- Golfer Benefits
Bernardston, Massachusetts – Prior to Tuesday’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier at Crumpin-Fox Club, one Matt from Massachusetts was already in the Championship Field. Thanks to a matching 71’s from Matthew Cowgill (Granite Links GC) and Matthew Naumec (GreatHorse), Massachusetts now has two more in the field.
Cowgill and Naumec will join Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC), who is exempt thanks to his 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Victory, at Erin Hills next month.
The name Raymond Floyd (Tunbridge, VT) catches the eye of any golf enthusiast, especially when it’s at the top of a leaderboard. Floyd shares a name with his father, the Masters champion and four-time major winner, and is now one step closer to joining him as a USGA Champion.
For Matthew Naumec, the year 2022 has been about making golf his passion again. After years of making it profession, Naumec has made a splash in his first year back on the Amateur scene, finishing as low-amateur at the Mass Open and advancing to the quarterfinals of the Mass Am. He can now add USGA Qualifier to the 2022 resume.
“It’s very special, especially after waiting a year, and basically being out of competitive golf.” said Naumec. “We all look forward to it (USGA Championships). When I switched golf back to my passion, this is the one I had circled in my mind.”
In talking about his round, Naumec said the key was an unexpected birdie that fell on the tenth hole.
“On 10, I hit my drive into a ravine. I had 77 yards to the hole, had to take my shoes off, get the feet in the water and take a baseball swing. Somehow I hit it to two-feet, for a kick-in birdie.”
That birdie helped absorb a late stumble on 16, and earn him a trip to Erin Hills.
Matthew Cowgill, like Naumec, was reinstated as an Amateur earlier this year. And thanks to a strong finish on holes 17 and 18, he’ll join the other Matt’s on a trip to the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
“Any chance to get to play in a USGA event, you’re doing everything you can, not to let it slip away. I am just glad I was able to hold onto this one.” said Cowgill.
Coming down the stretch, the pressure was intensifying and Cowgill was staring down a potential bogey on the 17th hole. However, the flatstick came up big when he needed it most. A 12-footer for par found the bottom of the cup. That, paired with a birdie on the closing hole, helped earn Cowgill co-medalist honors.
Now we wait to see if the USGA will pair three Matt’s from Massachusetts together.
For Raymond Floyd, advancing to a USGA Championship is nothing new. At 47-years-old he’s done it 12 times before. But doing so in Massachusetts is new. And so is his caddie.
“Honestly the key to the day was having my 14-year-old daughter (Josie) caddie for me. She’s never done it before, and is just getting into the game. And I’m a fiery player, but with her out there, I had to eat the emotions a bit. That mindset really helped me out.”
Early in the day, Floyd was worried about the round getting away from him. But a key par-saving-putt on the 4th hole helped turn the day around.
“That putt was huge, because it felt like a birdie. And having a par-5 as the next hole, I was able to make a birdie. And that really put the wind in my sails.”
Floyd is excited about the upcoming trip to Erin Hills, and said this USGA Championship is the most special of the 12 he’s been to.
“It means the most to me. Because my daughter is on the bag, and my last one was in ’17. Right now, I’d say this one means the most to me.”
U.S. MID-AMATEUR QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Matthew Cowgill (Weston, MA); (-1) 71
Matthew Naumec (Wilbraham, MA); (-1) 71
Raymond Floyd (Tunbridge, VT); (E) 72
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Harry Kirkpatrick (Worcester, MA); (+1) 73
Brett Malboeuf (Shrewsbury, MA); (+2) 74*
*Advanced in Playoff
In 1981, the USGA inaugurated the U.S. Mid-Amateur, a national championship for golfers at least 25 years of age. Before the Mid-Amateur’s arrival, the post-college player found themself at a disadvantage in the U.S. Amateur. Since 1980, only four mid-amateurs have won the U.S. Amateur, the last coming in 1993 by John Harris.
In 2017, the USGA announced that the U.S. Mid-Amateur champion would receive an exemption into the following year’s U.S. Open Championship. Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) became the first to achieve that feat with his victory at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in suburban Atlanta. Since 1988, every champion has been invited to play in The Masters, and many champions have also been selected to represent the USA in the biennial Walker Cup Match.
The 2022 edition of the event will be played at Erin Hills (Erin, Wis.) and stroke-play co-host venue, Blue Mound G & CC (Wauwatosa, Wis.) from September 10-15. This year 5,708 entries were accepted, which is a new record, surpassing the previous mark of 5,339 set in 2021.
Another U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifier will be held in Massachusetts next week at Walpole CC on Wednesday, August 24.
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