- Golfer Benefits
Five years ago, Erin Hills in Wisconsin hosted the U.S. Open for the first time. Now the venerable public golf course built upon more than 600 acres of repurposed farm land, is set to host the largest U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship to date.
With the new mark of 5,708 entries this year, 7 Massachusetts golfers have advanced to the championship field of 264 players who are 25 years and older. Those players include Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea Golf Club) and last year’s semifinalist Nick Maccario (Bradford Country Club), who are coincidently are the last two winners of Mass Golf’s Richard D. Haskell Player of the Year Award Presented by Delta.
Three returning amateurs this year — Matthew Naumec (GreatHorse), Jake Shuman (Blue Hill Country Club) and Matt Cowgill (Granite Links Golf Club)— all qualified, as did senior standout Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich Golf Club), who is set for his 19th USGA Championship. Rounding out the group is Jeff Lindo (Segregansett Country Club), who earned an alternate spot from the Walpole qualifier.
The U.S. Mid-Amateur begins with 18 holes of stroke play this Saturday and Sunday at Erin Hills (7369-yards, par-71), with nearby Blue Mound Golf & Country Club (6,744-yards, par-70) serving as the co-stroke play venue. The low 64 players advance to match play beginning Monday and playing out through Thursday.
Scroll down to for more information on the Mass Golf members competing, as well as starting times for each of them.
Saturday, Sept. 10 (Stroke Play, Round 1, 18 holes)
Sunday, Sept. 11 (Stroke Play, Round 2, 18 holes)
Monday, Sept. 12 (Round of 64, match play)
Tuesday, Sept. 13 (Round of 32/Round of 16, match play)
Wednesday, Sept. 14 (Quarterfinals/Semifinals, match play)
Thursday, Sept. 15 (Championship Match, 36 holes)
Nick Maccario said it’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since he made an incredible run to the semifinals of the U.S. Mid-Amateur, taking place on Nantucket last year. Maccario survived a 13-for-7 playoff to make it to match play at Sankaty Head, where he proceeded to rally back in his first three matches and cruise in his quarterfinal match before falling to Mark Costanza in the semifinals.
Thanks to his performance, Maccario earned a two-year exemption and plans on making both of them count.
“I want to back up good past performances,” said Maccario ahead of his 4th appearance in the event. “I don’t have to be perfect to get to match play, just enjoy it. There was no stress to qualify, which has given me the ability to relax and go out guns blazing.”
This is Maccario’s second USGA Championship Proper this year, as he reached the Round of 16 with partner Mike Calef in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. Though he’s competed in several qualifiers plus elite amateur events like the Northeast Amateur, it’s been a rather spread out schedule. Other than a scary bout of dehydration that forced him to withdraw from a July event, Maccario said he’s felt confident in his preparation to stay sharp for the championship.
“The game has come around,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve played competitive golf. I feel like I’m in the happy medium.”
When the U.S. Mid-Amateur begins Saturday, Jeff Lindo will be one of the first to have his name called on the tee. Lindo is playing the first group off hole 1 at Erin Hills, where Brooks Koepka won his first U.S. Open. At the same time, Lindo and his wife are expecting their first son, and before Lindo even found out he got in as an alternate, they had settled on a name.
“We have a baby named Brooks on the way,” Lindo said. “We both like the name. It’s seems fitting, especially now.”
Last year, Lindo made six birdies but fell two strokes short of qualifying for his first USGA Championship. He appeared to have come up short again this year, losing in a playoff to Doug Clapp at Walpole Country Club. However, due to a withdrawal from Walpole co-medalist Max Campion, he now has the opportunity to compete on a national golf championship for the first time. Like everybody else, the goal is to make match play.
“That’s cool to lead it off at Erin Hills,” said Lindo, a former professional body builder turned amateur golf standout. “You always see the first group on every major, so it’s going to be cool.”
Matthew Naumec, Jake Shuman, and Matt Cowgill were all paired together when they competed in the stroke play portion of this year’s Mass Amateur Champion. The three former professionals regained their amateur status this year, and together will appear in their first Mass Mid-Amateur Championship.
“We’re genuine friends,” said Naumec, who grew up playing golf with Shuman and Cowgill. “I think we respect one another’s games. We’ve played practice rounds together, and we’re comfortable seeing new golf courses.”
Naumec will also see a familiar face in Stewart Hagestad, the defending champion who played all 72-holes at this year’s U.S. Open at The Country Club. Naumec, who played in the 2019 U.S. Open, said he’s played in similar tournaments as Hagestad.
“I know he’s a phenomenal golfer,” Naumec said of Hagestad. “You want to be with somebody who’s going to push you. It keeps your competitive spirit up and keeps you into in mentally for 4.5 hours. I’m looking forward to the chance to play him and put a few good rounds to try to make it to match play.”
Shuman, who made a family trip to Erin Hills earlier this year, said he’s excited for his first go-around on a course he has some familiarity with now. “If I can play my best golf, I can compete with most people,” he said.
It’s been 5 years since Matt Parziale, hoisted the U.S. Mid-Amateur trophy, setting up a series of memorable appearances in the 2018 Masters and the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2019.
Parziale, 35, is currently in the midst of a 10-year exemption for the U.S. Mid-Amateur, where he’s reached match play five times in seven U.S. Mid-Amateurs played. Last year he came up two strokes shy of the cut, but made it match play in both 2018 and 2019 (lost in round of 64 both time).
This season, he has a pair of runner-up finishes this year in the Ouimet Memorial Tournament and Norfolk Country Classic. However, he’s still proven he’s among the state’s best as he made nine birdies in 11 holes to earn medalist honors in the U.S. Amateur qualifier at Winchester Country Club. He’s also qualified for next year’s U.S. Four-Ball with longtime playing partner Herbie Aikens.
A former firefighter who now works for an insurance brokerage firm, Parziale shared low-amateur honors with Luis Gagne in the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Parziale also won the Mass Mid-Amateur last year.
If Doug Clapp is eligible for a USGA Championship, count on him giving it a go. The 55-year-old Old Sandwich Golf Club member is set to compete in his 10th U.S. Mid-Amateur (19 total USGA championships) and is still playing at an extremely high level.
This year, Clapp is the third-oldest player in the field. At 59, Mike McCoy is the oldest, but these two go back. The two faced off in the second round of the 1998 U.S. Mid-Amateur, with McCoy edging him out.
Clapp is hoping match play is in the cards once again after coming up short last year. This year, he won the Senior Hornblower Memorial Tournament, plus a top 5 finish in the Lowery Division of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament.
Course length at Erin Hills (7,369 yards) will certainly be a challenge for the senior standout, but as is the case with almost all championship golf, short game will make the biggest difference.
“It’ll be a pretty big golf course for me,” Clapp said. “We’ll go and give it my best shot and try to play it from the fairway. It’ll be fun to be out there with Nick [Maccario] and Matt [Parziale] and the other Mass guys who qualified. I’m spoiled in Massachusetts, but a USGA event is always a fun time.”
(All times Eastern)
Jeff Lindo (Swansea)
Round 1: Tee 1 (Erin Hills) – 7:50 a.m. | Round 2: Tee 10 (Blue Mound) – 12:50 p.m.
Matthew Naumec (Wilbraham)
Round 1: Tee 1 (Blue Mound) – 8:23 a.m. | Round 2: Tee 10 (Erin Hills) – 1:23 p.m.
Matt Cowgill (Weston)
Round 1: Tee 10 (Blue Mound) – 8:45 a.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Erin Hills) – 1:45 p.m.
Nick Maccario (Waltham)
Round 1: Tee 10 (Blue Mound) – 9:18 a.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Erin Hills) – 2:18 p.m.
Jake Shuman (Boston)
Round 1: Tee 1 (Blue Mound) – 12:50 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 10 (Erin Hills) – 7:50 a.m.
Doug Clapp (Plymouth)
Round 1: Tee 1 (Erin Hills) – 1:56 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 10 (Blue Mound) – 8:56 p.m.
Matt Parziale (Brockton)
Round 1: Tee 10 (Erin Hills) – 2:07 p.m. | Round 2: Tee 1 (Blue Mound) – 9:07 a.m.
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