The 110th Mass Amateur kicked off Monday, July 9th, with the top amateurs in the Commonwealth competing to become part of the tournaments historic list of winners. The field includes Mass Am legend, Frank Vana Jr., who has competed in the event a record-setting 32 times. The current US-Mid Am champ and defending champ Matt Parziale is looking to defend his title as well as 10 other past champions that are in this year’s field.
The event is played at both George Wright GC and Franklin Park – the only 2 golf courses within Boston’s city limits. The 115th Women’s Amateur Championship will also be held at George Wright & Franklin Park later in the month.
On Thursday, July 12th, the current Quarterfinal matches are taking place.
Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C & PC) vs. Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) – *Frodigh wins 3&2
Chris Francoeur (Amesbury G & CC) vs. Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC) – *Jamieson wins 3&2
Andrew O’Leary (Pawtucket CC) vs. Sean Fitzpatrick (George Wright GC) – *O’Leary wins 3&2
Tommy Parker (Thorny Lea GC) vs. Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC) – *Aikens wins 1 up
** Updated as of 12pm 7/12/18
Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C & PC) vs. Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC)
Andrew O’Leary (Pawtucket CC) vs. Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC)
ROUND OF 16 MATCH SUMMARIES
Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C & PC) def. Jackson Lang (Nashawtuc CC) 3 & 1
After taking the first hole of his Round of 16 match, Dedham’s Patrick Frodigh battled Lexington’s Jackson Lang for the first five holes and went into the sixth hole holding a 1-up advantage in the match.
On the par-4 sixth hole, Frodigh found trouble on the scorecard when he was forced to call a penalty on himself when his swing from the left rough, according to Frodigh, didn’t feel like a clean stroke.
He said, “On six, I was up in the left rough. I was a foot in the rough and it was really downhill right to the pin. The pin was tucked on the left side and I tried to blade my 56º and kind of Texas wedge it. I’m not sure if I double hit it, but it wasn’t struck like one strike.”
After carding a double, due in part to a missed putt that would have halved the hole, Frodigh regained the lead when he sunk a 40-foot gem on the seventh hole.
“I played it two feet out to the left and it was kind of downhill the last six feet,” recalled Frodigh. “Me and my caddie Dan talked about just kind of dying it on that top slope and [instead], it just fed right in.”
Lang would bring the match back to all-square on the 10th hole, but Frodigh ultimately got the best of his competitor, making par on both the 13th and 14th holes to increase his lead back to two, then made a par putt on the 17th hole to close out the match with a final score of 3&1.
With the victory Wednesday afternoon, Frodigh will return to the Massachusetts Amateur Championship quarterfinal round for the first time since 2015, when he fell to Nick McLaughlin in the Championship match contested at Oak Hill Country Club.
Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) def. Matt Cowgill (George Wright GC), 3 & 2
The defending champion has meticulously made his way through the first three days of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. He advanced into match play with a pair of even par rounds of 70 on Monday and Tuesday, and then he needed just 31 holes on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals.
“The first two rounds of stroke play I was a little rusty. I hadn’t played in about a week because I was moving,” said Matt Parziale. “The last nine holes of stroke play yesterday afternoon I started to feel pretty good and that carried into today so I am starting to hit it better.”
To date, Parziale has made 48 pars, 10 birdies, and seven bogies. After building a 5-up lead over rising Duke University junior Steven DiLisio (Salem CC) in the round of 32 this morning, Parziale has played 3-under par golf with one bogey over his last 25 holes
That consistent play was critical especially during the afternoon hours on Tuesday when Parziale found himself in a 2017 finals rematch with Matt Cowgill (George Wright GC) in the round of 16. Parziale made one birdie and eight pars but held just a 1-up advantage at the turn.
He was able to increase his lead to 2-up after Cowgill suffered a three-putt on the sloping 10th green. Cowgill did manage to pull within one on the 377-yard, par 4 13th hole when Parziale’s approach dropped short of the green after hitting a tree left of the green. He was unable to get up and down, but that would not be the case three holes. On that 343-yard, par 4 16th hole, Parziale sent his approach long and nearly up against the back stone wall. He was able to get up and down from off the green.
That par save delivered Parziale the victory after Cowgill failed to make his birdie putt the par-5 15th hole which he had to concede to Parziale’s birdie.
“I definitely tried to carry over the momentum and think about last year and build on that feeling,” said Cowgill, who aspires to turn pro after competing in the upcoming U.S. Amateur sectional qualifier and the Ouimet Memorial Tournament later this month. “I didn’t play that great today. Matt played great. He is always consistent, so you have to hit good shots to beat him. I missed a couple of putts that I wish I had back.”
Since stepping foot on the two City of Boston courses, Parziale has fielded questions about his summer playing in major events and the perceived edge he has here this week. However, Parziale is very straightforward in his assessment of the challenge that this unique event presents each year.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Parziale of his recent success which includes his victory at the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. “This game is so hard. This tournament is so hard to win. I have gotten beat so much here so I just love to be out here with the guys and compete and play a good round tomorrow.”
Chris Francoeur (Amesbury G & CC) def. Ben Balter (Weston GC), 1 up
As one of nine competitors who advanced to Wednesday’s match play after competing in a playoff at the end of stroke play regulation, Amesbury’s Chris Francoeur said that he was happy to just advance see another day.
“The putt I made in the playoff yesterday was probably the biggest putt I made all week,” said Francoeur. “It was like an eight-foot, downhill slider and I made it to make match play then I grinded today to get two wins.”
Two matches and 34 holes later, Francoeur heads to the quarterfinal round after besting Colin Brennan (Indian Ridge CC) in the Round of 32 by a 4&2 final, then defeating Ben Balter, 1 up, in the Round of 16. This week was also Francoeur’s first Mass Golf Championship Proper of the season.
In the afternoon round, the University of Rhode Island freshman was all-square with Balter after 11 holes and following a Balter bogey on the 12th, Francoeur was able to take the lead for good. He birdied the par-4 13th hole to extend his lead to 2-up and added another helper on 16.
Despite a last-minute effort to bring the match within one on 17, Francoeur parred 18 to finish the round at 1 up.
Following his victory, he said, “It just feels to play against the top guys in the state and know that I can compete with all of them.”
Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC) def. Bill Drohen (Brookmeadow CC), 4 & 3
Alex Jamieson wasted no time during his match against Bill Drohen, as he jumped out to a 3-up lead through five holes, thanks to birdies made on Holes 3 & 4. Jamieson remained 3-up following the conclusion of the front 9. Despite a bogey on the 10th hole, Jamieson went on to secure a 4-up advantage over Drohen through 15 holes.
Jamieson commented on both his rounds today.
“I thought I played pretty well. I feel like I hit it the same on both rounds. I don’t think I made a birdie in the morning round, but I made a lot more putts the second round. I like the course, how it’s set up it’s pretty firm right now. I’m hitting a lot of 2 irons, and I feel like I am taking advantage of the low-ball flight it produces and it is running out a lot and I’m trusting it a lot. I feel really excited heading into tomorrow.”
For Jamieson, advancing in the Mass Amateur is something he is looking forward to.
“It means a lot to me. This is a great tournament. This is our State Amateur, so it means a lot to everyone and I feel like a lot of people catch up on the results of it and follow it along a lot. So you can get a lot of recognition and everyone plays in it. You pretty much know every name in the field. It’s a lot of fun.”
Andrew O’Leary (Pawtucket CC) def. Dillon Brown (CC of Halifax), 4 & 2
In a battle of two Division I-bound golfers, two of the three remaining recent high school graduates in the Round of 16, Norfolk’s Andrew O’Leary came away with the win over friend Dillon Brown, 4&2.
“It was a good match. I started 1 up when I won the first hole, but then he made a nice birdie putt on 4 that got us back to even” said O’Leary. “I made a birdie on six, but it was pretty much back and forth the whole day. I was never more than 2 up at any point until 15. It was a really fun match.”
On the 15th hole, the second-par 5 of the day, O’Leary extended the lead courtesy of a birdie and added another on the 16th hole to complete the match.
As a fellow I felt a lot more comfortable [playing against Dillon],” said O’Leary. “I’ve been friends with Dillon for a long time. We played in a lot of tournaments with him this year. I think I’ve played in almost 10 tournament rounds with him this year. It was good to know my competitor. It didn’t feel like I was trying to battle him and try to beat him. I was just having fun out there.”
Sean Fitzpatrick (George Wright GC) def. Brian Bassett (Oyster Harbors), 1 up
Sean Fitzpatrick and Brian Bassett battled head to head through the first three holes of their Round of 16 match, as the two remained all square. On the fourth hole, Fitzpatrick tallied his first birdie of the afternoon and took his first lead of the day, then added a second birdie on the fifth hole to extend the lead to two.
The George Wright member Fitzpatrick held a 2-up lead over Bassett until the 11th hole, where a Bassett bogey helped increase Sean Fitzpatrick’s lead early. What seemed to be like a sure victory, Fitzpatrick three-putted the 16th hole to extend the match. Bassett went on to win the 17th hole, cutting the deficit to one with one hole remaining. However, a comeback effort couldn’t be completed when both competitors parred the 18th hole, leading Fitzpatrick to prevail with the win.
“Today Brian and I had a good match,” said Fitzpatrick. “I played pretty steady throughout the day and didn’t give away a lot of holes, only losing a couple holes throughout the two matches. We had some good shots, I made some birdies on 4 & 5, so I had a lead coming at the turn. Brian played pretty steadily on the back and I made a few mistakes which he capitalized on.”
For Fitzpatrick, advancing to the Massachusetts Amateur quarterfinals at his home course means so much to him.
“It’s always good to advance in the Mass Amateur, you always want to win your match,” added Fitzgerald. Obviously this year, little extra juice with it being a hometown game and it means a lot that I can play on Thursday for the Mass Amateur at my home course.”
Tommy Parker (Thorny Lea GC) def. Justin Turbeville (Falmouth CC), 1 up
Tommy Parker (Thorny Lea GC) began this week by firing a 5-under par 65 and no doubt hoped that it was a sign of good things to come. It might just be.
Fast forward to Wednesday evening when Parker was the last man standing on the 18th green at George Wright Golf Course following his round of 16 win. He was the only competitor out of the 32 who started the day who played that 18 hole two times.
He began the day with a win over Alejandro Soto (Blue Hill CC) in 19 holes and then secured his spot in the quarterfinals with a hole-winning par on the 18th hole against Justin Turbeville (Falmouth CC).
“It is definitely a grind,” said Parker, who moved to Boston in 2010 from his native Florida. “I went 19 this morning and then 18 here for 37 holes. Fortunately, it wasn’t as hot as it was yesterday, but you have to just keep playing and play smart golf and keep the ball in front of you.”
During his round of 32 match against Soto, Parker built a 3-up lead through 10 holes only to see his advantage slowly fade away as the back nine wore on. After taking a 1-up lead with a birdie on the 14th hole, Parker would be forced into extra holes after a double bogey on the 18th hole.
Parker would come through with a birdie on the 19th hole to secure the win over Soto and earn him a spot in the round of 16 against Sturgis West High School’s Justin Turbeville (Falmouth CC).
With every other competitor finished for the day, Parker found the 18th green in two and was able to two-putt to win the hole over Turbeville. The victory came after a match which saw Parker go 2-down early and then claw his way back to where he was 1 up with two holes to go.
“It’s tough. You start to think about a lot of different things and every time your mind wanders and you try to get it back to center,” said Parker. “I was 2 down early in this match and then fought back a little bit to go to 2 up and then back to all square. Justin played well, and it was a good match. It was the same thing this morning where I was 3 up and let it slide a little bit. It was a battle.”
Although he looked tired when he took his hat off in victory at 6:52 p.m., Parker is now looking ahead to the next challenge ahead
“I was thinking of the times when I haven’t had success in match play, and it was because I tried to play the opponent and paid too much attention to what they were doing instead of coming out and playing the golf course,” said Parker. “There were a few times today I let that get away from me, but I will have the same mindset tomorrow. Come out tomorrow and hit greens and hopefully get some putts to fall.”
Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC) def. Ben Spitz (George Wright GC), 2 & 1
Herbie Aikens (Old Sandwich GC) was featured in the last match of the round of 32, but he made sure he put on a clinic for those who followed his group.
The 36-year-old Kingston resident made eight straight pars and then a birdie to play the George Wright Golf Course front nine at 1-under par. He had built a 4-up lead over Mark Turner (Bass Rocks GC) through just nine holes. Aikens made three straight pars before a bogey – his lone miscue of the match – won him the 13thhole and secured him the 6 & 5 victory.
“They are tough greens to read, and you have to trust your line and just hit it,” said Aikens whose play was described by many observers as simply steady. “Some of them go in and some of them don’t, but I am happy with the way I putted and hope I make more as we go further.”
Following his match against Turner, Aikens faced Ben Spitz (George Wright GC) who is not only a past champion of this event but also a member at the host club.
Once again Aikens began his match strong and made two birdies and six pars through his first eight holes to build a 3-up lead over Spitz. A pair of bogeys by Aikens on the 8th and 10th holes allowed Spitz to draw within one, but Aikens was eventually able to close out Spitz with a par on the 17th hole.
“It feels great,” said Aikens. “It is a great field, so anytime you survive against these guys it feels really good. Ben is awesome to play with and a really good player so I knew that I had to play well. I got lucky that today I was a little bit better.”
With the prospect of one and hopefully two rounds facing him on Thursday, Aikens is looking to continue his steady play and stay the course.
“I am just going to try and play steady and keep it front of me and not do anything too stupid and see how it goes,” said Aikens.