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— Thursday, September 30 Update —
Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) terrific run through his first-ever U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship came to an end Thursday morning, falling to Nick Constanza (Morristown, NJ), 2&1, in the semifinals at Sankaty Head Golf Club on Nantucket Island.
Constanza advanced to the final match with Stewart Hagestad (Newport Beach, Calif.), who took a 5-up lead through the first 18 holes. The match will conclude Friday morning.
Maccario, the 2020 Mass Golf Player of the Year, faced a 4-down deficit through nine, even after chipping in for birdie on the 9th to tie the hole. Constanza was solid with the putter through, making four of his seven birdies on the front nine. Maccario edged himself back into it on the back nine with birdies on holes 12 and 13 and almost took the match the distance.
“When I made the [birdie] putt on 13, I started to hear, ‘Come on, you can do this,’ which is fantastic,” Maccario said. “There were a fair amount of people out there the whole week, telling me, Massachusetts is rooting for you.”
Constanza, the 2020 MET and New Jersey Player of the Year, put the pressure back on by winning the 14th, and though Maccario took the 16th, the group split the 17th.
Though he came up short of the ultimate prize, an exemption into the 2022 Masters and the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Maccario still earned a two-year exemption into the U.S. Mid-Amateur, which takes place at Erin Hills in Wisconsin next year.
“The goal was to try to get to The Country Club next year,” he said. “The goal is still to do that, but now I have to do it in a little bit harder way.”
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— Wednesday, September 29 Update —
Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) will be spending another night on Nantucket as he has punched his ticket to the semifinals of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Sankaty Head GC. Late in the afternoon, Maccario put up a convincing 5 & 4 win in the quarterfinals over Gregor Orlando (Haverford, PA) to continue his run. The 2020 Mass Golf Player of the Year refused to relinquish his lead throughout the quarterfinal match and ended it early a birdie on the par-3, 14th hole.
Maccario will be facing off against Mark Costanza (Morristown, NJ) in the semifinal match beginning at 7:45 a.m. Thursday morning. Costanza, the number 23 seed, also defeated his opponent 5 & 4 in his quarterfinal match. The 2020 Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year has yet to be pushed past 17 holes in match play of this Championship, something that he and Maccario share in common.
Mass Golf will be bringing you live coverage from the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Mass Golf’s Instagram account (@PlayMassGolf).
CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW TO ACCESS THE LIVE STREAM ON INSTAGRAM.
Down at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) made a heroic charge on the back-9 from a 4-down deficit to take the semifinal match to extra holes. Johnson took advantage of her opponent’s, Blakesly Brock (Chattanooga, TN), misfires to chip away at the lead beginning on the 13th hole. Steady play, with par being the better score on the remaining holes, would only be enough to even out the match through 18 holes.
Brock would ultimately defeat Johnson on the 19th hole with a long birdie putt to head to the Championship match. Congratulations to Johnson on her run at this year’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
— Wednesday, September 29 Update —
On Wednesday morning both Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) and Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) won their respective matches to advance to the next round of their Mid-Amateur Championships.
At the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, Shannon Johnson fell behind (2-down) early in her quarterfinal match against Lauren Greenlief (Ashburn, VA). However Johnson won 4-straight holes starting on the 5th to turn the 2-down deficit into a 2-up advantage. Johnson never looked back and won the match 3 & 1. The win sent her to the Semifinals, and her match was slated to start just before 2 p.m.
Over at Sankaty Head GC, Nick Maccario continued his magical run in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Like Johnson, he fell 2-down early in match (Round of 16) against Brad Nurse (St. Joseph, MO). After a bit of back-and-forth through the middle of the match, Maccario made his move on the 13th hole. Again, like Johnson, Maccario won 4 straight holes to flip the match and close it out on the 16th hole. The win sent him to the Quarterfinals.
— Tuesday, September 28 Update —
On Tuesday, two Mass Golfers won a pair of matches each to advance in their respective U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships.
Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) won a back-and-forth battle in the morning over Daniel Campbell before making quick work of Jay Moore in the afternoon. His two wins have earned him a spot in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship – Round of 16 on Wednesday.
Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) defeated Lila Thomas in her morning match, winning 3 & 2. And in the afternoon, she took on 2021 Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame Inductee Tara Joy-Connelly (Now of Fla.), defeating her 1-up in a hard-fought battle.
With the 40th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship being held at Sankaty Head GC (Siasconset, MA), Nick Maccario is the only remaining competitor playing a “home game.” In fact, Maccario is the only Mass Golfer to have made it to the Match Play portion of the Championship.
Playing his Round of 64 match on Tuesday morning, Maccario fell behind early (2-down thru 4), but won back-to-back holes on three different occasions to erase the deficit and eventually earn a 2 & 1 victory over Daniel Campbell (Bellingham, Wash.).
After a quick break for lunch, Maccario was sent right back out to play in his Round of 32 match. Playing Jay Moore (Lincoln, Neb.), Maccario again fell behind early, losing the 2nd hole. But he would bounce back to win the 3rd, and then went on an 8-hole stretch where he won 5 holes, losing none. He closed out the match on the 14th hole, winning by a final tally of 5 & 4.
With his two victories on Tuesday, Maccario has earned a spot in the Round of 16, which is the furthest he’s ever advanced in this event.
Shannon Johnson is no stranger to success at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, having won the event in 2018. She is now just 3 wins away from winning the event for the second time in her career.
On Tuesday, Johnson started her Round of 32 match by going 2-up early. Her competitor, Lila Thomas (Dallas, Texas) fought back quickly to even the match after 5, but Johnson would win the next two holes to grab a 2-up lead again. She would never look back, winning the match 3 & 2.
In the afternoon, Shannon Johnson, would face a Massachusetts legend, Tara Joy-Connelly. Tara Joy-Connelly (a nine-time winner of Mass Golf’s Anne Marie Tobin Player of the Year Award) is set to be inducted into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame later his year. With these type of credentials (Johnson also a 3-time winner of the POY Award), it was no surprise to see the match go the full 18.
Johnson trailed by 1 at the turn, but was still feeling good. “I think for not swinging it well and only being 1 down, I was pretty happy with that going into the turn, which was good. So I knew if I could swing just one, that’s a big momentum turner, and then if I can get another one and get up on her, then that’s really good.” said Johnson.
The momentum turned on the 11th hole, when Shannon evened the match and then built a 2-up lead over the next few holes. With matching pars on the final hole, Shannon Johnson won the match 1-up.
She will now take on 2015 Champion Lauren Greenlief (Ashburn, Va) on Wednesday.