Round One of the 63rd Senior Amateur Championship - MASSGOLF

Soaring Temperatures and Fiery Greens Providing a Stern Test at Hopkinton Country Club

For Immediate Release: September 5, 2023

HOPKINTON, Massachusetts – Autumn may be just around the corner, but it sure felt like the height of summer on day one of the 63rd Massachusetts Senior Amateur Championship at Hopkinton Country Club.

If you were scoreboard watching on Tuesday, you’d have seen more than a few rounds burn red in the early going, before fading to black as the day wore on. Such was the case for Scott Copeland (Old Sandwich Golf Club), who birdied four of his first six holes, before a bogey on the 7th and double on the 8th brought him back to the pack. Still, with an even par-71, he’s in pole position with a two-shot lead entering the second and final day of the Senior Amateur.

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“I didn’t hit the driver great today, but I hit some great second shots early, and just made some good solid ten footers for birdie and I found myself four under through six. One of the guys in our group said, ‘Wow, keep it going,’ and then sure enough, I hit driver right on seven and we never found the ball. And then on eight I hit it up against the lip and had nothing and made double-bogey there, and just kind of hung on after that,” said Copeland.

Copeland got around the difficult back nine in 1-over, finishing as the lone man at even par, a position he was satisfied with, “I mean, bogeys are gonna happen out here. There’s some crazy holes and the greens are very severe. Now, all in all, I haven’t looked at any of the scores, I don’t know where I stand, but I’m pleased.”

He’ll be even more pleased when he takes a peek at the leaderboard. Copeland will look to build on a big win earlier this summer, when he captured the Lowery Division title at the Ouimet Memorial Tournament. “I’ve been playing good. I had a lot of good swing thoughts from that tournament.” A victory tomorrow would make him the first player since Frank Vana Jr. in 2018 to win both the Senior Amateur and Ouimet titles in the same season.

Scott Copeland (Photo: Mass Golf)

Gene Gonzalez (Charles River Country Club) is also looking for his second piece of hardware of the summer, after he and daughter Jacqueline won the Massachusetts Father-Daughter title in late August. His day one round of 2-over 73 was one of the better morning scores, putting him in a three-way tie for second place.

Gonzalez will look to remain in good form through tomorrow’s final round, “Yeah, I mean I’m playing okay. You know, obviously today there’s a lot of people still on the golf course. Two over, I’m very happy with, but I think a lot of guys are going to compete for that. But in terms of coming in and feeling good, there’s nothing better than winning with your daughter.”

While it may be tough to match the thrill of winning with his daughter, Gonzalez did admit that there is considerably less pressure when your child isn’t counting on you. That may be for the best, as the slick greens at Hopkinton are plenty difficult, even before you factor in nerves, “I’ll tell you what, the greens are very, very quick. Very, very firm. Very good condition…Really I had testy putts all day long and I’m used to it, so that helps a lot too,” said Gonzalez.

Gene Gonzalez (David Colt: File)

Gonzalez had an opportunity to finish with a birdie on 18, after firing his approach shot inside of 12 feet from the fairway. He was unable to hole the putt, which was in keeping with his description of the round, “Should have been better on the back side, I missed a few short putts, especially 17 and 18. Honestly, I’m very happy with where I am. I hit it alright, I hit it better than my score, just didn’t convert.”

On a demanding golf course that was inclined to grind the field down on the back nine, Gonzalez will look to keep his approach simple tomorrow, “Pay attention to the scoreboard, see where I am starting out and honestly get off to a good start, try to make some putts. If I’m not too many shots off the lead, if I can get off to a good start and just put myself in position, that’s all I can ask for.”

With 17 players within five shots of the lead, it could be anyone’s ballgame tomorrow.


  • Defending champion Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough Country Club) posted 5-over 76. Finishing on the front nine, 2021 champion Keith Smith (Franklin Country Club) played his last seven holes in 2-under to make the cut with a shot to spare.
  • The opening nine was the time to make your hay. The front nine yielded 102 birdies, while the back conceded only 53.
  • Conversely, the back nine saw 124 double bogeys or worse, compared to 67 on the front.
  • Hopkinton Country Club cultivates herb and vegetable gardens. With plump tomatoes and peppers dangling from the vines, dusty bocce balls, and mercury pushing to the top of the thermometer, it felt a bit like a summer’s day in southern Italy out there. Bellissimo!


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