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BREWSTER, Massachusetts – Heading into Wednesday’s Singles Matches, Massachusetts trailed Rhode Island by 3 points. The Bay State crew quickly erased the overnight deficit and once Doug Clapp’s (Old Sandwich GC) 6-point sweep hit the scoreboard, Massachusetts took the lead and never looked back.
With final scores of Massachusetts 111, Rhode Island 91.5, Connecticut 85.5, Massachusetts captured the 2021 Tri-State Matches Tournament Title. The win adds to an impressive run by Massachusetts, now making it 16 wins over the last 17 editions of the event.
With the final set of matches going out in a shotgun format, the last day of the Tri-State Matches often turns into a waiting game. And with Rhode Island having built a small lead after Day 1, both Massachusetts and Connecticut came into Wednesday looking to mount a comeback.
Early in the day it looked like more of the same for Massachusetts: Great swings off the tee, even better approaches, but burnt edge after burnt edge on the greens. Late in the day, however, things seemed to flip, and the putts started to fall for Massachusetts.
As Kyle Tibbetts (Framingham CC) walked up the 18th hole (his 15th) he looked over and said “I forgot how to putt.” Of course, just minutes later, Tibbetts walked home a 20-foot birdie putt. That putt seemed to take the lid off the hole for all of the Mass Golfers.
Just a few groups behind Tibbetts was Nick Maccario (Bradford CC), who also set himself up with a good look for birdie on 18. After getting a read from playing competitor Bobby Leopold (RI), Maccario knocked home his birdie to win the hole.
Talking about his closing stretch Steve Tasho (Thorny Lea GC) said “I had 6 lip-outs today. But I made an 18-footer on the last hole to half the back-9 match.”
Everywhere you looked, it was more made putts for Massachusetts.
In the clubhouse, as scores started coming in, the tight race between Massachusetts and Rhode Island continued. Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) evened the match immediately with his 5 points. Then there was a back-and-fourth until Doug Clapp’s 6-point sweep hit the board. At that point, Massachusetts grabbed the lead 71 (MA), 66 (RI), 52 (CT). Adding to the lead was Ryan Riley’s (Thorny Lea GC) 4.5 points, followed by Shuvam Bhaumik’s (Thorny Lea GC) 4 points and Frank Vana, Jr.’s (Marlborough CC) 5. And once Mike Calef’s (Pine Oaks GC) points hit the board, it was official, Massachusetts was the 2021 Tri-State Matches Tournament Champion.
Jesse Menachem, Mass Golf’s Executive Director/CEO was beaming with excitement after the win. “It’s really special for the organization. Great group of players this year, and just shows how deep of a group we have here. And the way that these guys play and whether they’re representing themselves or representing the state as a team.”
Menachem also had glowing remarks about the host venue, Cape Cod National GC. “Nothing but first class here. The staff has been all-in from square one, whether it’s here in the clubhouse on the golf course, getting prepared. They’ve also been fans of the event too, and they really care about the competition aspect.”
The 88th playing of the Tri-State Matches will take place next year in Rhode Island. A course location will be announced at a later date.
Each team selected 10 of its top mid-amateur players, plus six of its top senior amateur players. Player selection for Team Massachusetts is primarily based on Mass Golf Player of the Year and Senior Player of the Year Standings.
The championship begins with foursome matches with mixed mid-am and senior teams on Tuesday morning, with mid-ams and seniors paired together in the afternoon. On Wednesday
The format will be “Nassau Style “matches (1 point for winning the front nine, 1 point for the back nine & 1 point (overall match). A competitor’s first 9-consecutive holes will constitute as their “front 9” and their next 9-holes their “back 9”. Halved matches will result in half-points being awarded.
Cape Cod National is an 18-hole championship golf course located in Brewster, Massachusetts. The club retained the services of the well known New England based architectural firm of Cornish, Silva, & Mungeam with Brian Silva being the lead designer and opened for play in 1998.