- Golfer Benefits
WALPOLE, Massachusetts – September is setting up to be a pretty great month for Mass Golf Members. Walpole Country Club hosted qualifying for two national championships on Wednesday — the U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur — with all seven spots up for grabs combining going to Bay State natives.
In the Mid-Amateur qualifier, Bostonians Jake Shuman (Blue Hill Country Club) and Maxwell Campion (Woods Hole Golf Club) split medalist honors to earn their first-ever spots in the U.S. Mid-Amateur, taking place September 10-15 at Erin Hills and Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, Winchester’s Tracy Welch (Winchester CC) clinched her 13th spot in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in the afternoon, shooting 1-over 72 to lead the four qualifiers, all from Massachusetts. There are now seven Mass Golfers in the field at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Ft. Myers, Florida, with the Championship Proper set for September 17-22.
MORNING PLAY: U.S. MID-AMATEUR QUALIFYING
Back in May, Boston’s Jake Shuman (Blue Hill Country Club) joined family members on a trip to Erin Hills and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Three months later, he’ll get a return ticket.
Shuman, a 26-year-old former Duke University standout, earned co-medalist honors with fellow Bostonian Maxwell Campion as the two shot 2-under-par 69 to take the first guaranteed spots into the Championship Proper.
“Growing up, the Mid-Amateur has been the forbidden fruit,” said Shuman, who regained his amateur status this year. “Everybody there can play. I’m sure there’s a handful of guys in similar spot — returning amateurs. The level is incredibly high. A lot of it is how much practice I can get in. If I can play my best golf, I can compete with most people.”
Shuman had a helping hand in Matt Cowgill (Granite Links Golf Club), another returning amateur who qualified last week at Crumpin Fox. Shuman birdied the second hole, and then made eagle on the 4th when he hit a 4-iron 230-yards, setting up an 8-foot putt straight up the hill below the pin. “I couldn’t have placed it in a better spot,” he said.
From there Shuman was all pars, save for a bogey on the par-3 11th, but it was enough to hold on.
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Campion, meanwhile, almost let his first USGA event slip away from him. Playing Walpole for the first time, the former Harvard University standout kept it straight and into the fairway most of the day. He drained five birdies that included three straight on holes 14-16, putting him at 4-under for the round.
Facing the semi-blind tee shot on the par-4 18, Campion snap hooked a 3-wood into the marsh on his drive, and then hit his provisional into the fairway bunker. However, he hit an incredible bunker shot with a 6-iron to about 20 feet and was able to make double-bogey to putt him back at 2-under. Despite the mistake, it was enough to avoid a playoff for the final spot.
“Not all double-bogeys are created equal,” Campion said with a chuckle. “Thankfully, it wasn’t anything worse.”
Aside from the one mistake, Campion made clutch 10-foot par saves on the 10th, and then got up-and-down from the bunker on the 11th. Both his birdie putts on the 14th and 15th were difficult breaking putts, and he almost had another on 17 that rolled out on the high side.
Now Campion gets a long-awaited opportunity to play in a USGA event. Years ago, he was alternate for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with Brandon Parker but was unable to make it when they were called.
“I had boarded a flight, and was in Asia, so when the USGA called I had to tell them, ‘Unfortunately I can’t be there in 18 hours,'” Campion recalled.
Perhaps the biggest achiever of the day was Doug Clapp, the former Walpole CC member of 33 years who recently sold his home along the 8th hole.
Not only did Clapp qualify for his 10th U.S. Mid-Amateur, but he also found out Wednesday that he won the Senior Hornblower Invitational at Plymouth Country Club, as play concluded following Tuesday’s postponement due to rain. What’s more, Clapp is also high-up on the alternates list for the U.S. Senior Amateur beginning this Saturday at The Kittansett Club in Marion, 40 minutes from Clapp’s current home in Plymouth.
“Technically I won something twice in the same day,” Clapp said. “To also get to play a USGA event so close to home would be awesome.”
Back at his old stomping ground Wednesday, Clapp shot 1-under 70 to find himself in a 3-for-1 playoff with Swansea’s Jeff Lindo and Boston’s Sam Russell. Despite three-putting for bogey on the first playoff hole (18th), Russell made double-bogey and was eliminated. After two more trips down the 18th, Clapp finally got through as Lindo duffed a chip in a difficult position on the course, allowing Clapp to get through and earn his 19th spot in a USGA championship.
“I made a couple bad swings in the playoff, but I took the practical approach, and whatever it takes to get it done, gets it done,” Clapp said. “I was playing with Matt Adams, who traded club championships with me back in the day. It was like an old home pairing, so a couple of the members came out and watch. It was a fun day, and it was nice for it to end up the way it did.”
The three qualifiers Wednesday will join three Massachusetts Matts — 2017 champion Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea Golf Club), Matthew Naumec (GreatHorse), and Matthew Cowgill — in the Championship Proper at Erin Hills.
AFTERNOON PLAY: U.S. WOMEN’S MID-AMATEUR QUALIFYING
For the past quarter-century, Tracy Welch has been a frequent competitor at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. This year, she’s moving on to lucky No. 13.
Welch, the two-time Mass Women’s Amateur champion, read the greens well all day, sinking four birdies to shoot a 1-over-par 72, two strokes clear of the entire qualifying field.
“It’s been an exciting summer,” said Welch, who has played in 22 USGA events, the most recent being the historic U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur this year in Alaska. (Welch was medalist in that qualifier as well, and made it to the Round of 32 in match play. She also made a hole-in-one during the championship). “It’s super exciting, obviously being a senior now, so I’m like double the age of some of these contestants.”
Welch got a solid confidence boost after making the turn as she made birdies on the 10th and 11th holes. On the 10th, she hit a hybrid to about 3 feet for an easy birdie putt, and hit the same club to 10 feet on the 11th for the other. That also provided some breathing room as she followed those up with a pair of 6s, however, she was able to settle in and finish on top of the field.
“The putting was good today, the greens are beautiful, and I was rolling them in,” Welch said. “It’s tight in places, and a couple times I got into trouble and took my punishment and just tried to avoid a big number.”
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Mary Mulcahy (Hatherly Country Club) also earned a return ticket to the Women’s Mid-Amateur as the 28-year-old Scituate native made birdie on the 2nd and 15th holes and avoided big numbers everywhere else. Mulcahy has qualified in every year she’s been eligible with 2020 being the exception since the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. Now Mulcahy will seek to make match play for the first time.
Another Mary — Mary Chamberlain (Cummaquid Golf Club) — had to battle it out in a 3-for-2 playoff alongside Megan Buck (Thorny Lea Golf Club) and Audrey Dalton, of Portland, Oregon. However, this playoff didn’t take as long as the men as Buck and Chamberlain both made par on the par-4 1st hole to clinch their spots in Florida.
Buck has finished T10 or better in stroke play in each of the past three U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur championships, making it to the quarterfinals back in 2019. Now she’ll join a team of seven women in the field, including her clubmate and 2018 champion, Shannon Johnson.
“I am excited to make the trip Florida, especially with six other Mass Golfers,” said Buck, who made a clutch birdie on the par-3 17th to make it back to the cutline. “USGA events are always such a treat, and as amateur golfers these events are what we strive for.”
U.S. MID-AMATEUR QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Maxwell Campion (Boston, MA); (-2) 69
Jake Shuman (Boston, MA); (-2) 69
Doug Clapp (Manomet, MA); (-1) 70*
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Jeff Lindo (Swansea, MA); (-1) 70**
Sam Russell (Boston, MA); (-1) 70
*Advanced on 4th playoff hole
**Earned spot with bogey on 1st playoff hole
U.S. WOMEN’S MID-AMATEUR QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Tracy Welch (Winchester, MA); (+1) 72
Mary Mulcahy (Scituate, MA); (+3) 74
Mary Chamberlain (Dennis, MA); (+7) 78*
Megan Buck (North Easton, MA); (+7) 78*
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Audrey Dalton (Portland, OR); (+7) 78
Hilary Hall (Ireland); (+8) 79
*Advanced with par on 1st playoff hole
The 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship will take place September 10-15 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin, the host site of the 2017 U.S. Open. Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin will co-host stroke play qualifying. The championship is open to any amateur golfer who has reached their 25th birthday as of Sept. 10 and whose Handicap Index does not exceed 3.4.
The 2022 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship will take place September 17-22 at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Ft. Myers, Florida. The championship is open to any female golfer who has reached her 25th birthday by September 17 and whose Handicap Index does not exceed 9.4.
Walpole Country Club was founded in 1927, and the existing golf course was designed by Al Zikorus in 1974 on the former site of the Allen family farm. In 1994, the club retained architect Ron Forse to develop a golf course master plan and numerous improvements have been made since then.
At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Walpole Country Club began the next phase of its master plan, adding nine “different and distinctive” new bunkers and taking down several trees. Bunkers on holes 1, 2, and 14, in particular, enhance the risk/reward element during the competition.
Events hosted by Walpole in recent years:
2021 – Mass Senior Four-Ball (with Foxborough CC)
2019 – LaBonte Four-Ball Tournament
2019 – Mother & Daughter / Member & Junior Modified Scotch Tournament
2012 – Mass Open Championship
2018-2022 – Mass Golf Member Day
Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for the latest information on Mass Golf championships and events. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MassGolf.