Junior Amateur: Downes Sweeps Up Medalist Honors, Rides a Hot Putter Into Match Play - MASSGOLF

Downes Sweeps Up Medalist Honors, Rides a Hot Putter Into Match Play

For Immediate Release: August 1, 2023

HAMPDEN, Massachusetts — Given his form and familiarity with the golf course, Ryan Downes (GreatHorse) was pegged by many as the favorite in this year’s Massachusetts Junior Amateur Powered By KOHR Golf. After nabbing medalist honors with rounds of 69-66 (-9), he’ll enter match play as the number one seed.

Though he wasn’t necessarily focused on finishing atop the stroke play standings, Downes decided to kick things up a notch with 6 birdies over his last ten holes: “Let’s see, after maybe my 10th hole of the day, which was 1, I’m like, my goal is just getting to match play, obviously. But then I started rolling a few in and I was just like, ‘let’s go for medalist,’ and I ended up making a bunch more birdies down the stretch, which was really cool.”

Medalist Ryan Downes (Credit: File)

Lookout field: the 2023 Massachusetts Amateur Champion may have just started heating up: “I hit it pretty similar both days. I feel like the last six holes, I really got my putter heated up and I hadn’t made anything really all week, so it was good to see a couple go in, and I just need to keep the momentum going and hopefully the putter stays hot for match play.”

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On the heels of a trip to the quarterfinals at this year’s Mass Amateur, CJ Winchenbaugh (Oyster Harbors Club) will look to continue his match play success on Wednesday morning, when he faces off with Max McColgan (Nashawtuc Country Club) in the round of sixteen. He indicated that his match play approach may look a bit different than his steady stroke play approach: “I think match play is much tougher for me. I think I play a little more aggressive, which sometimes hurts me, sometimes helps me. But I think this year, I’ve been playing a little more match play, so I think I’m getting a little more comfortable with it, which is nice.”

Winchenbaugh posted back-to-back rounds of even par 72 to advance through stroke play. If his putter catches fire, Winchenbaugh could be a force to contend with going forward, “I definitely think the strength of my game recently has been ball-striking. I definitely think I could put a little more work in on the putting greens, but I think I’ve been giving myself a lot of good looks, so I mean if I just start getting them to drop, I’ll be all set.”

Sascha Robinson survey an approach shot (Credit: File)

Sascha Robinson (Plymouth Country Club) followed up on Monday’s low score of 65 with a balanced round of 72, good enough to secure the number two seed. Robinson carded three birdies and three bogeys. He’ll take on Nic Gebhardt (Wachusett Country Club) in the round of sixteen.

Gebhardt survived a four-for-two playoff to punch his ticket into match play. Starting on the first hole, Gebhardt, Gunnar Moore (Country Club of Greenfield), and Trevor Drew (Long Meadow Golf Club) advanced with pars, while Cole Cassidy (Winchester Country Club) was knocked out with a bogey.

They proceeded to the par-3 15th, where Gebhardt made birdie to lay claim to the first of two spots up for grabs. Moore and Drew matched pars and moved on to the 18th, where we got an early preview of a true match play situation. Moore appeared to have the upper-hand after he hit a crafty approach to five feet. However, Drew poured in a putt from the fringe for birdie, flipping the pressure back on Moore. Moore missed, meaning Drew will take on top-seeded Ryan Downes.

Colin Gleason (Barnstable Golf) captured the Pre-Junior Division with rounds of 72-79. He birdied his final two holes to edge out AJ Bodnar (Ferncroft Country Club) by one stroke.  Gleason was pleased with his strong finish, even if it wasn’t quite the final round he was looking for, “I mean I didn’t play the best today, but it was definitely fun out there. The last couple holes, finishing with two birdies, they really helped me with my mental, because before going on to do that, I was down and out of the count.”

Like many members of the field, and admittedly, the writer of this story, he was struck by the beauty of GreatHorse, “This golf course is insane, it’s the best golf course I’ve ever played. I love being out here. Just the view around here is really nice, it’s just really cool to be out here.”

Colin Gleason took home Pre-Junior Honors (Credit: File)

Here are Wednesday’s Round of 16 matchups:

8:00 a.m. – Ryan Downs (GreatHorse) vs. Trevor Drew (Long Meadow Golf Club)

8:10 a.m. – Ryan Keyes (Student Member) vs. Savar Bhasin (Pleasant Valley Country Club)

8:20 a.m. – Ryan Scollins (Franklin Country Club) vs. Brendan Roy (Sterling National Country Club)

8:30 a.m. – Carson Erick (Boston Golf Club) vs. Josiah Hakala (Northern Spy Country Club)

8:40 a.m. – Sascha Robinson (Plymouth Country Club) vs. Nic Gebhardt (Wachusett Country Club)

8:50 a.m. – CJ Winchenbaugh (Oyster Harbors Club) vs. Max McColgan (Nashawtuc Country Club)

9:00 a.m. – Zach Pelzar (Weston Golf Club) vs. Will Spring (Concord Country Club)

9:10 a.m. – Carson Muse (Winchester Country Club) vs. Matthew Costello (Segregansett Country Club)



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