- Golfer Benefits
NORTON, Massachusetts – Ten golfers will represent Massachusetts at the U.S. Amateur Championship in Paramus, New Jersey, next week as they vie to bring a title back to the Bay State.
Among them, Stanford University standout Michael Thorbjornsen (Wellesley Country Club) and veteran Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea Golf Club), who each have a USGA® Championship title to their name. Also competing in the championship are Swampscott’s Christian Emmerich (Kernwood Country Club), Brookline’s James Imai (George Wright Golf Course), Boston’s Brandon Parker (Worcester Country Club), Westminster’s Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill Country Club), Amesbury’s Chris Francoeur (Amesbury Golf & Country Club), Norfolk’s Andrew O’Leary (Pawtucket Country Club), Weston’s Nick Cummings (Marlborough Country Club) and Andover’s Tyler Stahle.
Massachusetts is one of eight states that will send 10 or more players to the U.S. Amateur.
Competitors will travel to The Ridgewood Country Club next week for the start of the championship on Monday, August 15. Neighboring Arcola Country Club will co-host stroke play qualifying. The championship concludes with a 36-hole round between the two match-play finalists on Sunday, August 21.
Much of the Massachusetts field will return to the U.S. Amateur after having played in it previously.
Thorbjornsen played in the past four U.S. Amateur Championships, advancing to match play in 2021, 2020 and 2018. He advanced the furthest at the 2020 championship, where he reached the quarterfinals before falling in 18 holes to Aman Gupta. At last year’s championship, the Wellesley resident finished third in stroke play and made it to the Round of 32 before falling to eventual quarterfinalist Nick Gabrelcik.
Parziale will make his fifth career appearance at the U.S. Amateur after capturing medalist honors in qualifying at Winchester Country Club, where he made nine birdies in 11 holes to secure his spot in the championship proper. Parziale most recent played in the 2020 Championship, where he competed in the stroke-play rounds but missed the cut for match play.
Parziale and Thorbjornsen’s five trips to the U.S. Amateur each rank fourth-most in the field.
Imai played in the 2021 and 2018 championships, while Emmerich played in the 2019 contest. Parker also returns to the U.S. Amateur after last playing in it more than a decade ago, and Cummings, a Boston College standout, returns after most recently competing in 2015.
The Bay State’s first timers are Whitney, Francoeur, O’Leary and Stahle. Whitney and Francoeur were both near the top of the alternates list and shortly after got the call from the USGA that they’ll get to compete in the U.S. Amateur for the first time.
“That was super exciting,” said Whitney, the rising sophomore on the Temple University men’s golf team. “I was expecting on taking some downtime before the college season started, but I’m going to soak it all in and just have fun.”
Whitney currently leads the Mass Golf Richard D. Haskell Player of the Year Standings. His accolades include a fourth-place finish in the Mass Open, a T7 finish in the New England Amateur and making match play and then caddying for champion Conner Willet. This week, he said he’ll have his fellow Oak Hill member Ray Dennehy, a rising sophomore at Lafayette College, caddie for him. He’s also looked to Rutgers University’s Weston Jones, the reigning Mass Golf Junior Player of the Year, for advice on playing Ridgewood. But mostly it’s about enjoying the opportunity.
“My ball striking has been good, so I’ll be keeping things sharp,” he said. “Mostly I’ve been saying ‘Go have fun, and keep things in perspective.'”
Francoeur, who concluded his college career with the University of Louisville, played in U.S. Open Final Qualifying this year and in won back-to-back Ouimet Memorial Tournament titles in 2020 and 2021.
Andrew O’Leary (Norfolk)
Round 1: Tee 9 (Ridgewood) – 7:42 a.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Arcola) – 12:57 p.m.
Ethan Whitney (Westminster)
Round 1: Tee 10 (Arcola) – 7:52 a.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Ridgewood) – 1:27 p.m.
Chris Francoeur (Amesbury)
Round 1: Tee 9 (Ridgewood) – 8:13 a.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Arcola) – 1:28 p.m.
Michael Thorbjornsen (Wellesley)
Round 1: Tee 9 (Ridgewood) – 8:34 a.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Arcola) – 1:49 p.m.
Tyler Stahle (Andover)
Round 1: Tee 9 (Ridgewood) – 12:15 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Arcola) – 7:00 a.m.
Matt Parziale (Brockton)
Round 1: Tee 9 (Ridgewood) – 12:46 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Arcola) – 7:31 a.m.
James Imai (Brookline)
Round 1: Tee 1 (Arcola) – 1:28 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 9 (Ridgewood) – 8:13 a.m.
Brandon Parker (Boston)
Round 1: Tee 1 (Arcola) – 2:00 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 9 (Ridgewood) – 8:45 a.m.
Nick Cummings (Weston)
Round 1: Tee 1 (Arcola) – 2:10 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 9 (Ridgewood) – 8:55 a.m.
Christian Emmerich (Swampscott)
Round 1: Tee 1 (Ridgewood) – 2:41 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 9 (Arcola) – 9:06 a.m.
Monday, August 15 – First round, stroke play, 18 holes
Tuesday, August 16 – Second round, stroke play, 18 holes
Wednesday, August 17 – Round of 64, match play (Peacock from 3-4 p.m. & Golf Channel from 4-6 p.m.)
Thursday, August 18 – Rounds of 32 and 16, match play (Peacock from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. & Golf Channel from 12-2 p.m.)
Friday, August 19 – Quarterfinal round, match play (Peacock from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. & Golf Channel from 12-2 p.m.)
Saturday, August 20 – Semifinal round, match play (Golf Channel from 3-6 p.m.)
Sunday, August 21 – Championship match, 36 holes (Golf Channel from 2-5 p.m.)
Massachusetts’ U.S. Amateur representatives bring a bevy of USGA championship experience to this year’s championship. Thorbjornsen and Parziale are two of just 11 USGA Champions in the 312-player field at the U.S. Amateur.
Thorbjornsen, who is set to begin his junior year on the Stanford University golf team, has an extensive resume in national competition. Thorbjornsen won the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship by defeating Akshay Bhatia 1 up in the final round, which exempted him for his first of two appearances in the U.S. Open Championship the following year. At the 2019 U.S. Open, he was one of four amateur golfers to make the cut and one of the two youngest ever to do so at age 17. He also played in the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club, where he was just three strokes back of the cutline.
Not long after the U.S. Open, Thorbjornsen turned heads with a fourth-place finish at the Travelers Championship, the top finish of any amateur golfer in the championship.
Parziale emerged victorious in the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship with an 8&6 victory in the final round against Josh Nichols. The win exempted him into the 2018 U.S. Open, his first time in the championship, where he made the cut and finished T48. Parziale also played in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. As always, he’ll have his father, Dean Parziale, on the bag for him.
“I feel like I appreciate this one the most because it’s the first one I’ve had to qualify for since 2006 in Hazeltine,” Parziale said. “You never know when it’s going to be your last one so I’m really going to enjoy this one.”
Emmerich, meanwhile, is making his first appearance in the Mass Amateur since 2019. The Holy Cross standout has had an outstanding season, including a T2 finish and course record at the New England Amateur and a quarterfinals appearance at the Mass Amateur.
“My game’s felt good all season long,” Emmerich said. “I think I’ll be a lot more focused in this year and not get caught up in everything that goes on around the U.S. Amateur.”
Emmerich is also making a little road trip out of this, playing Winged Foot this week on the ride down before the practice rounds this weekend. Playing in the Northeast, he said, his much more familiar than Pinehurst three years ago.
“Thankfully, this time it’s in New Jersey and it’s not on Bermuda (grass), which was a big issue for me,” Emmerich said after his qualifying event. “I think it’s going to be grass that I know, and I think I’m going to prepare a lot smarter than I did last time.”
The average age of the field is 22.79 years. The youngest competitor is 15-year-old Ratchanon Chantananuwat, and the oldest is 59-year-old Jerry Gunthorpe.
Golfers come from 43 states and 29 countries, with nearly 18% of the field hailing from outside of the United States.
In addition to Thorbjornsen and Parziale, there are nine other USGA Champions in the field, though none have ever won the U.S. Amateur. The group does, however, included two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Stewart Hagestad (2016, 2021) and U.S. Junior Amateur Champions Wenyi Ding (2022), Nick Dunlap (2021) and Preston Summerhays (2019). There are also six USGA runners-up in the field, including last year’s U.S. Amateur runner-up Austin Greaser.
Hagestad leads the field for most U.S. Amateur appearances with 13.
18 golfers are in the top 20 of the Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking®, led by No. 2 Ludvig Aberg.
The U.S. Amateur was first contested in 1895, making it the oldest USGA championship. The championship was formed after two clubs, Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island and St. Andrew’s Golf Club in New York, each held their own tournament to determine a national amateur champion — leading to two different champions and widespread calls for a unified contest.
Representatives from both clubs, as well as The Country Club, Chicago Golf Club and New York’s Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, met soon thereafter to form a new association for golf in the United States. The USGA was founded in December of 1894 with the intent to serve as the governing body of all U.S. golf clubs, which included running national championships and establishing universal rules.
Charles Blair Macdonald became the first U.S. Amateur Champion the following year. Other notable champions include Bob Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.
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