Mass golf juniorS make mark heading into summer

For Immediate Release: MARCH 10, 2018

NORTON, Massachusetts – With less than a month away from golf season officially beginning here in Massachusetts, many local high school and college players have begun their preparation for the upcoming season, which will include participation in Mass Golf championships, tournaments and USGA qualifiers, amongst others events across the region.

In the past two weeks alone, many who have found previous success on the links here in the Bay State continued to make a name for themselves across the country, either competing for their collegiate teams or as an individual in some of the nation’s top events.

Find out below how they have fared in recent tournaments.

Reigning New England Junior Invitational Champion James Imai, the 2016 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Champion joined Boston College High School sophomore Jack O’Donnell (Cohassett) at the Orlando Junior Shootout, which took place March 3-4 at the Timacuan Golf & Country Club. The only two Bay State competitors in the field, both of whom finished in the top-10 at last year’s Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship at The Orchards Golf Club, displayed their talents in the one of the top tiered junior tournaments in the country.

Imai, a junior at Brookline High School, was only one of two competitors in the 29-person field to consecutively shoot below par as he fired back to back 2-under par 70s to place first on the leaderboard at the conclusion of play. O’Donnell, on the other hand, shot 76-78-154 for a +10 finish and a nine spot on the leaderboard. William Huang, of Exeter, New Hampshire, was the only other local in the field. He placed fourth overall at 1-over for the tournament.

Gloucester native Abigail Hood, a senior for the Sacred Heart Women’s Golf Team, placed T4 individually at the Lonnie Barton Invitational held at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida this past week, guiding the Pioneers to a third place team finish in its first action of the spring. Hood carded a 5-over 77 in the first round of competition on Monday before tallying a 4-over 76 mark on Tuesday.

On the men’s side of the Lonnie Barton Invitational, Southborough native and Bryant University sophomore Connor Henderson was the top Massachusetts golfer in the field, as the Algoquin Regional graduate carded successive 3-over 75s on both Monday and Tuesday to finish at 6-over 150 and in 10th place on the leaderboard. His performance helped the Bulldogs to a third place finish in their season opener, edging Sacred Heart by one stroke.

Quincy native Jacquelyn Eleey, the reigning women’s division champion of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament and a senior for the Georgetown Women’s Golf Team, picked up her second victory of the season on Tuesday as the Hoyas placed third overall as a team. At the Battle of the Boulder Creek in Boulder City, Nevada, Eleey fired even par-72 in the first round of the tournament, before following up with 6-over 78 and 3-over 75 marks in the final two rounds, respectively.

Massachusetts was well represented at the Fort Lauderdale Intercollegiate at Fort Lauderdale Country Club on March 5-6, as 67 competitors from 10 colleges laced up for the three-round, two-day tournament. Leading the charge was Wilbraham native Matt Naumec, a regular on the Mass Golf circuit, who jumped from a T13 spot on the leaderboard to a T2 finish, assisted by a tournament round-low 6-under 66 in the final round of play. In addition to Naumec, Davidson College’s Jack Lang, of Lexington and a semifinalist in last year’s Massachusetts Amateur Championship, finished at 5-over 221 to place T25. Jimmy Hervol, a sophomore on the Connecticut men’s golf team, shot a combined 222 over three rounds to finish at 6-over for the tournament. He finished T30 on the leaderboard.

The Holy Cross women’s golf team, which has six Bay State residents on its roster, including West Roxbury’s Jackie Gonzalez and Medford’s Maxine Harney, opened the spring season with a win over Illinois College at Bella Collina Golf Course in Monverde, Florida. Gonzalez, who won the 2017 Father-Daughter Tournament with her father Gene, led all golfers with a score of 8- while Harney posted an 83. Maddy Belden and Emily Rodricks also posted scores in the 80s while freshman Tess Gallant also competed. The Crusaders had a quick turnaround as they began action at the Gary Freeman Spring Invitational in Daytona Beach, Florida on Thursday.