U.S. Amateur Four-Ball & U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Qualifying At CC of Wilbraham - MASSGOLF

Three Teams Lock Up Spot In 2024 USGA Four-Ball Championships In Western Massachusetts

For Immediate Release: October 3, 2023

WILBRAHAM, Massachusetts – The competitive golf season is beginning to wind down in New England, as evidenced by the trees in their incipient stage of transformation for the fall foliage. Tuesday, however, was a comfortable, clear day as some major names in the golf world, including national broadcaster Shane Bacon, and players from prestigious clubs and prestigious universities, such as Yale & Dartmouth, convened Tuesday at Country Club of Wilbraham.

Three teams walked away with something to look forward into the new year: a trip to a USGA Four-Ball Championship.

After being on the outside looking in for the past few years, Thorny Lea Golf Club legends Shannon Johnson and Megan Buck put together a complete 18-hole effort capped off with a birdie putt on the final hole to shoot 7-under 65 and earn their first spot in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship since 2019. They’ll compete next spring at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas.

Seven was apparently the lucky number of the day as former pros Joseph Harney (Charles River Country Club) & Jason Parajeckas (Pleasant Valley Country Club) also went 7-under to clinch a spot in the 2024 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Philadelphia Cricket Club. Tim Bickford (Meriden, CT) & Christopher Sica (Cheshire, CT) equalized to earn their second straight trip to the Championship Proper.

Online: Four-Ball Results | Women’s Four-Ball Results | USGA Events Home


Qualifying for USGA championships isn’t getting any easier for mid-amateurs Megan Buck and Shannon Johnson, especially when you’re facing a field nearly half-full of current Ivy League players on a course they had never played before Tuesday.

Overcoming those odds, they prevailed with impeccable teamwork, each making birdies when they needed to most to control their destiny coming down the home stretch. After Johnson’s par save fell in the side door on the 17th hole, they needed a birdie or better on the par-5 closing hole to move into the lead.

Buck, who drove the ball well all day, hit her final drive in Position A but still had a 3-wood into the green. Taking a full swing, she originally thought her shot was over the back, but turns out it was pin-high left, leaving a makable eagle putt. She didn’t make the eagle but by the time she attempted it, Johnson was already in for birdie.

“It’s a big relief,” said Buck, who made four birdies Tuesday. “We were walking up 18 and we said at least we played well and put ourselves in position to qualify.

“I love four-ball and partner events,” she continued. “You swing for the fences when you can and somebody’s got my back. It’s really when I play my best.”

Johnson and Buck made birdie on both par 3s and par 5s on the front nine, but their next two on the tighter back nine came on par 4s (12 and 16).

“We were able to capitalize on a lot of good shots that Megan hit, and obviously making putts is key to this whole thing and we were able to get them to drop,” said Johnson, this year’s winner of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament and Massachusetts Women’s Mid-Amateur for the Keyes Cup.

Now Buck will get a homecoming of sorts as she was born in Lubbock, Texas, still about a 6-hour drive away from Oak Hills.

“I only lived there a few years, but I’m still a Texas girl,” Buck said. “I like that part of the world.”

Shannon Johnson, left, and Megan Buck study the 18th fairway during Tuesday’s qualifying action at Country Club of Wilbraham. (Mass Golf)


-Dartmouth college teammates Sophie Thai & Kimberly Shen originally took the lead into the clubhouse after Thai hit a perfectly-paced downhill putt for birdie on the 18th to shoot 6-under-par 66. They ended up with the second alternate spot.

Yale’s Mia Secca aced the par-3 10th hole (150 yards) with a 9-iron, which at the time gave her and fellow Bulldog Ashley Yen the lead. It’s the second hole-in-one lifetime for Secca, who qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Renaissance in Haverhill earlier this year. The Yale sophomore is the daughter of retired Augusta National golf professional Tony Secca and has family ties to New England. “Massachusetts holds a special place in my heart. Half of my family is from Boston, so I love New England and I love coming back here, so it’s always fun,” Secca said.


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Maya Palanza Gaudin (Sacconnesset Golf Club), winner of this year’s Girls 11-12 Division of the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals teamed up with another Drive, Chip & Putt competitor Champa Visetsin (Youth On Course; Sudbury, MA). Gaudin and Visetsin, who are 13 and 14, respectively, finished with a 77, as Gaudin made a pair of birdies on par-3s but couldn’t enough putts to drop to stay in contention. To learn more about Maya’s story, CLICK HERE


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Jason Parajeckas and Joe Harney grew up playing junior golf together and once made a go of it in the professional ranks. Years removed from the grind that is pro golf, they’re now happier as ever playing in amateur events.

Perhaps that joy drove them back into a national event. The pair made three birdies each, making the turn at 4-under and getting to 7-under with a birdie on the 10th and a Harney eagle on the 11th to qualify for the U.S. Four-Ball together for the first time.

“You can enjoy it as long as you have a solid career, and you’ve got a family that supports you whether you play good or bad, it doesn’t matter,” said Parajeckas, a former UConn standout. “That’s that’s kind of key for being out here and becoming successful because you don’t really have any expectations.”

Parajeckas, the son of longtime Central Mass golf professional Paul Parajeckas, said he took some advice from his dad heading into this event: “Be patient, and good things happen to good players.”

It also helped to have a teammate like Harney, who is having an outstanding 2023 campaign. Harney, who won the Mass Open in 2015, advanced to the semifinals of this year’s Mass Amateur Championship and made match play in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. 

“My confidence was confidence in Joe, which allowed me to do what I did and have some fun out there,” Parajeckas said.


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Bickford and Sica came knew they were chasing 7-under after seeing Harney and Parajeckas post their final score. Despite a pair of bogeys on holes 3 and 4 (their 12th and 13th) to drop to 4-under, the pair rallied late. Bickford made an eagle on the short par-4 7th (270 yards), and Sica followed up with a two-putt par after his original lag putt checked up about 10 feet short. With a par on the 9th, they officially made it 2-for-2 in their second time attempting to qualify for this event.

“We were talking about how much nicer it makes the winter, having to sit inside knowing that we get to play this tournament,” said Bickford, who made Sica through their membership at Wallingford Country Club. “It was a roller coaster of a round, but to get there in the end, it definitely feels good.”

“Experiencing it once, made us want to try for it as long as we can,” added Sica, who shot 68 with Bickford in the opening round of this year’s championship at Kiawah back in May.

Bickford, a former college baseball player at Monmouth University and University of Bridgeport, said this year was more of a relief. To qualify in 2022, the pair had to sit around for four hours after their round and then go back out and advance via a playoff.


-2023 has been a special year for Shane Bacon. The national broadcaster has worked on the Golf Channel, Fox, and currently hosts the podcast “Get a Grip” and earlier this year played in his first U.S. Amateur at age 39. He tried to add to his accolades Tuesday by teaming up with Brooklawn CC club champion Conor Mcgovern, who recently moved to Boston for work. The pair shot 2-under 70 on Tuesday to come up short, but Bacon made birdie on the final hole to end the day on a high note.  “The Boston-area golf is some of the most underrated in the country,” said Bacon, who is now off to Florida to broadcast this week’s Korn Ferry Tour Championship. “The private clubs are amazing. The public stuff is great. I know it’s a relatively short season, but the golf is unbelievable. With the U.S. Open last year, it was cool to see why (the USGA) need to be back here more often, because this is about as good as it gets in terms of the fans and golf courses.”


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Joseph Harney (West Roxbury, MA) & Jason Parajeckas (Woburn, MA) (-7) 65

Tim Bickford (Meriden, CT) & Christopher Sica (Cheshire, CT); (-7) 65


Bobby Leopold (England) & Tyler Cooke (Warwick, RI); (-5) 67*

Jake Shuman (Boston, MA) & Ben Cooley (Phoenixville, PA); (-5) 67**

*Earned spot on second playoff hole

**Earned spot on sixth playoff hole


Megan Buck (North Easton, MA) & Shannon Johnson (North Easton, MA); (-7) 65


Yvette O’brien (Greenwich, CT) & Annie Dai (Longmeadow, MA); (-6) 66*

Sophie Thai (Los Altos, CA) & Kimberly Shen (Johns Creek, GA); (-6) 66

*Earned spot on third playoff hole


The 2024 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship will take place May 25-29 at Philadelphia Cricket Club. The Wissahickon Course, designed by A.W. Tillinghast, will serve as the Championship venue, while the Militia Hill course will co-host the stroke play portion of the tournament. The full field will consist of 128 sides. Each member of the side cannot have a Handicap Index® exceeding 5.4.


Oak Hills Country Club, in San Antonio, Texas, has been chosen as the host site for the 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Originally founded in 1922 as the Alamo Country Club, Oak Hills was designed by premier architect A.W. Tillinghast. Holes 9 and 18 at Oak Hills are par-3s, making it one of the few courses in the world where both closing holes of each nine ends with a one-shotter. The full field will feature 64 sides, with each member of the side cannot have a USGA Handicap Index® that exceeds 14.4.


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