89th Tri-State Matches: Day 1 Recap - MASSGOLF

Team Mass Golf Holds Slim Lead In Tri-State Matches After Day 1 In Connecticut

For Immediate Release: October 10, 2023

WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut – It’s shaping up to be a tight race in the 89th Tri-State matches among the teams from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as the team from Mass Golf holds a slim 1-point lead over the hosts after the opening two rounds of play Tuesday at Wampanoag Country Club.

After morning foursomes matches and afternoon singles matches, the Bay Staters tallied 49 points, while Connecticut finished with 48, and Rhode Island 23.

Play will conclude with one round of four-ball matches Wednesday, and the team with the most total points after play will be crowned champions.

Online: Day 1 Results | Day 2 Pairings | Event Preview | Past Champions

A full look at the score through Day 1. (Mass Golf)

Foursomes Matches

Mass Golf got off to a good start thanks to stellar play from teammates with a proven track record of playing well together. Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea Golf Club) and Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich Golf Club), who have played in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, and former Mass Senior Four-Ball champions Steve Tasho (Thorny Lea Golf Club) and Keith Smith (Franklin Country Club) each tallied 5.5 points of a possible 6 in their head-to-head matches with Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Parziale and Aikens won the first two holes against both teams and never trailed to get things started. They made four birdies total, including on the opening hole. Against Connecticut, they made par on the 18th (17th of the match) to take the lead and held on to win 2&1. Smith and Tasho built leads of 5-up, playing well in key stretches to also get the Bay Staters out in front.

Bill Drohen (Bradford Country Club) & George Zolotas (Tedesco Country Club) also won both their foursomes matches, as did Mike Calef (Pine Oaks Golf Club) & Colin Brennan (Indian Ridge Country Club).

By the end of the morning wave, Mass Golf tallied 31.5 points, leading Connecticut by 3.

Steve Tasho helped Team Mass Golf get off to a strong start Tuesday. (David Colt, file)

Singles Matches

There were no perfect-score sweeps across the board in the afternoon, but several Mass Golf players earned a couple of points toward the team total in the singles matches.

Zolotas edged out Connecticut’s Adam Friedman in an evenly-match competition. Starting on hole 10, Zolotas earned the match’s first point on the 16th and took the lead for good with an eagle on the par-5 4th. He then added a birdie on the 7th. Zolotas also cruised against Auggie Sottile (RI).

Hall of Famer Frank Vana Jr. also won both his matches, edging out Rhode Island’s Dave Marshall with an eagle on the closing hole (par-5 11th). Hadges did the same, edging out Dean Parziale (RI) with a birdie on the closing 11th. Sean Fitzpatrick (George Wright Golf Course) also picked up two points for his singles match victories.

Connecticut earned 19.5 points in singles matches, 2 more than Mass Golf, but Massachusetts still holds the lead.

Sean Fitzpatrick won both his singles matches for Team Mass Golf. (David Colt, file)

Event Format

Each state selected 10 of its best mid-amateur players, plus six senior amateur players (age 55 and up). 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 begins 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 foursomes and four-ball formats will be “Nassau Style “matches (1 point for winning the front nine, 1 point for the back nine & 1 point (overall match). A competitor’s first nine consecutive holes will constitute their “front 9” and their next nine holes their “back 9”. Halved matches will result in half-points being awarded. In the singles matches, match points will be decided over the 18-hole round.

Event History

This year marks the 89th 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 17 times and has lost just once. The longest winning streak in this event was Massachusetts’ 14-year run from 2004-2017.

Last Five Results:

2022 – Massachusetts (The Aquidneck Club, RI)
2021 – Massachusetts (Cape Cod National, MA)
2019 – Massachusetts (Kirkbrae CC, RI)
2018 – Connecticut (Oyster Harbors, MA)
2017 – Massachusetts (Silver Spring CC, CT)

*2020 – Canceled due to weather