- Golfer Benefits
PORTSMOUTH, Rhode Island – Coming off of a 19 1/2 point victory in last year’s Tri-State Matches, Team Massachusetts picked up right where they left off. Following Tuesday’s Foursome Matches and Singles Matches at The Aquidneck Club, Massachusetts (55 points) holds a 20 1/2 point lead over Connecticut and 24 1/2 point lead over Rhode Island. The final round of matches (Four-Ball) will be played Wednesday morning.
This is the 88th edition of the Tri-State Matches, which pegs the best mid-amateur and seniors golfers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut against each other in a team format.
While Massachusetts has a long list of newcomers to the roster, it was a grizzled veteran who got the team off to a hot start Tuesday morning. Playing the 8th hole (his 3rd hole of the morning), Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich GC) stepped up to the tee on the 176-yard par-3 and knocked one home.
“We had the honor. Frank (Vana) never left the cart. He was going to come up, but said ‘hey, do you have the right club?’ And I was like, yeah I have the right club. And then I mumbled to myself ‘as far as I know.'” recounted Clapp, who was playing a road game at The Aquidneck Club.
“Then I hit it. And I actually couldn’t see anything, with the glare and all, so I just picked up my tee. The guys behind us were in the fairway coming up and all of a sudden they screamed.”
The ace was the 9th of Clapp’s playing career. The perfect shot helped he and partner Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC) to a clean sweep in the morning.
“That’s the first time that Frank and I have ever been paired together in the Tri-States, in all the years we’ve played it. So that was, that was fun. I was looking forward to it and it was just what I thought it would be.”
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In total, Massachusetts has six players competing in the Tri-State Matches for the first time in their career. The rookies looked to be filled with excitement to be representing their home state in this prestigious competition.
This event will be the the last of Will Frodigh’s (Dedham C&PC) amateur career as he will be giving it a go professionally in just a few short weeks down in Florida.
“Anytime you get the chance to play in a team atmosphere, you have to take advantage of it. It was a great surprise, I had no idea I would be called, so to represent Massachusetts is a great honor. Getting the juices going was a lot of fun today” said Frodigh.
Frodigh and Kyle Tibbetts (Framingham CC) teamed up to grab 4 1/2 points in their morning match, adding to Massachusetts’ early lead. In the afternoon Frodigh swiped both of the points available to him in singles.
Also teeing it up in this event for the first time was Ricky Stimets (Worcester CC). Stimets has been a force in Massachusetts since returning to the amateur scene in 2020. While he usually spends his summers competing against Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC), this week he’s enjoying competing with him.
Talking about playing alongside Parziale, Stimets said “It was awesome. It didn’t really feel like a match. We’re yucking it up the whole time talking to each other. He’s a great player and I’m happy I didn’t put him in too many bad spots today. We swept Rhode Island. Unfortunately, we ran into a buzzsaw against Connecticut and they swept us, but we were under par, so not much more you can do.”
Shooting under-par in the difficult Foursome format is impressive no matter when you do it. But seeing Stimets do so was even more special when you consider the fact that he just arrived back from a trip to Hawaii yesterday. For good measure, Stimets made a clean sweep in the afternoon to earn another two points for Massachusetts.
Jake Shuman (Blue Hill CC) has made quite the impression in his return to amateur golf. Not only has he been in contention at numerous Mass Golf events this summer, he was the co-medalist at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Erin Hills just a month ago.
Even with accolades like that, Shuman was still quite excited to be donning the Mass Golf logo.
“This is awesome. Growing up, juniors weren’t allowed to play, but it was always like a forbidden fruit event, where you saw other people doing it and wanted to play. Having gone through college golf and being on a team, it doesn’t happen any more. I’ve wanted to be a part of this and I’m really happy to just be able to be here.”
In his morning match, the first of his Tri-States career, Shuman teamed up with Joe Harney (Charles River CC) to claim five of a possible six points. Like the other newcomers, Shuman swept his afternoon singles matches to earn another two points for the team.
The other Massachusetts rookies competing this week are Billy Argus (Wollaston GC), Todd Ezold (Twin Hills CC), and Kevin Shea (Cohasset GC).
Each team selected 10 of its top mid-amateur players, plus six of its top senior amateur players. Player selection for Team Mass Golf is primarily based on Mass Golf Player of the Year and Senior Player of the Year Standings.
The championship began Tuesday morning with foursomes in the morning followed by singles matches in the afternoon. The final day will feature one round of four-ball matches.
The foresomes and four-ball formats are “Nassau Style “matches (1 point for winning the front nine, 1 point for the back nine & 1 point (overall match). A competitor’s first 9-consecutive holes will constitute as their “front 9” and their next 9-holes their “back 9”. Halved matches will result in half-points being awarded. In the singles matches, match points are decided over the 18-hole round.
This year marks the 88th edition of the Tri-State Matches. Dating back to 1907, the event was first played at Agawam Hunt Club (Providence, RI) and was won by the team from Massachusetts. Since 1928, Team Connecticut (40 wins) and Team Massachusetts (37 wins) have dominated in this three-team event. Rhode Island (11 wins) last came away victorious in 2001 at Newport CC.
The last two decades have been all Massachusetts. Since 2004, Team Massachusetts has won 16 times and has lost just once. The longest winning streak in this event was Massachusetts’ 14-year run from 2004-2017.
Last Five Winners:
2021 – Massachusetts (Cape Cod National)
2020 – Canceled; Weather
2019 – Massachusetts (Kirkbrae CC)
2018 – Connecticut (Oyster Harbors)
2017 – Massachusetts (Silver Spring)
Mass Golf will have complete coverage of the 88th Tri-State Matches at Aquidneck Club. Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and content.