- Golfer Benefits
TOWNSEND, Massachusetts – Despite the blazing temperatures at Northern Spy Golf Club on Thursday, four golfers emerged from the first two rounds of match play to advance to the semifinals of the Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship Powered by KOHR Golf.
They all did it in much different ways, with John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club) and Zach Pelzar (Weston Golf Club) walking off the green several holes early in both rounds while Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) needed 19 holes to finish off his opponent both times after falling behind early. Northern Spy’s own Josiah Hakala went the distance in both matches, winning both 1 up.
The semifinals begin at 8 a.m. tomorrow, and the final 18-hole match to crown the 2022 Massachusetts Junior Amateur Champion will take place shortly thereafter.
Broderick, who’s played in the Mass Junior Amateur semifinals three of the past four years, didn’t seem to have much trouble managing his round against John Pagano (Worcester Country Club) in the morning or against Galen Fowles (The Ranch Golf Club) in the afternoon with 5&4 victories in each.
“It’s my third time and the last few times, I came up a little short,” Broderick said. “Excited for the next opportunity.”
Similar to the first two days, Broderick was able to build up sizable leads early on to force his opponent to play from behind for much of the match, which he noted would be key following the stroke play rounds yesterday.
“It’s really big,” Broderick said. “So you can just be able to put the pressure on your opponent and you can just kind of be in control of the match and play the match how you want wanted to play, and this morning I was 4-under through 5 and this afternoon I was 2-under through 5 and in both matches, I was winning early and I could kind of just control the pace of the match and just the entire match.”
With Friday being Broderick’s last day of junior golf before he heads off to the Vanderbilt University golf team in the fall, he hopes to end his already successful junior career on a high note.
“It’s gonna be my last day of junior golf either way, so might as well end up with a win,” he said.
Similar to Broderick, Pelzar managed to play just 27 holes across both of his rounds on Thursday, which he said was a helpful reprieve from the high temperatures out on the course. Pelzar defeated Ryan Scollins (Franklin Country Club) 5&4 in the morning to earn himself an afternoon round, in which he defeated Andrew teDuits (MIAA) 6&5. It’s the first appearance in the Mass Junior semifinals for the Weston native, who missed match play at last year’s championship by just one stroke.
“It was a lot of fun today,” Pelzar said. “I’ve never been in match play before, I played last year and just missed, so just being here today was a great experience, ton of fun and I just tried to enjoy it and make the best of it.”
Though Northern Spy has given golfers fits throughout the championship, Pelzar feels he’s learned how to effectively navigate the course.
“I’m really comfortable here,” he said. “I think one of my strengths as a player is my ball striking and I think that’s what’s really demanding out here. Really just tee to green is what you need and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that this week.”
While Emmerich ended his day with 19-hole wins against Alan Rose (Oyster Harbors Club) and Markus Pierre (The Kittansett Club), he had to come back from multiple-hole deficits early on in both matches to advance. After a few early exits in past match-play championships, Emmerich was pleased to go deep into match play on Thursday.
“Through six holes today in the first match, I thought I was going home early, but then I just kind of battled, which is what I’ve been doing all year,” Emmerich said. “Been getting off to a lot of bad starts this year, so keep helping myself and gutted it out.”
Emmerich noted that he “wasn’t hitting the shots close enough for the putts to fall” and that he was “hitting it everywhere,” which are two things he plans to sharpen heading into the final day of competition. However, after a challenging two rounds in the heat, he also feels that rest and staying aggressive on the course will be critical to his success in the semifinals.
“I’m still being aggressive,” Emmerich said. “On 6 today it didn’t pay off, I had to hit lefty from the woods, which didn’t go well. For now, I’m just gonna keep hitting driver. I was dialed the first two days, so I think I’ll be able to dial back.”
Hometown favorite Hakala was again joined by numerous friends and family members out on the course for both rounds. The 15-year-old said he looks forward to playing in the semifinals for the first time tomorrow after putting together two solid matches on Thursday on the course he knows better than most.
“Having course knowledge really helps around here,” Hakala said. “This place is just playing really nice right now. I just kind of played my game today and just see what happens and luckily I’m in tomorrow.”
Hakala earned his semifinals berth after fending off a late-round challenge from Nick McCabe (Cohasset Golf Club) in the morning and besting 2021 Mass Junior Champion Colin Spencer (Cummaquid Golf Club) later in the day.
“Today were two really good matches,” Hakala said. “I just thought it really well. Really, really holed some key putts today. The first match was just, it was crazy. It was really good golf. And the second match, too, I just, I holed some really key putts today that helped kind of keep the momentum going for sure.”
Hakala will face an accomplished field tomorrow, but he says that he isn’t afraid to face the other golfers in the semifinals — including Broderick, who he will match up with Friday morning.
“Tomorrow, I’m just gonna play my game again,” he said. “Right now, he can’t do anything to my game. I just got to play mine. So go out there and hit greens and hopefully make some putts.”
Here are Friday’s Semifinal matchups:
8:00 a.m.- Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) vs. Zach Pelzar (Weston Golf Club)
8:10 a.m.- John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club) vs. Josiah Hakala (Northern Spy Golf Club)
1-Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) def. 9-Markus Pierre (The Kittansett Club)
Emmerich started his afternoon match steady, but Pierre went on a run in the middle of the round with wins on holes 5, 7, 9 and 11 to put Emmerich in another 3-hole deficit. Emmerich finally found his stride at the back end of the round, winning 12, 13 and 14 to tie the score. Though Pierre took holes 15 and 17, Emmerich won 16 and 18 to force the duo to play additional holes. It only took one trip through hole 1 for Emmerich to come out on top after he made par and Pierre bogeyed.
12-Zach Pelzar (Weston Golf Club) def. 4-Andrew teDuits (MIAA), 6&5
Similar to his morning round, teDuits got off to a deficit early on, with Pelzar winning holes 1, 2, 5 and 6 to go up by 4 holes. teDuits bounced back with two wins on the next three holes, cutting Pelzar’s lead to 3 even though Pelzar also won the 8th hole. They held steady on hole 10, but Pelzar capitalized on errors by teDuits on 11, 12 and 13 to win three straight to close out the round.
2-John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club) def. 7-Galen Fowles (The Ranch Golf Club), 5&4
Broderick went up by 2 holes after winning 4 and 5, a lead he maintained for the remainder of the round. Fowles took advantage of Broderick’s bogey on the 7th hole, but Broderick won 5 of the next 7 to end the match up by 5.
6-Josiah Hakala (Northern Spy Golf Club) def. 3-Colin Spencer (Cummaquid Golf Club), 1 up
It was a back-and-forth battle for Hakala to hold off defending champion Spencer. Hakala worked his lead to as many as 3 holes after winning hole 11, but Spencer took one back on 12 to bring his deficit to 2 holes. Clutch putts on 15 and 16 allowed Hakala to maintain his 2-up lead before Spencer made a birdie putt on 17 to force the match to 18 holes. Spencer nearly took the final hole, but it was Hakala that came out on top.
“Those were two big putts to stay 2-up with 2 to play and then Colin made a great birdie on 17 and stuffed it in there,” Hakala said. “And then I thought he made it on 18, I thought we were coming right here to 1. But, you know, I played my game and got it done.”
1-Aidan Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club) def. 16-Alan Rose (Oyster Harbors Club), 19 Holes
Stroke-Play Medalist Emmerich controlled the pace during the stroke-play rounds, but got about all he could handle from Rose during the first round of match play. Rose posted four consecutive wins on holes 3-6 to build a 3-up lead over Emmerich early in the round. Emmerich won 7, 9 and 10 to tie the match, but a Rose win on the 465-yard, par-5 12 kept him playing from behind until the final hole. Rose bogeyed 18, opening the door for Emmerich to tie the match again, which he did by making par. Emmerich went on to win the first hole on their second trip around to secure the victory.
9-Markus Pierre (The Kittansett Club) def. 8-Pieter Hartman (Orchards Golf Club), 2&1
The duel between Pierre and Hartman was a back-and-forth one, with neither player ever leading by more than 2. Hartman made a last-minute push to cut into Pierre’s lead on with a win on 16 that cut his deficit to 1 hole heading into the second-to-last hole. However, Hartman bogeyed 17 while Pierre made par, giving Pierre the 2&1 win.
4-Andrew teDuits (MIAA) def. 13-Ryan Fay (Dedham Country & Polo Club), 2&1
Every hole but two in the match between teDuits and Fay ended in a win for one golfer and a loss for other, setting the pair up for a back-and-forth battle down the stretch. While Fay controlled the front nine, leading by as much as 4 and making the turn with a 2-up lead, it was teDuits who took charge on the back with wins on 11, 12, 13 and 15 to generate a 2-up advantage of his own. Fay won 16 to reduce his deficit to 1, but teDuits birdied the 165 yard, par-3 17th hole to advance to the quarterfinals.
12-Zach Pelzar (Weston Golf Club) def. 5-Ryan Scollins (Franklin Country Club), 5&4
Pelzar set the tone early against Scollins and quickly built up a 4-hole lead. Scollins challenged with wins on 9 and 10 as they made the turn, but Pelzar rattled off wins on 3 of the next 4 holes to finish the match on 14. Pelzar ended with wins on holes 1, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 14.
2-John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club) def. 15-John Pagano (Worcester Country Club), 5&4
After Broderick and Pagano tied on their first hole, Broderick made birdie or eagle on three of his next four holes to pick up four straight wins and go 4 up through 5. Pagano took one back with a win on the par-4 8th hole, but Broderick birdied the newly shortened 9th hole to retain his 4-hole lead. Broderick stretched his lead to 5 on the 12th hole and wrapped up the match two holes later.
7-Galen Fowles (The Ranch Golf Club) def. 10-Emil Nielsen (Weston Golf Club), 1 up
Fowles built himself a 2-up lead at various points throughout his match against Nielsen, but couldn’t get any farther in front because Nielsen continued to chip away at his deficit to bring it back to 1 hole. After Nielsen tied the match with a win on 16, Fowles birdied the short 17th hole to go back up. Fowles and Nielsen both made par on the final hole, giving Fowles the 1-up win.
3-Colin Spencer (Cummaquid Golf Club) def. 14-Ryan Keyes (MIAA), 5&4
Spencer racked up an early lead with wins on 2, 3, 5 and 6 to put himself 3 up through 6 holes. Keyes won 4 and 9 to reduce his deficit to 2 holes, but Spencer took control with victories on 11, 12 and 14, which started with him taking advantage of Keyes’ double on 11. The 14th-hole win was enough for Spencer to punch his ticket to the afternoon round.
6-Josiah Hakala (Northern Spy Golf Club) def. 11-Nick McCabe (Cohasset Golf Club), 1 up
Hakala got out to a strong start, going up by 4 on his first 8 holes. However, the tides turned when McCabe won holes 9-12 to tie the score. Hakala stopped the bleeding with a win on 13, but quickly lost his 1-up edge when McCabe took hole 15. Hakala went back up with a win on 16, and the pair tied on holes 17 and 18.
Returners: Spencer and Emmerich were the only golfers to make match play who also made match play at last year’s Junior Amateur. Broderick is the only other golfer who has ever made match play in the championship, which switched to match-play format in 2018.
Beating the Heat: In addition to managing the terrain at Northern Spy, golfers also had to handle the scorching heat that plagued much of New England on Thursday. Temperatures reached as high as 96 degrees, necessitating plenty of water, rest and shade-seeking for all who were out on the course throughout the two rounds. As Pelzar put it, “Second round today was kind of brutal, especially coming out after lunch after the AC, but what are you gonna do? Everybody has to deal with the same thing.”
Exemptions: 10 of the 16 golfers to make match play were exempt from qualifying for the championship. The six players to advance to match play after qualifying were Hakala, teDuits, Scollins, Fowles, Ryan Fay (Dedham Country & Polo Club) and Emil Nielsen (Weston Golf Club).
Green Book: All 16 match-play golfers received a Yardage and Green Reading Guide provided by StrackaLine prior to the start of their morning matches. All competitors previously received a certificate during the stroke play rounds for a free session with KOHR Golf.
Course Stats: In the morning round, the 405-yard, par-4 11th hole played as the most difficult hole, with only two golfers making birdie and three of 16 needing 6 or more strokes to complete it. In the afternoon, the 406-yard, par-4 2nd hole was the most challenging, with no golfers making a birdie or eagle.
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