Mass Amateur: Emmerich, Willett Storm Into Quarterfinals With Two Big Wins - MASSGOLF

Quarterfinal Matches Are Set After Day 3 Of 114th Massachusetts Amateur Championship At Concord Country Club

For Immediate Release: July 13, 2022

CONCORD, Massachusetts – Swampscott’s Christian Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) was the last player to clinch a spot in match play Tuesday evening. After knocking off top-seeded Arthur Zelmati (George Wright Golf Course), 5&4, in the morning, and defeating his younger brother Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club), 1-up, in the afternoon he’s one of eight players advancing to the quarterfinals in the 114th Massachusetts Amateur championship at Concord Country Club.

Overall, Wednesday’s match play action saw plenty of intriguing matchups, and six matches ended up going to extra holes. The quarterfinals begin at 7:30 Thursday morning, followed by the semifinals afterward. The 36-hole championship match begins at 7:30 Friday morning.

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Emmerich, 21, may have been the lowest seed, but he certainly entered the Mass Amateur as one of the most formidable players in the field. The Holy Cross senior qualified for the U.S. Amateur last week and shot an even-par 70 in the opening round Monday. After finishing off Zelmati in 14 holes, Emmerich turned his attention to his younger brother, Aidan, 18, as Wednesday was the first time in over two decades that brothers have squared off in a Mass Amateur match.

“I feel like nerves today were unlike anything I’ve felt,” said Emmerich on playing his brother. “Any given day one of us can beat the other. Today I got him narrowly. It wasn’t pretty. There were some good shots and bad ones, but I was happy to grind it out.”

Christian Emmerich defeated both the No. 1 seed and his younger brother during the first two rounds of match play at the Mass Amateur. (David Colt)

Wellesley’s Conner Willett (Charles River Country Club) kept his emotional week of golf alive, starting with a 20-hole victory over 2015 champion Nick McLaughlin (Far Corner Golf Club) in the morning. He then squared off with his close friend Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill Country Club), who had Willett as his caddie in this year’s Mass Open.

“I’m just hitting the ball really, really well right now, probably some of the best of my life, and I’m just really excited to keep it going tomorrow,” Willett said after his 3-up victory over Whitney.

Willett is playing the Mass Amateur with a heavy heart after his father Rick passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. But the 19-year-old Georgetown University sophomore has been dialed in all week.

“I just have a lot of perspective right now, so I’m not really nervous at all,” Willett said. “I just have to keep it going, hit some free and loose swings and see how they all fall out.”

Will Frodigh (Dedham Country & Polo Club) is the lowest seed remaining as he closed out his morning match with a decisive 8&7 victory over Kyle Tibbetts (Framingham Country Club) and then defeated Bryant University’s Cael Kohan (Ould Newbury Golf Club), 1-up. Frodigh said he’s been seeing the course well, as he played it previously in the Ouimet Memorial Tournament and New England Amateur.

“A lot of tee shots fit my eye pretty well,” Frodigh said. “I’ve been hitting the tee ball really well. I just pick and choose my spots, make a lot of good saves the first two days and a bunch of good saves today, so I think that’s the difference maker for me.”

Frodigh is now hoping to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Patrick Frodigh, who won the title in 2018.

“That was one of the best celebration weeks of our family’s history, and I’ve definitely taken some advice from him this week,” Frodigh said of his brother’s victory. “You really have to fight the course the best you can, play your own game and stick to that.

Will Frodigh had the biggest match victory of the day, an 8&7 victory in the Round of 32. (David Colt)

Ryan Downes (GreatHorse), 16, is the youngest player in the field, but the Longmeadow native held off a late charge from Rutgers senior Xavier Marcoux (Nashawtuc Country Club) to advance to the quarterfinals. Both players shot in the 60s in their match, but Downes prevailed with five birdies.

“I had two tough matches today,” said Downes, one of the state’s top recruits for the Class of 2024. “I played Anthony Vecchiarelli (Springfield Country Club) early in the morning. It was a fun match, and then played Xavier in the afternoon. It was all back and forth. I had a big lead (5-up), gave it up and then made two good putts down the stretch.”

Wilbraham’s Matt Naumec (GreatHorse), Boston’s Billy Argus (Wollaston Golf Club), Hingham’s Matt Williams (Boston Golf Club) and Duxbury’s Tommy Parker (George Wright Golf Course) are the remaining players who advanced to the quarterfinals. Naumec was the low amateur at this year’s Mass Open, while Parker, 35, a quarterfinalist in 2018, is the oldest player remaining in the field. Williams and Argus are in the midst of their best runs in the Mass Amateur. 

Here are Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups:

7:30 a.m. – Christian Emmerich vs. Conner Willett

7:40 a.m. – Tommy Parker vs. Billy Argus

7:50 a.m. – Will Frodigh vs. Matt Williams

8:00 a.m. – Ryan Downes vs. Matthew Naumec

Tommy Parker is the oldest player remaining in the field. (David Colt)

ROUND OF 16 RECAPS

32-Christian Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) def. 16-Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club), 1 up

The matchup between the Emmerich brothers was a back-and-forth battle, with winner Christian Emmerich never leading by more than two holes. Aidan Emmerich was never ahead, but erased Christian’s lead on the par-3 12th hole by making par. Christian took a 1-up lead heading into the final hole after Aidan hit his approach shot into a penalty area. On the 18th, Aidan subsequently missed a putt by mere inches that would have won him the hole, giving Christian the upper hand.

9-Conner Willett (Charles River Country Club) def. 8-Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill Country Club), 3&2

Conner Willett cruised to start his match against Ethan Whitney, winning three of the first five holes en route to a front-nine score of 32. From there, it was a waiting game between the two as they matched each other’s scores for the next eight holes, including both making birdie on the short 9th to the delight of nearby spectators. Willett finally got Whitney on the par-4 14th, only requiring two more holes to close the match, 3 & 2.

20-Tommy Parker (George Wright Golf Course) def. 4-Ricky Stimets (Worcester Country Club), 2&1

Tommy Parker completed his second straight upset of a higher-ranked player with a 2&1 defeat of Ricky Stimets, who made a comeback of his own against Matt Parziale during the morning round. After initially getting down by a hole, Parker tied the score two holes later and moved in front two holes after that. Parker finished with wins on 4, 6, 9 and 13.

5-Billy Argus (Wollaston Golf Club) def. 12-Jake Shuman (Blue Hill Country Club), 1 up

After Jake Shuman posted a comeback win during the first round of match play, he was unable to do the same against Billy Argus during the Round of 16. Wins on holes 1, 5, 6, 8 and 11 gave Argus a 4-hole lead, but Shuman took holes 12, 14 and 15 to reduce Argus’ advantage to one. Argus and Shuman both made par on the final three holes to give Argus a spot in the quarterfinals.

2-Will Frodigh (Dedham Country & Polo Club) def. 15-Cael Kohan (Ould Newbury Golf Club), 1 up 

After beginning with a hole-winning birdie on 1 and getting as many as 3 strokes ahead, Will Frodigh needed 18 holes to finish off the upstart Cael Kohan. Frodigh won five of the first eight holes, but conceded three straight to Kohan as they made the turn to even the score. Frodigh then picked up wins on holes 12 and 14 to regain a lead that he never lost, though Kohan challenged the remainder of the round.

“I was just kind of hanging in there,” Frodigh said. “It was a great battle, made a few good par saves, which were huge coming down the stretch, and just tried to make birdies as much as I could.”

23-Matt Williams (Boston Golf Club) def. 7-Nick Drago (Plymouth Country Club), 2&1

Nick Drago and Matt Williams went on back-and-forth runs for much of their match, with Drago starting the 14th hole with a 1-up lead. However, Williams quickly turned the tables with back-to-back wins on 15 and 16. On the 17th hole, Drago had to approach the green from the right of the fairway, while Williams had a good look for birdie. Williams sank the putt to win 17 and close out the round.

3-Matthew Naumec (GreatHorse) def. 14-Joe Harney (Charles River Country Club), 5&3

Naumec jumped out to an early lead against the 2015 Mass Open champion, making a birdie on the 3rd hole and winning the 4th and 5th with pars. Consecutive birdies on the 10th and 11th gave Naumec plenty of breathing room as he closed out the match with a birdie on the 14th and a par on the 15th. This will be Naumec’s first quarterfinal appearance in the Mass Amateur since 2016.

27-Ryan Downes (GreatHorse) def. 22-Xavier Marcoux (Nashawtuc Country Club), 1 up

Downes withstood a multiple-hole comeback from Rutgers’ Xavier Marcoux late in the round to secure a 1-up win. After Downes and Marcoux traded holes wins to begin the match, Downes took control with wins on 7, 8 and 10-12 to go 5 up. Marcoux wasn’t done, however, and rattled off wins on holes 13-16, including a 36-foot birdie putt on the 14th. Marcoux had a chance to tie up the score with a mid-length putt on the 18th hole, but it curved just left of the cup allowing Downes to tap-in for victory.

Ryan Downes made 9 birdies total in his two matches combined. (David Colt)

ROUND OF 32 RECAPS

32-Christian Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) def. 1-Arthur Zelmati (George Wright Golf Course), 5&4

Christian Emmerich took the lead on the 5th hole and never looked back, knocking off stroke-play medalist Arthur Zelmati in the opening match. Emmerich made birdie on the 8th and 10th holes and closed it out by winning holes 14 and 15.

16-Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) def. 17-Sean Fitzpatrick (George Wright Golf Course), 19 holes

For the second year in a row, Sean Fitzpatrick met an Emmerich brother in the first round of match play. And, once again, the Emmerich brother came out on top after a tightly contested match. Last year it was Christian, this time it was Aidan Emmerich, who finished with a 19-hole victory after making birdie on hole 1 the second time through. Emmerich also recorded wins on holes 6, 9, 10 and 13.

8-Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill Country Club) def. 25-Jacob Finard (Pine Brook Country Club), 5&4

In a match-up of NCAA Division I golfers, Temple University sophomore Ethan Whitney raced out to a 5-up lead through 9 holes to defeat Georgetown sophomore Jacob Finard. On the 13th, Finard won his first hole of the day, but Whitney finished the match with a par on the 14th.

9-Conner Willett (Charles River Country Club) def. 24-Nick McLaughlin (Far Corner Golf Club), 20 holes 

Finard’s Georgetown teammate Conner Willett defeated 2015 Mass Amateur Champion Nick McLaughlin in 20 holes. Willett took advantage of missteps by McLaughlin on the front nine to build an early lead that he held until hole 16. McLaughlin won the 16th and 17th holes to tie the score but drove into the fescue on the 20th hole and was forced to take an unplayable ball. He narrowly missed a putt that could have tied him with Willett, who sank a short putt to nab the win.

4-Ricky Stimets (Worcester Country Club) def. 29-Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea Golf Club), 19 holes. 

Ricky Stimets birdied the 18th hole and won the first playoff hole with another birdie to overcome a four-hole deficit through the first nine holes against Matt Parziale. After Stimets birdied the first hole, Parziale won the next five, but Stimets won holes 10-12 with pars to close the gap.

20-Tommy Parker (George Wright Golf Course) def. 13-Brandon Parker (Worcester Country Club), 19 holes  

There was plenty of lead-trading in the matchup of Parker vs. Parker, which ended in a 19-hole win for Tommy Parker after his three-foot putt gave him an eagle on the par-5 1st hole. The Duxbury native also won holes 1, 12 and 17 during the first 18 to earn his first match-play win at the Mass Amateur since 2018.

5-Billy Argus (Wollaston Golf Club) def. 28-Raymond Dennehy (Oak Hill Country Club), 3&2

In his Mass Amateur match play debut, Argus won the final four holes of the match (13-16), making birdie on holes 13 and 15. Dennehy started the match with an eagle on the first and later added a birdie on the 8th, but Argus prevailed down the stretch in his second appearance in the Championship Proper.

12-Jake Shuman (Blue Hill Country Club) def. 21-John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club), 22 holes 

It took 22 holes for Jake Shuman to put away John Broderick, with the former professional finally advancing to the Round of 16 after their second time through hole 4. It was a come-from-behind win for Shuman, who never led until he won.

2-Will Frodigh (Dedham Country & Polo Club) def. 31-Kyle Tibbetts (Framingham Country Club), 8&7

Will Frodigh started his round with an eagle and led wire-to-wire to win his opening match against Kyle Tibbetts, who won his opening match last year. The Westwood native took a 6-up lead with a birdie on the 9th and won the next two holes to close out the match.

15-Cael Kohan (Ould Newbury Golf Club) def. 18-Jacob Raye (Sandwich Hollows Golf Club), 6&5

Cael Kohan advanced to the Round of 16 in his first Mass Amateur appearance after defeating Jacob Raye, who began the championship with the highest Handicap Index in the field. Kohan made a move on hole 4, winning that hole and the next to gain a 2-hole lead over Raye. Kohan finished with victories on 8, 9, 11 and 13 as well to win 6 and 5.

7-Nick Drago (Plymouth Country Club) def. 26-Andrew DiRamio (North Hill Country Club), 19 holes

Nick Drago made birdie on the first playoff hole to earn his first Mass Amateur match play victory by defeating Andrew DiRamio. Drago took an early 2-up lead but found himself two back at the turn after DiRamio won four consecutive holes. But Drago charged back, evening the match with an eagle on the par-5 17th and making a clutch putt to half the hole.

23-Matt Williams (Boston Golf Club) def. 10-Dillon Brown (Country Club of Halifax), 1 up

The match between Dillon Brown and Matt Williams was an eventful one, with just seven holes ending in a tie. Williams, an incoming freshman at the College of the Holy Cross, came out on top with a 1-up defeat of Brown, a University of Maryland golf graduate.

3-Matthew Naumec (GreatHorse) def. 30-Jack Tobin (Marlborough Country Club), 5&4

Matthew Naumec knocked home a birdie on the 4th hole and took a 5-up lead through eight holes to earn his first match play victory in six years. Jack Tobin, a senior at Siena College, made birdie on the 9th but was unable to close the gap further, as Naumec closed out the match with a par on the 14th.

14-Joe Harney (Charles River Country Club) def. 19-Shuvam Bhaumik (Thorny Lea Golf Club), 5&4

Joe Harney handled Shuvam Bhaumik in 14 holes with a 5&4 victory. The West Roxbury native recorded wins on holes 1, 3, 7, 8 and 12-14, including four birdies and an eagle, to advance.

27-Ryan Downes (GreatHorse) def. 6-Anthony Vecchiarelli (Springfield Country Club), 4&2

In a showdown of Western Mass club members, Ryan Downes got off to a fast start and never trailed. Downes, the youngest player in the field, made birdie on holes 3 and 4 and then won the 5th and 6th. Downes closed out the match with a birdie on the 14th hole.

22-Xavier Marcoux (Nashawtuc Country Club) def. 11-Bill Drohen (Bradford Country Club), 2&1

Xavier Marcoux recovered from an early deficit against Bill Drohen to defeat the 2009 Mass Amateur Champion 2 and 1. After winning holes 7 and 8 to cut Drohen’s lead to one, Marcoux recorded victories on holes 11, 12, 14, 16 and 17 to close out the match.

WATCH: ROUND 3 RECAP

NOTABLE

Here are some other tidbits from Day 3 at the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. 

  • Christian Emmerich became the first person since Matt Parziale in 2019 to advance to the quarterfinals as the No. 32 seed. Since 2013, four players have defeated the match play medalist, including Ian Thimble who was the finalist at the 2013 Mass Amateur.
  • Matthew Naumec is the only golfer whose match victories both ended in fewer than 18 holes. Naumec played just 14 holes in the Round of 32 and 15 in the Round of 16.
  • Ryan Downes had the best 18-hole finish of the day, shooting a 66 in the afternoon round. The second best 18-hole score was a 68, recorded by both Xavier Marcoux in the same match and Sean Fitzpatrick in the Round of 32.
  • Every remaining Mass Amateur Champion in the field (Bill Drohen, 2009; Nick McLaughlin, 2015; Matt Parziale, 2017) was defeated during the first round of match play. McLaughlin and Parziale both lost in extra holes.
  • Holes 1 and 9 proved fruitful for competitors looking for an edge in both rounds, with hole 1 producing 34 birdies and 3 eagles and hole 9 generating 19 birdies. …On the other hand, the par-4 hole 2 was challenging in both rounds, with only one player (Conner Willett) making birdie.
  • Jacob Raye (Sandwich Hallows Golf Club) had the highest Handicap Index (4.0) of anybody in the full field of 144 but still made match play.

QUOTABLE

  • “I’d say it’s a little bit more nerves. It means a little bit more, but it’s my first time to match play so I’m just enjoying it.” – Will Frodigh on his mindset heading into the quarterfinals for the first time.
  • “Big numbers can be made here. In the stroke play rounds, I think I made three doubles and the greens are tough and you don’t have to make a big mistake to make a massive hole, so keeping it in front of you and hitting fairways and greens is huge. If you can do that, you’re gonna put pressure on somebody because there’s not a ton of birdies to be made.” – Tommy Parker on his personal keys to the game.
  • “It was funny. We were talking early on about how many times Karen [Ammerman], who was scoring our round, was going to have to say the name part, basically three times a hole. A lot of people think we’re related or brothers and we’re not, but Brandon is a great guy and a really good player.” – Tommy Parker on playing the Round of 32 against Brandon Parker.
  • “I had a good 7-iron, read the green right 20 feet past it and just had a good line on it. The greens here, if you get it on line, it’s gonna go in there.” — Billy Argus on the hole-6 birdie that gave him an edge against Jake Shuman in the Round of 16.
  • “I’ve played him a few times, so I know him pretty well. I don’t think I’ve beat him yet, so let’s hope to change that tomorrow.” — Ryan Downes on facing GreatHorse clubmate Matt Naumec in the quarterfinals.

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