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KINGSTON, Massachusetts – Stroke play came to an end Tuesday for 103rd Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship at Indian Pond Country Club, and when the dust settled, Weston Jones (Charter Oak Country Club) and Joey Lenane (Kohr Golf Center) earned co-medalist honors.
Jones and Lenane took different paths to get to the top of the leaderboard, but both finished stroke play at 4-under-par 140 through 36-holes to earn the top two seeds. In the Pre-Junior Division (14-15), Ryan Downes (GreatHorse) shot under par to lower his mark to 1-over-145 and take medalist honors.
The remaining 16 players will begin match play at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals will be played with all matches being 18-hole contests. Four players will advance through to the semifinals and Championship Match scheduled for Thursday.
Here are Wednesday’s Round of 16 matchups:
8:00 a.m. – Joseph Lenane (Kohr Golf) vs. Nolan Skaggs (Plymouth Country Club)
8:10 a.m. – Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill Country Club) vs. Will Campbell (Bayberry Hills/Bass River)
8:20 a.m. – Colin Spencer (Cummaquid Golf Club) vs. Patrick Ginnity (Northern Spy Golf Club)
8:30 a.m. – Sean Dully (Kernwood Country Club) vs. David Cammarata-Green (Pine Brook Country Club)
8:40 a.m. – Weston Jones (Charter Oak Country Club) vs. Colby Sanville (MIAA)
8:50 a.m. – Ryan Downes (GreatHorse) vs. Raymond Dennehy (Oak Hill Country Club)
9:00 a.m. – Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) vs. Jack Moy (Pleasant Valley Country Club)
9:10 a.m. – Evan Giggey (Renaissance) vs. Kevin McGough (The Captains Course)
After round one of stroke play had concluded, Weston Jones was in a comfortable spot, but he hadn’t separated himself from the pack. Jones was 1-over par, but he completely flipped the script on Tuesday. Jones had a chip-in birdie on the 9th hole (par-4, 403 yards), and he never looked back from there. He surged with four birdies on the back, including three straight from holes 15 to 17, to finish at 5-under 67, the lowest round so far.
“I was playing well all day and then I was just having a lot of fun,” Jones said. “I was playing way more aggressive than I should have been, but I was just enjoying it, trying to hit fun shots. Then, towards the end, my proximity the whole just kind of closed in and got closer and closer. I started making some putts and it just led to some birdies. I was just kind of enjoying it and good golf followed.”
In particular, Jones had his irons working. The Rutgers University commit birdied hole 7 (par-3, 185 yards), and on the 17th (par-3, 182 yards) he dropped the ball within inches of the pin, narrowly missing an ace. Jones used his 5-iron on both holes.
“On 7, I went about 50 yards left of the green yesterday, so to hit it near the pin, it’s not shocking, but it was a change,” Jones said. “I was able to convert there, and then 17, I don’t even really know what happened. I just kind of stepped up there and almost jarred it. Those two par-3’s were working today.”
Not only did Jones do enough to catch Lenane for a split of medalist honors, but he also punched his ticket into what will be his first taste of match play at the Junior Amateur Championship. Jones is not a stranger to match play by any means having just made it at the Mass Amateur Championship, but he’s looking forward to going through it now with different stakes.
“I’m pumped,” Jones said. “It’s a lot of golf, but I’m super pumped. It’s right where I want to be and I’m just ready to get it started. “I wouldn’t say it was less pressure, but I’ve been at this stage at other events and not this event. I just kind of still had something to play for and had something to motivate me. That was kind of it. Not less pressure, but just something to keep up on.”
As he looked forward to tomorrow, Jones is not considering changing his approach.
“The key for tomorrow is I’m just gonna keep playing super aggressive,” Jones said. “Trying to reach these par-4s, trying to set up some good up and down’s for birdies, trust my short game and then just kind of hit more greens and give myself more birdie putts.”
Joey Lenane kept up the same steady pace he played with on Monday in round two and his efforts were enough to split medalist honors with Jones. Lenane was two strokes worse than he did the day prior, but he still shot 1-under 71 and had three birdies on his final five-hole stretch.
“I hit the ball pretty well,” Lenane said. “I put myself in position almost every time off the tee. I had only one or two balls that got me into trouble and I kept giving myself chances. I was a little off with the putter today, missed a couple of short ones that I probably could have had back. I felt like everything was kind of the same, other than the putter being a little bit colder today. If I just got a couple more putts to drop I could have been a little bit lower.”
Lenane was playing in the same group as the red-hot Jones and he said that sort of performance and energy from a fellow playing partner does good things for his own game.
“It’s a lot easier to play well when everyone else is playing well,” Lenane said. “Like when you play in some of the bigger national tournaments, if you get a good grouping it’s kind of tough to really play bad because you’re almost going shot-for-shot, even though you’re playing against the course. It’s just easier to play well when you’re seeing good players hitting good shots.”
Lenane is safely into match play now and is looking to go deep once again. He made the semifinals in 2020 before falling to Matt Epstein in 19 holes.
“I might hit a couple more drivers, get a little bit more aggressive, but I think I have a pretty solid game plan for this course,” Lenane said. “I have a little bit more experience than most people do here. I’ve probably got eight or nine more rounds than most people do here. Just staying patient and trusting the putter tomorrow, that’s really going to be the difference-maker.”
The match play bracket wasn’t decided without some drama. The final seed in the bracket came down to a 5-for-1 playoff between Alan Rose (Oyster Harbors Club), Nolan Skaggs (Plymouth Country Club), John Broderick (Dedham Country and Polo Club), Evan Buddenhagen (Essex County Club), and Chad Tordone (Barnstable Golf).
The first playoff hole was hole 1 (par-4, 375 yards), and Broderick, Buddenhagen, and Tordone bowed out after missing par putts on the hole. Rose and Skaggs continued on to hole 9 (par-4, 403 yards) where both competitors made par.
The action wrapped back around to hole 1, and Skaggs skulled his second iron shot over the green. Rose was on in two and Skaggs needed a major up and down to keep himself in contention for the final spot. Skaggs ended up dropping a chip close to the pin. After Rose missed his par putt, Skaggs knocked his in and miraculously won the playoff after it looked like he was sunk.
“I thought I was dead,” Skaggs said. “I was just looking at that spot right on the top of the hill to try and land it there and I did. I guess I judged it pretty well. I couldn’t see it land and my eyes got above the level. I thought it was going to go in, but it was just a tap, so it was nice.”
Ryan Downes continued his strong play in the second round, posting a score of 2-under 70 as he ran away with medalist honors in the Pre-Junior Division for competitors aged 14 and 15. The 15-year-old Downes got hot on the back nine, with birdies on holes 12, 13, 15 and 17 as he edged out the next closest competitor by four strokes.
Downes was happy to win the medalist honors, but his sights are set on the bigger picture.
“It’s a good accomplishment,” Downes said. “I would have liked to win the Pre-Junior Division, but the overall goal is to win the whole thing. It’s nice, it’s a little bonus that’s good.”
Downes shaved five strokes off of his score from Monday and now he will head into match play with some momentum. He competed in match play at the Massachusetts Amateur, so that prior experience will also be beneficial when it comes to Wednesday’s match.
“I hit the ball a lot better than yesterday, but I really didn’t make any putts,” Downes said. “I was kind of stuffing pins, I just didn’t make anything, but it’s good to get to match play. I just got to focus on every shot. It’s different, you don’t have to worry about the big numbers as much, so you can kind of go after shots.”
Downes is a young competitor, but he’ll look to make a big impact in match play.
The field of players at the Junior Amateur Championship is extremely talented and a number of the individuals will be going on to play the game collegiately in the future. Below, find a complete list of all the player’s from this week who have committed to play the game at the next stage.
|Eric Boulger||University of Connecticut (Storrs, Connecticut)|
|Dan Brooks||Sienna College (Loudonville, New York)|
|Will Campbell||Methodist University (Fayettville, North Carolina)|
|Raymond Dennehy||Lafayette College (Easton, Pennsylvania)|
|Ethan Doyle||Salem State (Salem, Massachusetts)|
|Owen Egan||Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts)|
|Jacob Finard||Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)|
|Mike Ford||Drew University (Madison, New Jersey)|
|Brian Glennon||Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts)|
|Troy Guiffre||Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania)|
|Brian Healy||Hamilton College (Clinton, New York)|
|Sam Hood||Bryant University (Smithfield, Rhode Island)|
|Weston Jones||Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey)|
|Cael Kohan||Bryant University (Smithfield, Rhode Island)|
|Vikram Konaki||University of Connecticut (Storrs, Connecticut)|
|Kevin McGough||Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, New York)|
|Jack Moy||Assumption College (Worcester, Massachusetts)|
|Michael Papmechail||Western New England University (Springfield, Massachusetts)|
|Colin Richmond||Western New England University (Springfield, Massachusetts)|
|Colby Sanville||Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut)|
|Nolan Skaggs||St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, New York)|
|John Webster III||Coastal Carolina University Club Team (Conway, South Carolina)|
|Ethan Whitney||Temple University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)|
|Conner Willett||Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)|
|Peter Wurszt||Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, New Hampshire)|