- Golfer Benefits
TOWNSEND, Massachusetts – John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club) knew his junior career would come to a close at the conclusion of the 2022 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship Powered by KOHR Golf, no matter the result.
However, he ended it on a high note Friday by defeating Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) in a final duel of junior golf between the two friends, who will both head to NCAA programs to begin their freshman seasons in just a few weeks.
“It’s really a dream to end my junior career with a win and just to be the champion, it’s an awesome feeling,” Broderick said.
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Broderick and Emmerich both reached match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur at Bandon Dunes last month, where they vowed that one of them would take home the title at the Mass Junior Amateur happening just a week later.
“We were kind of joking in stroke play, ‘We have to be on different sides of the bracket or else that’d just be total bummer,'” Broderick said. “He played great in stroke play, I think he beat me by 6, I got the 2-seed luckily, but at that point, it was just keep winning. I was honestly probably as excited as he was when he closed out those two 19-hole matches yesterday because I wanted to see him in the final and we had the final that I think everyone wanted.”
Emmerich echoed Broderick’s sentiment: “At least one of us won,” he joked. “That was the goal coming into the week.”
After winning his semifinal round, Emmerich went out to follow Emmerich’s match, hoping he would pull through and earn a spot in the final match.
“I was rooting for him versus Josiah,” Emmerich said. “I was like, come on, we’ve been planning this for weeks now. It needed to happen, and it was a lot of fun.”
In just a few weeks, Emmerich will begin his freshman year on the Michigan State University golf team, while Broderick will do the same at Vanderbilt University. After the match, Broderick reflected on his time playing junior golf in Massachusetts.
“Playing the local stuff really gives you the opportunity just to kind of have a good group of friends,” Broderick said. “I think all of us here are really good buddies and it’s because of these local events that are so well-run and it makes everyone want to play in the events because they’re so well-run and that’s meant a lot to me. I’m sad that it’s over, but I’ll be playing Mass Golf events for the years to come.”
Broderick advanced to the final match after defeating local Josiah Hakala (Northern Spy Golf Club) 1 up in 18 holes in a tightly contested semifinal face-off. Emmerich punched his ticket with a 5&3 win over Zach Pelzar (Weston Golf Club).
Early in the final match, Broderick found himself down 3 holes after Emmerich posted wins on holes 1, 3, 5 and 6. While the pair held steady on 7 and 8, Broderick’s birdie putt on 9 — which had been a favorable hole for him throughout match play — indicated a shift in the match’s momentum.
“I think really the big turning point was on 7, I made a great swing and I had like 8 feet for birdie,” Broderick said. “I didn’t make it and then I made on nine.”
Broderick took charge of the match on the 11th hole, which he birdied while Emmerich bogeyed. From there, Broderick went on to win 4 of the next 5 holes, with his victory on 16 securing him the title.
“John was hitting good shots all day, but early in the match, putts were falling, he was lipping out,” Emmerich said. “I knew he was going to come back in some way. I tried to keep steady and I just made some very, very bad mistakes in the back nine, and that stretch kind of was killing me all week in match play.”
With the loss by Emmerich, it has been four years since the Mass Junior Amateur stroke-play medalist went on to win the championship title. James Imai was the last to accomplish the feat, which he did in 2018. Emmerich was also the stroke-play co-medalist at the 2020 Championship, which Jack O’Donnell eventually won.
“I didn’t even think I was going to be here after the early stages of yesterday,” Emmerich said about his Thursday matches, which were both come-from-behind wins. “I keep getting reps in in match play and just keep going I guess.”
1-Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) def. 12-Zach Pelzar (Weston Golf Club), 5&3
Emmerich’s morning match got off to a much different start than his Thursday rounds. Emmerich built a lead early, winning 7 holes on the front nine to build a 6-up lead as they made the turn. Pelzar took advantage of Emmerich’s bogeys on 10 and 11 to take back two holes, reducing Emmerich’s lead to 4. Pelzar also won on 13 before Emmerich regained control of the match with wins on 14 and 15. Emmerich’s birdie putt on 15 punched his ticket to the afternoon finals.
2-John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club) def. 6-Josiah Hakala (Northern Spy Golf Club), 1 up
Broderick battled Hakala on the front nine, winning holes 3 and 4 after Hakala won 2 to gain a 1-up lead that he maintained for several holes. Broderick finally began to make a move as they prepared to make the turn with a win on 9 and added to his advantage with a win on 11 to go 3 up. Wins by Hakala on 12 and 13 reduced Broderick’s lead to 1 hole leading into the 18th. Hakala had a chance to putt for birdie, which would have forced the match to additional holes, but his ball stopped inches from the cup.
Not a “Hole” Lot: It took 62 holes of match play for Broderick to come away with the 2022 title, which is the fewest holes of any champion since the event switched to match-play format in 2018. The previous low came from 2019 champion James Imai, who needed 63 to emerge victorious.
Low Score: Emmerich shot a 31 on the front nine during his semifinal round against Pelzar, his lowest 9-hole score of the event.
Out-of-State Crowd: There was a large crowd of spectators during the morning round who headed to Northern Spy from New Hampshire to support club member Josiah Hakala, who is a native of nearby New Ipswich in the Granite State. Hakala is the only golfer who resides in another state to make the semifinals of the Mass Junior Amateur since it switched to match-play format.
Course Stat: The 9th hole seemed to suit Broderick’s eye throughout match play, as he birdied the 340-yard, par-4 hole in all four match-play rounds.
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