Spitz and Kirby Advance to U.S. Senior Open - MASSGOLF

Spitz and Kirby Advance To U.S. Senior Open

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2022

SCITUATE, Massachusetts – With sunny skies, a gentle breeze and the scent of ocean mist, one could easily get lost in the scenery at Hatherly Country Club (Scituate) on Monday. But Brian Spitz (Weymouth) and Ed Kirby (Wakefield, RI) were able to brave the elements to shoot matching 69’s and earn their spot in the 2022 U.S. Senior Open.

While Spitz and Kirby had similar days on the scorecard, three birdies offsetting two bogeys, the two couldn’t have had more of a differing finish.

ONLINE: RESULTS | U.S. SENIOR OPEN HOME | USGA EVENTS

Playing about 40 minutes ahead of Kirby, Brian Spitz was walking the fairways at two-under, looking emotionless and in complete control of his game. Fairway, green, two-putt was the name of the game coming down the stretch.

“The key (to) the round was driving it really well today, fairly long and straight. Overall I was happy the way I struck the ball.”

Brian Spitz hits a putt on the 17th hole at U.S. Senior Open Qualifying at Hatherly CC in Scituate. (Mass Golf)

On the final hole, Spitz was faced with a 40-foot birdie putt up a steep slope. After his first putt came up short, the par putt snuck by the edge, forcing Spitz to tap in for a closing bogey. Still, he looked unfazed, which is not what would expect for someone that was facing an hour wait to see if they made it.

For Spitz, the wait was certainly worth it, as 69 was good for co-medalist honors and a trip to his first ever U.S. Senior Open.

This year marks the first time in four-plus years that Brian has played competitive golf. Earlier this year, he teed it up at U.S. Open Local Qualifying at Foxborough CC, where his younger brother Ben was one of five to advance to U.S. Open Final Qualifying.

Every competitive golfer alive has stood on the practice putting green, and uttered the words “This putt, for a spot in the Open.”

What every competitive golfer hasn’t faced is a phone call buzzing on their Apple Watch as they were about to hit said putt.

As Ed Kirby was standing over his birdie putt on the 18th hole, with a spot in the U.S. Senior Open on the line, his wrist started buzzing. Luckily, Kirby was able to stay in the moment. After a quick word of reassurance from his caddie, Kirby stepped up and buried the putt.

 

“On the last hole, and I said, ‘come on, just stay in the shot’ and I hit it. The putt was brutal and I just knew it. And I said, I can’t goose it. I gotta play it out there and let it come back. And that was like a U.S. Open putt right there.”

For Kirby, the 2022 U.S. Senior Open will mark his return to Major Championship golf. “I played in a few U.S. Open’s and now I finally get to play in the U.S. Senior (Open). I’m just I’m so excited because I’ve worked really hard for this at work. I’ve put a lot of time and the club (The Aquidneck Club; Portsmouth, RI) has been unbelievably supportive.”

OTHER STORY LINES

Joe Eadie (Springfield, MA) is well-known in the Mass Golf circles for his work with both First Tee Massachusetts and Springfield College. Last year, Eadie was featured in a Mass Golf video titled A Lifetime of Golf. Eadie has made a career of teaching golf and has been the Head Coach of the men’s golf team at Springfield College for 29 years. Eadie is also a Lead Coach for First Tee Massachusetts (Springfield), which is a Mass Golf sponsored program that helps kids and teens learn to play golf along with life lessons and leadership skills. Eadie finished with a respectable 78.

Lee Khang (Rockland, MA), father of LPGA star Megan Khang, held the early clubhouse lead after carding a 72 (+2) thanks to birdies on two of his final three holes. “I stopped playing defensive golf and just let it go. That was the key.” said Khang. “I missed a few that I could close my eyes and make if there was no pressure. I need to do more of this (play).”

Lee Khang (left) will travel to Pine Needles (Southern Pines, NC) to watch his daughter compete in the U.S. Women’s Open this June. (Mass Golf)

Next up for Lee is a tournament in Minnesota before heading down to Pine Needles (Southern Pines, NC) to watch his daughter tee it up in the U.S. Women’s Open. In 2021 Khang finished T4 at the U.S. Women’s Open, just two shots back of the winning score.

Read more about Lee’s (and Megan’s) journey here.


QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)

Brian Spitz (Weymouth, MA); (-1) 69

Ed Kirby (Wakefield, RI); (-1) 69

ALTERNATES (In Order)

Damon Lusk (a) (Reading, MA); (+1) 71

Andy Morse (West Roxbury, MA); (+1) 71


U.S. SENIOR OPEN FAST FACTS

Venue: Saucon Valley Country Club (Old Course), Bethlehem, Pa.

Opened: 1922

Architect: Herbert Strong (renovations by William Gordon, Perry Maxwell and Tom Marzolf)

Dates of Championship: June 23-26

Field Size: 156 competitors

Yardage/Par: 7,028 yards/Par 71 (Subject to Change)

Tickets: For ticket information and packages, click here

Eligibility: Open to any professional and amateur golfer who is 50 years of age as of June 23 and whose Handicap Index does not exceed 3.4.

2021 Championship: Jim Furyk overcame a rocky start in the final round to edge two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and past Masters champion Mike Weir by three strokes at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, posted a 72-hole total of 7-under-par 273.

Fast Fact: This is the 100-year anniversary of the club’s Old Course. While Saucon Valley was founded in 1920, the Old Course did not open until two years later. Saucon’s 18-hole Grace Course opened in 1958 and the Weyhill Course opened in 1968.

What Champion Receives: A gold medal, custody of the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy for ensuing year, exemption into 2023 U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club, and exemptions into the next 10 U.S. Senior Opens.

Future Sites: SentryWorld, Stevens Point, Wis./June 29-July 2, 2023, Newport Country Club, Newport, R.I./June 27-30, 2024

HATHERLY COUNTRY CLUB

Situated along the coast in Scituate, Hatherly Country Club is home to some of the most scenic views Massachusetts golf has to offer. Having been founded in 1899, it is one of the oldest clubs in the country. On Monday, the calm conditions made for an enjoyable day on the links, but the lack of wind eliminated one of the key defenses the course has to offer. “The is the calmest I’ve ever seen it.” Said Head Golf Professional Chip Johnson. “Usually it’s blowing 30 mph all day.”

Hatherly CC boasts some of the most scenic views in Massachusetts. (Mass Golf)

In recent years Bruce Hepner, golf course architect, has been involved in helping make on-course changes. While tree removal has been part of the plan, some of the more interesting updates have been made around the greens. With new, closely-mown run-off areas, the greens now have a “Pinehurst feel” which is fitting since many of them have Donald Ross design features. The fourth green is a spitting image of those found at Pinehurst No. 2.

The most recent Mass Golf Championship to be held at Hatherly was the Girls’ Junior Championship in 2020. The field was loaded with talent, many of whom are now competing in the college ranks. Rebecca Skoler (Univ. of Virginia) edged out Anne Walsh (Columbia Univ.) thanks to her final round 69 (-3).


ABOUT MASS GOLF

Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport. 

With a community made up of over 100,000 golf enthusiasts and over 360 member clubs, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Members enjoy the benefits of handicapping, engaging golf content, course rating and scoring services along with the opportunity to compete in an array of events for golfers of all ages and abilities 

At the forefront of junior development, Mass Golf is proud to offer programming to youth in the state through First Tee Massachusetts and subsidized rounds of golf by way of Youth on Course. 

For more news about Mass Golf, follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.