- Golfer Benefits
MARSHFIELD/DUXBURY, Massachusetts – Matt Montt (Plymouth Country Club) and Ryan Riley (Thorny Lea Golf Club) had a plan to do what they love to do on Tuesday: hit drivers and wedges. The result was birdies, and lots of them.
Montt and Riley combined for a bogey-free 10-under-par 62 to take a commanding 2-stroke lead over the field in the 41st Mass Four-Ball Championship, co-hosted by Marshfield Country Club and Duxbury Yacht Club. Riley won this event three straight times with Herbie Aikens from 2009-2011 and now has the chance to win it with a new partner.
“We have fun and feed off each other and play a lot of golf together,” said Riley, the 2011 Mass Golf Richard D. Haskell Player of the Year. “Today we were able to hit a lot of drivers and a lot of wedges and give ourselves putts, and the greens were perfect, so if you put yourself in good spots you could make good aggressive putts.”
Mass Four-Ball entries are open to two-person teams of amateur golfers who have an active Mass Golf Membership with a combined Handicap Index® not exceeding 6.0 (at the time of registration).
The best 7 scores Tuesday came from Duxbury Yacht Club, with Plymouth Country Club’s Jonathan Stoddard and Nick Drago each making four birdies to finish the day in second place at 8-under. The low score from Marshfield came from Brae Burn Country Club’s Cullen Onstott and Jeff Steckmest, as they carded a 5-under 65 with just one bogey.
Three teams finished the morning wave in the lead at 7-under 65 — Mark O’Sullivan (Framingham Country Club) and Aengus McAllister (The Country Club); Mike Calef (Pine Oaks Golf Club) and Kyle Tibbetts (Framingham Country Club), and Glen Sutton (Belmont Country Club) and Brandon Yip (Miacomet Golf Course) — but the day still belonged to Riley and Montt.
After shooting 4-under on their first nine, the pair caught fire. Montt put his approach to 2 feet and tapped in. On the par-3 4th, Riley hit his shot to 8 feet and made birdie, and then the pair got seperation with three consecutive birdies on holes 6-8. They often took the pressure off each other by having one player in for par.
“It was smooth out there for us,” said Montt, who finished third in the 2019 Four-Ball with Gregory DiBona. “We played well, we hit greens, we made putts, we’re hoping to do it again tomorrow.”
Calef was strong in stretches as he birdied holes 3-5 and 15-16, but he made about 15 feet of par putts on the last two holes to keep the team in contention heading to the final round.
“You have to get off to a good start,” Calef said. “On hole 3, we got one and started rolling. [Kyle] has played these golf courses more than I have so he just tells me where to hit it and I try to hit it there.”
With rain in the forecast Wednesday, they said rain clothes and cart covers will be key to another anticipated raw spring day.
In their fifth time competing in the Mass Four-Ball as a pair, Sutton and Yip benefitted from several long birdie putts and with birdies on holes 15, 16 and 18 they remain near the top of the leaderboard.
“It was a solid round of golf and we gave ourselves some chances,” Sutton said.
Yip added: “All together it was a great first day.”
As Morgan Smith (Vesper Country Club) stepped over her opening tee shot Tuesday at Marshfield Country Club, there was a loud thud from the ice machine at the snack shack near the tee. While the sudden noise would likely make many golfers step off, Smith was undeterred and crushed the ball down the middle of the fairway.
In this moment, Smith not only displayed poise, but she made history by becoming the first known woman in modern times to play in the Mass Four-Ball.
“That’s a pretty cool honor, but it’s just like [being] one of the guys out there,” said Smith, a +3.9 handicap who qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur last year. “Mass Golf events are some of my favorite of the year, so I always jump at the opportunity to play in another one.”
HISTORIC MOMENT: Westford teenager Morgan Smith has become the first known woman in modern times to play in the Mass Four-Ball Championship. The event began in 1981. #MassFourBall | #MassGolf pic.twitter.com/H5OwMgDbKr
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) May 3, 2022
Smith teamed with Maxwell Johnson (Renaissance), whose father is friends with the Smith family, and the pair finished 1-under 69 at Marshfield Country Club. Smith said she needed a partner for next week’s Mass Mixed Four-Ball Championship for the Stone Cup, but Johnson also needed a partner for the Mass Four-Ball so they decided to team up for both.
“Max played pretty well. He made quite a few birdies so that was helpful,” Smith said of Johnson. “When it came to strategy, we talked numbers for a bit but for the most part, let each other play our own games.”
Though she was playing from longer tees (6,300 yards), Smith said that her distance work with Coach Kevin Duffy has paid huge dividends. In fact, Smith birdied both par-4s that were over 420 yards (Holes 5 and 12).
“My distances are a lot different this year,” Smith said. “I definitely need to dial in the irons on some of the mid-range par-4s.”
More than ever, women are beginning to compete in Mass Golf Championships. In 2021 alone, Seul Ki Hawley became the first woman to play in the Mass Open, and Shannon Johnson played in the Mass Mid-Amateur for the second time.
As implied in its name, Duxbury Yacht Club was founded 1875 as a home for sailing. About a century ago it was the second-largest yachting center in the state. Located on Duxbury Bay on the north shore of Plymouth Harbor, the club has since expanded into many sports, including golf and tennis. When they weren’t sailing, golf became a popular activity for club members, and six makeshift holes were laid out in 1901 on what was known as Parker’s Pasture.
More land was purchased in 1926 and with the help of architect Wayne Stiles, the course had nine excellent holes. It was renovated in 1951 under the guidance of William Mitchell, and in 1969 the club hired Geoffrey Cornish to design an additional nine holes.
Records from the club’s rich history in golf and tennis hang in the rustic Sprague-Parker barn, which dates back to the 18th century, and serves as the clubhouse. With nautical flags hanging above, there’s a fireplace with the year 1875 inscribed and a horseshoe that was unearthed during renovation project in 1998 and remains hanging for good luck.
The club as a familiar-friendly moniker and it has always prioritized athletic, activities-sports competition over social activities. It’s even been referred to as “The Best Day Camp In The World.”
Course Updates: Three years ago, Duxbury Yacht Club underwent a massive renovation project, completely removing and rebuilding every bunker on the golf course. Every tee has been resurfaced and more tees were added.
One of the notable updates was on hole 5. The tee box was raised 15 feet and the hill was taken out on the right side, removing a blind tee shot and any hidden dangers, and allowing golfers to see the green. Tree removal on hole 8-10 have provided more sweeping views of the course.
“In the summer I’ve had people say this place will rival any place that’s considered better than us,” said Evan Force, who has been assistant golf professional at Duxbury for 12 years. “Even though we’re a sleepy little golf club, we are rocking and rolling. The facilities are getting better each day due to the efforts of Peter Lanman and Mike Pierce, our superintendents.”
Mass Golf-DYC Connection: There’s also a deep history of Duxbury members within Mass Golf leadership. Three past presidents of what was then the Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA) — Edward L. Butler (1961-1962), John Arnold (1975-1976), and Paul S. Evans (1992-1993) — were members of Duxbury, while Mrs. Charles F. Eaton, Jr. (1954-1957) and Mrs. E Norman Peterson, Jr. (1980-1981) were presidents of what was then the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM).
Evans, who joined Duxbury at age 12, was president of the MGA the last time Marshfield and Duxbury co-hosted the Four-Ball in 1992. A 17-time men’s club champion, Evans has won at least once in every decade since the 1960s, and the championship trophy now bears his name.
“I just love golf,” Evans said. “I’ve been married 60 years and I’m just lucky I have a wife who lets me play.”
Al Jamieson and his son Alex Jamieson have had the Mass Four-Ball circled on their calendar since last year. The Jamiesons have been Marshfield Country Club members for 17 years, and like many families, this year’s Four-Ball Championship presented a special opportunity to compete together as a team.
“My dad was getting his game in pretty good shape, so he grinded to get in,” said Alex Jamieson, a recent Notre Dame graduate and member the university’s men’s golf team.
Added Al: “I actually tried pretty hard to get my handicap down because we knew it was at the home club so we were really thrilled when we got in.”
While Tuesday was worry-free for the Jamiesons during the round, there were still some first-tee jitters beforehand. “I’ve never seen him as nervous as he’s been getting out of the car in the parking lot,” Alex said of his father. “He said ‘I have 100 yards from here to the 10th tee to figure it out.'”
Still, they held a steady streak of pars and finished 2-over 74. Tomorrow, they’ll switch over to Duxbury, where Alex has played countless loops on the course’s front nine as a member of the Duxbury High golf team.
The Jamiesons weren’t alone in the family ties.
In one group today, Mass Golf Board Member Eduardo Cordeiro played alongside his son Oliver Cordeiro, and they were paired with Darin Eddy and his son Wil Eddy at Marshfield.
Darin said he originally had a different partner for the championship, but once his son Wil committed to working on his game and lowering his handicap, they decided to tee it up together. They finished 4-over 74 but enjoyed every moment playing together.
“It was definitely a step-up from the Father-Son Tournament, and it was the perfect fit that it was here to jump in for the first one together,” said Wil, a recent graduate at Wentworth Institute of Technology, where he walked on to the golf team. ”
“He’s improved dramatically since we became members here three years ago,” Darin said of Wil, who birdied the first hole. “I hope I stay good enough, I hope he stays good enough, and I hope we play in a whole bunch of these.”
Another unique pairing were brothers Robert Najarian and Daniel Najarian. Both brothers had been members at Marshfield, but Dan moved over to Duxbury and is in his fourth season there. The four-ball veterans last competed in this event in 2014 but with it coming to their clubs this year, they decided to hop back in.
“We do a bunch of home-and-homes,” said Daniel, the younger brother by 11 years. “To prepare we played three rounds, two at Marshfield, one at Duxbury. It was a great way to spend spring.”
Other father son combos included Bryan Eger (The Kittansett Club) and Bryan Eger (The Ridge Club) and Sheldon Hamilton and Owen Hamilton of Marshfield Country Club. Sheldon Hamilton won the club’s 19-Man Shootout last year.
PLAYER & EVENT NOTABLES
Course Stats: Here are some statistics for the field on Day 1 of the Mass Four Ball.
Marshfield CC: 2 eagles, 233 birdies, 1526 pars; average score 75.31; par-3 6th (194 yards) was the most difficult hole with just 3 birdies and an average score of 3.60.
Duxbury YC: 3 eagles, 349 birdies, 1713 pars; average score 75.91; par-3 12th (204-yards) was most difficult hole with just 7 birdies and an average score of 3.57. Front-nine scores averaged 37.21, while back was 38.7.
Olympic Experience: Brandon Yip recently returned stateside after a long, yet rewarding hockey season. In February, Yip captained the Chinese Men’s Hockey Team at the Winter Olympics. Yip is of Chinese-Canadian descent and had been playing professionally in the KHL. “It was a dream come true and a long time in the works, so just an amazing experience,” Yip said. “We obviously wanted to have the NHL guys there to bring more publicity and grow hockey in China, but it made the competition more at our level. Hopefully we can qualify in 2026.” The team took a big step forward this past weekend as China won Division 2 Group A at Ice Hockey Men’s World Championship in Croatia and will advance to Division 1.
Past Champs: Longtime four-ball partners Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea Golf Club) and Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich Golf Club) shot 5-under 67 at Duxbury on Tuesday and will very likely be in the hunt entering the final round tomorrow. The duo was tied for the lead after one round last year and finished two strokes off winners Weston Jones and John Broderick.
Short But Tricky: Marshfield Country Club’s 6,319-yards is the shortest course layout for a Mass Four-Ball since Haverhill Country Club (6,225 yards) co-hosted with Renaissance in 2017. The greens at Marshfield are often the great equalizer and that showed as 5-under was the low score at Marshfield. Duxbury, in comparison, is playing at 6,500 yards.
Quick Turnaround: Less than 24 hours after punching his ticket to U.S. Open Final Qualifying, Sean Fitzpatrick (George Wright Golf Club) was back on the course for the Mass Four-Ball. Fitzpatrick and his partner Christopher Tarallo (Thorny Lea Golf Club) each made a birdie and finished the round 1-over at Duxbury.
US Four-Ball Awaits: After this week’s Mass Four-Ball, several players in this year’s field will be heading south for the U.S. Four-Ball Championship from May 14-18 at Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama. Michael Mottola (Andover Country Club) and Daniel Koerner (Haverhill Golf & Country Club), who shot 1-under Tuesday, will team up. There are other players in the field this week who have different partners. Rhode Island commit Aidan O’Donovan (Cummaquid Golf Club) will play with NC State commit Joey Lenane; Kyle Tibbetts (Framingham Country Club) will play with Tommy Parker (George Wright Golf Course); and Mike Calef (Pine Oaks Golf Club) will play with Nick Maccario. Lenane and Maccario are not in the Mass Four-Ball field.
Lobsta Love: You’ve seen them lining the streets or maybe on Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. But for the first time Tuesday, Mass Golf offered its own food truck option with a big red truck “Lobsta Love” at Duxbury Yacht Club. With items like the Classic Lobster Roll, Lobster Chowder and even Curry Lobster, it was a fitting option for an event taking place along the South Shore.
Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information on this week’s Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship at Marshfield Country Club and Duxbury Yacht Club. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MassGolf and #MassFourBall.