better later.”
  • The course’s front and back nines are separated by Oak Hill Road. The front nine and high point (about 1,000 ft above sea level) is on the clubhouse side, and players cross the road to play the back nine, which dips into the valley and measures about 200 yards longer than the front. Longtime member Henry St. Cyr says it’s “A Tale Of Two Golf Courses.”
  • In 1925, the club hired famed architect Donald Ross (winner of the inaugural Mass Open) to design the back nine for a cost of $65,000 on the newly acquired land across the street.
  • In the grand opening of the back nine on July 30, 1927, Johnny Farrell, the 1927 Mass Open winner, defeated U.S. Open champion Tommy Armour in a 36-hole exhibition match.
  • Oak Hill golf course superintendent Michael Hughes designed the club’s centennial coat-of-armor crest. Hughes was previously the superintendent of Whitinsville Golf Club, another classic Ross design. The commemorative logo is affixed to wooden flagsticks, a relic of the club’s past. (Mass Golf will use its own flagsticks for the Mass Open.)

  • Donald Ross agreed to completely redesign the front nine, giving the course 18 greens designed by Ross. According to Oak Hill pro Bucky Buchanan, when Ross decided to redesign the front nine, the board put Nos. 1-9 in a hat and the number they drew was the green they had to finance. “They’re all different, they’re all unique, and they’re difficult to read,” Tom Bagley, past president of Mass Golf and Oak Hill Country Club, said of the greens. “If was a spectator coming out to watch the tournament, I would spend a lot of my time around the greens, seeing how the pros handle the reads and the breaks and the speeds.”
  • Gene Sarazen won the 1935 Mass Open, the first year it was held at Oak Hill, by a commanding 14 strokes. The victory came just months after Sarazen won the Masters while sinking a double eagle on Augusta National’s 15th hole, which was dubbed the “shot heard ‘​round the world.”
  • Harold “Jug” McSpadden won the first of his four Mass Opens when Oak Hill hosted again in 1936. According to his obituary in the New York Times, not even McSpadden knew where he got his nickname.
  • The original clubhouse was built in August 1921 but burned down in June 1941. The fire did not damage the golf course, and golf and tennis activities were allowed to continue. The new modified colonial clubhouse opened about one year later. (see below)
  • Oak Hill first hosted the Massachusetts Amateur in 1961. Ted Bishop won the title 15 years after capturing the U.S. Amateur. Longtime Oak Hill member Henry St. Cyr was his caddy.
  • Notable club champions include Joanne Catlin (22 women’s club championships), Jim Ruschioni (18 men’s club championships), and Arthur Peterson (17-time men’s club championships).
  • Shawn Warren, a Falmouth, Maine resident, holds the course record 10-under 60 in Oak Hill’s pro-am in 2014. Warren is in the 2021 Mass Open field.
  • Kyle Gallo earned a spectacular comeback victory in 2011 at Oak Hill, rallying from 4 strokes down on the 14th hole during the final round to win the title. Gallo will play in the 2021 Championship Proper.

 

The view from the front of Oak Hill’s colonial clubhouse. The new clubhouse provided larger areas, such as a dining room. (Mass Golf)

 

MASS OPEN FACTS & FIGURES

The first Massachusetts Open was played at Vesper Country Club in Tyngsborough in 1905, with famed golf course architect Donald Ross winning the title. The Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA) hosted the event until 2017. In 2018, the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM) merged into the MGA to form Mass Golf.

Event winners include several well-known figures in golf history, both amateurs and professionals alike. Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Horton Smith, Julius Boros, Paul Harney, Dana Quigley, Geoffrey Sisk, Rob Oppenheim, and Evan Harmeling all took home the top prize as professionals. Francis Ouimet, Jesse Guilford, Don Hoenig, Kevin Johnson, and Kevin Quinn all won as amateurs. In 1919, Jesse Guilford became the first amateur to win the title, and the 1921 U.S. Amateur champion won it again in 1929.

Francis Ouimet, the winner of the 1913 U.S. Open, took home his lone Mass Open title in 1932. During the early years of the event, it was considered a touring event by professionals across the country. In recent years, young golf professionals have dominated the event, with the past five champions being professional golfers in their 20s.

The youngest winner of the Mass Open is Kevin Johnson, who won the 1986 championship at age 19. Jim Browning, who won the 1965 Mass Open age 50, is the oldest winner. Browning also won it in 1953.

BY THE NUMBERS 

150: Total Number Of Players

12: States represented (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina)

62: Number of Mass Golf Member Clubs Represented

15: Age of Patrick Ginnity, the youngest player in the field.

71: Age of Paul Parajeckas, the oldest player in the field

17: The number of top 25 amateur players in the field from the 2020 Mass Golf Player of the Year points race.

+6.2: Handicap index of Chris Francoeur, the best one in the field

15,000: Number of dollars that go to the winner of the Mass Open

SOCIAL MEDIA

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