- Golfer Benefits
WESTON, Massachusetts – For the second consecutive day, Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea Golf Club) finished his round off with a surge to keep himself at the top of the leaderboard. This time, his efforts earned him his third career Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship title.
Parziale shot consecutive rounds of 69 to finish with a final mark of 6-under-par 138. This victory adds to his Mid-Am wins in 2015 and 2016. He also won the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in 2017, which qualified him to participate in the 2018 Masters.
Parziale outlasted fellow Thorny Lea Club members Shuvam Bhaumik and Ryan Riley to earn the win. Bhaumik shot 71-70-141 to finish three strokes behind Parziale in solo second. Riley wrapped up shooting 2-under 142 to grab solo possession of third.
On the 11th hole, Ryan Riley sank a clutch birdie putt to pull even with Matt Parziale at 2-under for the tournament. It look as though things were setting up for a dramatic finish, but Parziale had other ideas.
On Friday, he birdied three of his final six holes to finish strong and he topped that Saturday with birdies on four of the last six. In particular, a birdie on the 12th hole (par-4, 349 yards) was key as it put him one stroke back up over Riley and he never gave the lead up again. Parziale also made a key comeback putt on 11 to save par and stay even with Riley.
“I don’t think it had to do with just because I was tied, but it was a lot of things…I just needed to get myself going,” Parziale said after the round. “Ryan made a great putt for birdie on 11 and to respond with that six-or-seven-footer I had for par, that was probably the key putt I had today.”
As he’s known for, Parziale pounded his driver consistently throughout his two rounds. He drives with great distance and he hit fairways with consistency, which set him up for birdie looks. In addition to the turning point on the 12th hole, he birdied 14 (par-5, 536 yards), 15 (par-4, 373 yards), and 18 (par-5, 496 yards).
“I don’t know if that’s the reason why, but I drove it very well the last few days,” Parziale said. “To hit it far, you have a shorter club up, so that definitely helps. It doesn’t mean you’re going to win just because you hit it far, but I was able to hit it far and hit it in the fairway, which was nice. I got some good numbers, especially down the stretch, where I was able to hit one close on 15 there to get a birdie. Capitalizing on those long drives is key.”
Between the drives and the putter, it was tough to ask anyone to keep up with Parziale. Now, he’s a three-time Massachusetts Mid-Am Champ as he looks ahead to the Crump Cup next week and the U.S. Mid-Amateur the following week.
“I would say it couldn’t have been a better start for a three-week stretch,” Parziale said. “I’m happy with the result, but there’s still a lot of work to do to be ready for the next two weeks. I’m looking forward to putting the work in and getting ready for those, but it’s definitely a good start.”
Although he came up short of victory, Shuvam Bhaumik had no reason to hang his head following Saturday’s round. Bhaumik shaved one stroke off his round from Friday to shoot 2-under 70 and finish with a final score of 3-under 141.
“I played really good today,” Bhaumik said. “I had one bad swing on the ninth hole, my tee shot went into the hazard left and I made double there, but other than that I played really, really solid golf and on the back nine my putter got hot.”
Bhaumik did indeed get hot with the putter. He birdied four holes on the back, including three-straight on 15, 16, and 17. The putts on 15 and 17 were both from long-range and helped Bhaumik leap-frog Riley for second place, his highest ever finish in a Mass Golf stroke-play event.
“I think the speed of the greens from yesterday to today, today was a little bit faster, the greens dried out a little bit,” Bhaumik said. “I putt fast because I’m a dive putter. I think for me, the big putt was on the 13th hole putting it from the fringe on the hill, that was a big momentum keeper for me. I got the speeds down well and you have to putt well to win.”
After his round on Friday, Bhaumik talked about taking time to enjoy the moment and not worry too much about his score. He executed that on Saturday and good results followed.
“I don’t know if you guys saw me, I was looking around a lot as the crowd started getting deeper and deeper on the back nine,” he said. “I just enjoyed it. I made sure I smiled at everybody and said hello to everybody. A couple of guys from Thorny Lea came out, so it was nice to see that, but again, it’s golf. You have to enjoy it. It’s not our day jobs.”
The Thorny Lea trio at the top of the scoreboard held strong with Riley finishing in third place. It was certainly a strong showing for the guys and another bullet point on the already loaded resume for Matt Parziale.
Saturday marks the 20-year anniversary of one of the most solemn days in the history of the United States when the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked by the militant Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda. To honor the lives lost and as a sign of remembrance for the day, Mass Golf did a couple of different things on Saturday.
A 9:11 a.m. starter’s time was made and all play on the golf course was stopped for a one-minute moment of silence. Air horns were blown to alert those competitors already on the course and all player’s stepped aside for the moment in remembrance.
Additionally, holes 9 and 11 featured special American flag style flag pins. When removed, the pins were placed on small stands next to the green to keep the American flag from touching the ground.
“This is an opportunity for all of us to take a moment and really reflect on what took place back in 2001,” said Mass Golf Executive Director/CEO Jesse Menachem. “We appreciate everybody’s support and acknowledgement and wish all those families all the best in remembrance for 20 years ago.”
“The memory is important,” added Mass Golf President Tom Berkel. “The respect that a remembrance shows to the people who gave their lives that day and who subsequently gave their lives in time, talent, and treasure in the military and civilian life as the country battled and figured out how to handle something that was completely strange. It’s important to remember for a lot of reasons, but mostly for the the good souls lost and for the people who worked so hard to straighten things out.”
With so many individuals on site at Weston Golf Club who were affected in some way by those events 20 years ago, taking the time to reflect was made a priority.
“We’re lucky to be playing golf and we’re here on a beautiful day,” Menachem said. “To take a moment to truly remember and appreciate those that were impacted and those that lost their lives, it’s important for us to step back. I think recognizing that, honoring that through a starter’s time and through a suspension of play, I think everybody truly appreciated it.”
“It’s good to remember it just from the standpoint that there are some of us, myself included, who lost relatives there,” Berkel added. “It was an event that affected enormous numbers of people. There were close to 3,000 lives lost, but it affected hundreds of thousands of people. Of course, it affected the whole nation in another sense.”
On a difficult day for everyone in the country, taking the step back to allow everyone to reflect, remember, and keep pushing forward was a necessary part of Saturday’s round.
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Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport. Made up of 90,000 golfers statewide, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Presently, more than two-thirds of the 360-member clubs are public-access facilities, while nearly one-half of member golfers are enrolled at public facilities. Mass Golf offers its members services including handicapping, event access, youth programming and exciting golf content.