- Golfer Benefits
CRANSTON, Rhode Island – Swampscott’s Christian Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) arrived at Alpine Country Club 20 minutes before his tee time 8:10 Wednesday morning. After hitting a three shots with his seven irons, plus a 3 wood and a driver, the Holy Cross senior stepped onto the first tee for what would be the best competitive round of his life.
Emmerich, a quarterfinalist in last week’s Mass Amateur, smashed the competitive course record in the final round of the New England Amateur Championship, carding seven birdies and two eagles, to shoot 10-under-par 62 on a steamy day in the Ocean State. The former record stood at 66.
“I was like, ‘I’m just going to go out there and see what happens,” said Emmerich, who finished T2 alongside former professional Joe Harney (Charles River Country Club). “I honestly was thinking going into it, 5-under would be pretty neat. I would leave happy.”
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For a while, Emmerich had a share of the lead with UConn standout Jared Nelson, but Nelson shot 2-under in the final round to finish 8-under for the championship and eke out a one-stroke victory. In the process he become the first Vermont native since Evan Russell in 2013 to win the New England Amateur title.
The low 20 and ties earned an exemption into next year’s New England Amateur. In total, Mass Golfers had 7 players finish T10 or better. The 2023 New England Amateur will take place at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth, Maine.
Emmerich continues to put together a solid summer. He’s qualified the U.S. Amateur Championship at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, which will take place this month. Last week, he knocked off the medalist in the Mass Amateur championship, followed by a win over his younger brother Aidan Emmerich.
After returning from a wedding in Michigan late Sunday night, Emmerich had sluggish rounds of 73 and 74, but on Wednesday, Emmerich executed every shot he was planning and could have gone even lower save for a few close misses on the green. After holing out from 50 yards eagle on the par-4 7th (385-yards) Emmerich made the turn at 5-under. He then made a 15-footer for eagle on the 10th and birdied the next two holes to move to 9-under. After stuffing another one on the 15th, he made a 10-footer to move to 10-under to give him plenty of breathing room for the course record. The rest of the way, Emmerich reached the green in two and had easy two-putts to finish out the round.
“Today I definitely pulled a few different clubs, like a couple three woods,” Emmerich said. “I didn’t really pump driver everywhere, which I think helped a little keeping it straighter, which I tried to do especially on the back nine. I made it on seven and then I made birdie on eight and I was just like, let’s just see how deep I could take it.”
For Emmerich, this is the third course record he’s set. He holds the non-competitive record of 6-under at his home club of Kernwood, plus a 7-under at Lely Resort Golf and Country Club (Mustang Course) in Naples, Florida. On Wednesday, he was accompanied by playing partner Alex Landry (Indian Ridge CC), who also played well with a 3-under 69. Emmerich credited Landry for keeping a rhythm going, especially when the heat made gripping the club difficult.
“We’re both fast players,” Emmerich said. “Bu t today it’s so hot, my hands were literally dripping sweat. So every time before I hit, I would wipe them down towel and then grab my glove glove off and he’s just ready to go.”
Joe Harney had a share of the lead after Day 1, and was in contention throughout the championship. After making a birdie on the par-4 14th (400 yards), Harney moved to 7-under but couldn’t manage another birdie to pull back close to the lead. Harney finished T2 alongside Vermont’s Bryson Richards, the 2021 Vermont Amateur champion.
Owen Egan (Winchester CC), Emmerich’s teammate at Holy Cross, had a strong finish for the second consecutive days. Egan sank a birdie putt on the final hole to move to 6-under with a 3-under 69 in the final round.
Nelson said Emmerich’s performance helped him focus on being aggressive in the final round. The reigning Hornblower Memorial Tournament champion, got off to a nice start with birdies on Nos. 4 (par 5, 520 yards) and 8 (par 5, 555 yards). On both occasions he reached the green in two. He hit a crisp 5-iron from 210 yards to 35 feet on No. 4 and a 3-iron laser from 240 yards to 25 feet on No. 8.
But for Nelson, the shot of the tournament came on No. 10 (par 5, 510 yards). After he blitzed a drive and hit an 8-iron from 180 yards to 20 feet, he dripped the putt in the hole at perfect speed to get to 10 under.
“I had a feeling that was a huge putt,” said Nelson, 22, of Rutland, Vermont. “Making that putt gives you so much more leeway coming in with a lot of guys chasing you. It was a good one to make.”
It turned out it was vital. Two bogeys on the next seven holes left him with a one-shot lead heading down the last. Nelson knew exactly where he stood and what he had to do.
His drive on No. 18 (par 4, 435 yards) found the left rough but he hit a sand wedge from 135 yards to 10 feet and two-putted for the victory.
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