- Golfer Benefits
MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Massachusetts — This is more like it. Following five and half hours’ worth of weather delays Monday, the forecast is back to typical summer conditions and should be here to stay the rest of the week.
Round 1 of the 115th Massachusetts Amateur Championship officially wrapped up this morning, and now we shift to Round 2, the moment of truth for players battling for one of 32 spots into the match play bracket. While we’ll likely have to wait until Wednesday to fully establish those spots, there’s plenty of intrigue heading into Day 2 at Essex County Club.
Here are 3 Things To Watch during Day 2:
Now that the sun is out, the players can ditch the rain pants, rain jacket, and rain boots for regular polos and shorts. The course this morning was still softened from the rain, but as it dries out, conditions are likely to ramp up to firm and fast.
Opportunities remain to fire at pins, especially on the par-3 14th, which saw 27 birdies in Round 1, by far the most among the four one-shotters at Essex. The par-4 15th, located with the old Donald Ross yellow house in the backdrop, has also been gettable for the players so far.
But there are other factors at play, especially now that the hole positions have been changed for round 2. Namely, the par-5 3rd (playing about 630 yards) will be much harder to reach now that the wind as flipped. With the pin in the back middle, the “bathtub green” on the left side might come into play. The par-4 13th, currently the No. 2 handicap hole will also have a forward hole location (9 paces on, 5 left) and with its false front will make par extremely difficult in the second round.
Northwestern University’s James Imai, who was among the leaders who finished at 1-under on Monday, described it best when he said the Mass Amateur is like playing two different tournaments.
In essence, there are 32 ‘winners’ in the stroke play portion as they are the lone players to progress to the match play to determine a champion. It’s the format that’s been in place since the 1978 Mass Amateur played at The Kittansett Club.
Many eyes will be on Westford’s Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club), who made history Monday as the first woman to compete in the Mass Amateur. She finished 4-over 74 in the opening round, with two birdies and five consecutive pars on each of the final five holes (14-18).
Matthew Naumec (Framingham Country Club), a quarterfinalist last year, finished 3-under 67, the low score of the opening round. He closed out the round with an incredible par save, after hooking his drive left and into the fescue on 18. Nick McLaughlin (Far Corner Golf Club) and Mark Turner (Bass Rocks Golf Club), both from the local North Shore area, finished Round 1 at 1-under, putting themselves in a good spot for Round 2.
Throughout the morning, players hovering around the 32nd place were between 3-over and 4-over par.
Here’s the historic cutline over the past 10 years:
2022: +8 Concord Country Club
2021: +4 Brae Burn Country Club
2020: +4 The Kittansett Club/The Bay Club
2019: +6 The Country Club
2018: +4 George Wright GC/William G. Devine GC
2017: +7 Charles River Country Club
2016: +5 Taconic Golf Club
2015: +6 Oak Hill Country Club
2014: +8 Kernwood Country Club
2013: +8 Longmeadow Country Club
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Tee times in the 7 p.m. hour are far from ideal, especially when you can only play one hole before the day is suspended for darkness. That was especially the case for the final groups of — Sam Doucette (Springfield Country Club), Stephen Peltier (Wahconah Country Club), Rory O’Donnell (Harmon Golf), and Shawn Seybert (Norton Country Club), Thomas Kelly (Wollaston Golf Club), and Drew George (Springfield Country Club) — who hit their first tee shots at 7:40 p.m. Monday only for play to be called for darkness nine minutes later.
Because they were scheduled to begin Round 2 in the morning wave, those groups will be set to play nearly all of their 36 holes of stroke play on the same day. Rory O’Donnell (Harmon Golf) was bests among them, shooting 77 in his opening round.
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