- Golfer Benefits
- Member Login
HYDE PARK, Massachusetts – It was a clean sweep of Massachusetts boys finishing atop the leaderboard in the U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier on Tuesday at George Wright Golf Course. Alex Landry (Andover) and Ethan Whitney (Westminster) shared medalist honors as six Bay State players advanced through to the Championship Proper, being held from July 19-24 at The Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst.
Joseph Lenane (Dedham), a longtime member of George Wright, shot 1-under to tie with Aidan Emmerich (Swampscott), while Nolan Skaggs (Plymouth), and Weston Jones (Sudbury) shot even-par to make the cut. For all six, it will be their first time playing in a USGA Championship.
The qualifying round for the Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship began at 12:30 p.m. but was suspended at 2:45 p.m. due to dangerous conditions (lightning in the area and torrential rain) and was later postponed. Play will resume at 7 a.m. Wednesday.
When Alex Landry was getting ready to tee off on Monday, he held his own expectations for performance in check. “Honestly, I didn’t have the greatest warm-up,” he said. “After the warm-up, I was kind of coming out here thinking that it’s going to be a tough day, but just kind of grinded through it.”
Landry exceeded his own expectations though as he recorded three birdies on his last eight holes to surge ahead and become the first player in the clubhouse at 2-under 68. It was late in the round, but after Landry finally got a birdie putt to drop, it set him up for a strong drive to the finish.
“I just kind of focused on hitting greens,” Landry said. “I was kind of rolling and just hitting a lot of greens and waiting for that one putt to drop and finally on 11, it dropped. I kind of just progressed from there. I ended up hitting 17 greens [in regulation], so it was a pretty solid ball-striking day.”
Landry, who made the cut at the Mass Open, is looking forward to his senior year at St. John’s Prep. But before that, he’ll get to enjoy a trip to Pinehurst.
“I’m very, very excited,” he said. “Once I get down there, I just want to focus on getting to match play. In match play, anything can really happen.”
Much like Landry, Ethan Whitney’s day did not get off to the quickest of starts. The incoming first-year at Temple University made bogey on his first hole and had to hit a provisional ball off the tee. However, that proved to be a blip on the radar as, after the early struggle, Whitney rolled in four consecutive birdies.
“I definitely didn’t have as much confidence off the tee as I wanted to, but I made it work,” Whitney said. “I had some really good iron shots coming in on a lot of the greens, made a couple of mistakes, but the birdies were able to offset the mistakes.”
The four birdies were important, but it wasn’t a smooth ride after that point. Whitney had bogeys on holes 7 and 9, but he picked himself up by recording birdies on 13 and 14 to card a 2-under and earn his way to Pinehurst, a feat that has eluded him previously.
“I’ve tried a couple of times, but I’ve never been able to put a good round together, but one came together today,” he said. “I’m pumped, especially with this being my last one to have eligibility for. It’s definitely a very, very big accomplishment.’
For Whitney, he’s looking at the U.S. Junior Amateur as a preview of what’s to come when he begins competing collegiately at Temple in the fall.
“It’s some of the guys that I’m going to be playing against for sure,” Whitney said. “I know it’s going to be a big jump from junior golf to collegiate golf. Length of course, pin locations, all that stuff. So, that’ll definitely be interesting to see what happens down there and get a taste of what it’s going to be like next year.”
Aidan Emmerich (Swampscott) was coming off what he called a “bad bogey” on hole 17. The lost stroke moved him back to even-par and put him in danger of having to be a part of a playoff. He stood on the 18th with a 25-foot look at birdie and with total confidence deposited it into the cup. That putt ultimately secured his spot at Pinehurst.
“I didn’t want to go to a playoff, so I tried playing it as aggressively as I could on 18,” said Emmerich, who also competed in the Mass Open. “I hit driver, had 145 in and it was blowing hard, so I had to cut an 8-iron up into the wind and almost went deep, and then the putt, I was due to make one all day.”
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) June 22, 2021
Tied at 1-under was Joseph Lenane who was playing at his home course. Like others, it took Lenane some time to get going, but he found his groove on the back nine and buried three consecutive birdies on 13, 14 and 15 on his way into a qualifying position.
“It’s my home course, so you just feel like you’ve got to get through,” he said of the accomplishment. “The scores were all lower than I thought they’d be. I knew there were going to be one or two kids under par, but I didn’t think there’d be four. I thought 3-over was getting in.”
Nolan Skaggs shot even for the round, with four birdies, as he played his way to Pinehurst. Skaggs, who will be attending St. Thomas Aquinas in New York beginning this fall, is looking forward to the opportunity to compete in his first-ever USGA event.
“I feel like I can compete with the guys now that are doing it,” he said. Skaggs credited a practice round this past weekend as what made the difference playing today. “I played it on Sunday with my dad. I’m happy I did because I wouldn’t know where to hit like half of my tee shots if I didn’t.”
Weston Jones, who made it to U.S. Open Final Qualifying earlier the year, snuck in at even-par thanks in part to one of the best shots of the morning. On the par-4 seventh hole, Jones stuck his drive down the middle of the fairway, leaving himself inside 100 yards for the green. Shooting blind at the base of the valley, he struck his approach perfectly, and it rolled into the cup for an eagle to move him to 2-under.
Jones, who last month also won the Mass Four-Ball with John Broderick, added four additional birdies to secure his place in North Carolina.
View this post on Instagram
George Wright Golf Course (Par-70)
QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Alex Landry (Andover); 68
Ethan Whitney (Westminster); 68
Joseph Lenane (Dedham); 69
Aidan Emmerich (Swampscott); 69
Nolan Skaggs (Plymouth); 70
Weston Jones (Sudbury); 70
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Markus Pierre (Marion); 71*
Zachary Colon (Bolton); 71
–(a) Denotes Amateur
*Pierre won the second playoff hole to earn first alternate status.
There’s no shortage of history when it comes to George Wright Golf Course. Opened in 1938 after President Franklin Roosevelt’s Workers Progress Administration (WPA) funded the construction cost, the course was designed by Donald Ross and has stood the test of time as one of the best municipal courses in the country.
The physical construction of the course in itself was a feat. In total, 60,000 pounds of dynamite were used to evacuate the ledge the course sits on; 72,000 cubic yards of dirt were spread to raise the property above swamp level; and 57,000 linear feet of drainage pipe were laid down to properly drain the property. The course, which now sits on 156-acres, was estimated to cost $1,000,000 to build and it is believed that upwards of 1,000 men worked on the project.
As for the namesake of the course, George Wright was a Hall of Fame baseball player with the Cincinnati and Boston Red Stocking’s from 1869 to 1875. Upon his retirement from the game, Wright became a known figure in the Boston community due to the presence of Wright and Ditson Sporting Goods.
Wright and Ditson imported and sold golf clubs and they helped develop America’s first public golf course: Boston’s Franklin Park, known today as the William J. Devine Devine Memorial Golf Course at Franklin Park, located just 4 miles from George Wright. While he was pursuing his career in golf, the legendary Francis Ouimet had been an employee of Wright and Ditson Sporting Goods.
Established in 1948, a lot of history is linked to the U.S. Junior Amateur. Check out some fast facts below:
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.