Parziale Delivers an Historic Performance
Newton, MA — On the 50th anniversary of one of the most storied tournaments in Massachusetts, it was only right that the champion delivered a history-making performance.
On Thursday at Woodland Golf Club – the longtime home club of Francis Ouimet – Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) captured his third Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament after posting a three-round score of 7-under par 208.
50th Ouimet Memorial Tournament Quick Links
Lowery Summary: DiBiase Does His Home Club Proud
Women’s Summary: Eleey Enjoys Historic Win
“When I started playing in this I was just thrilled to be able to play and never expected to win. I was always trying to just make the cut,” said Parziale, who captured this title in 2009 and then again in 2013. “It’s always fun to win, but three times, I never imagined it.”
He becomes only the second player in the event’s 50-year history to win more than two titles. The only other competitor to accomplish that feat since 1968 has been Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC), who won this title five times (1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2010).
“The last time I won was on the 100th anniversary of Ouimet winning, so I guess that I have won on all of the milestones,” said Parziale referencing his 2013 victory which came 100 years after Ouimet’s stirring 1913 U.S. Open win at The Country Club.
Parziale’s performance over the three-day period is no doubt one that would have made Ouimet himself proud.
Not only did Parziale manage his way masterfully around two challenging layouts – Brae Burn Country Club and The Country Club – on Wednesday and Thursday, but he also dutifully reported to work as scheduled on Thursday evening and then returned to Woodland Golf Club on Friday to finish the job he started two days prior.
Parziale, a member of the Brockton Fire Department, completed his overnight shift just before 8:00 a.m. on Friday and just in time for his 11:10 a.m. starting time.
“I wouldn’t say that I am used to it, but you can’t really think about it because you are competing and in the moment,” said Parziale. “It’s part of my life, so if I complain about that I have bigger issues.”
Despite only getting two hours of sleep, there was no sign of fatigue at the start. Parziale extended his overall lead by making birdie on two of his first three holes. He then made three straight bogies – on holes 4 through 6 – but then delivered perhaps the biggest shot of the week. He drained a long putt on the 369-yard, par 4 7th hole to shift momentum back in his direction.
“Yesterday I hit it well and all three days I putted well and that was really the only way that I was able to hang in there today,” said Parziale. “That long putt on 7 was huge after I had bogeyed three in a row. I was able to settle down after that and make some good shots.”
Parziale was able to take advantage of the two par 5 holes on the back nine (holes 11 and 12), and then he delivered the final blow to the rest of the field when he sent his birdie putt from the fringe on the 378-yard, par 4 17th hole into the bottom of the cup.
“Today was kind of the same round I played at Brae Burn,” said Parziale. “I didn’t play great, but I putted good the whole three days and that was the difference.”
His latest victory continues what has been a career summer for Parziale. Thus far in 2017, he has won the Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship, Amateur Invitational and the Massachusetts Amateur Championship.
“I put a lot of work in early in the year which is unlike me,” said Parziale with a laugh. “The last four years I didn’t really practice much, but this year I started early working with Shawn Hester who is awesome. I don’t think that I was playing that well early, but I felt that I was doing the right things. Everything is coming together now. I am playing good rounds. Even when I am not hitting it good, I am scoring well and that is the key.”
Finishing two back of Parziale this week were Bobby Leopold (Coventry, RI) and Patrick Frodigh (Dedham C&PC), who delivered the low round of the day – a 5-under par 66.
LOWERY SUMMARY: DIBIASE DOES HIS HOME CLUB PROUD
The lesson in the Lowery Division this year was never underestimate the value of home-course knowledge.
Jim DiBiase (Woodland GC) entered the final round three strokes back of the leader, but he stormed back on Friday to capture the Lowery Division with a three-round score of 3-over par 218.
He carded a division-low score of 1-under par 71 on Friday afternoon to secure the one stroke victory over second-round leader Kevin Carey (Dennis Pines GC).
“I can’t put it into words,” said DiBiase. “I frankly didn’t think that I was going to win. I was just going along and hanging around. It’s incredibly special, and it’s going to take a while for it to sink in.”
Making the moment especially emotional for the 57-years-old DiBiase was the fact that the victory came at his home club on the 50th anniversary of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament.
“It is a very special tournament here,” said DiBiase, who has been a member at Woodland Golf Club for 15 years. “The fact that we get to host the third day of the tournament here every year is very important to the membership here at Woodland and everybody here does a great job from the pro shop staff to the superintendent. I know that they like to make sure that we put our best foot forward because this is such a special event.”
DiBiase did his part to represent his home club on this day. He played the front nine to perfection. A birdie on the 302-yard, par 4 3rd hole was key as he made the turn at 1-under par 35. He then chipped in from back left of the green for birdie on the 10th hole to draw closer to Carey who made bogey on that hole.
“It was a big grind,” said DiBiase, who was paired with Carey and Steve Tasho (Thorny Lea GC). “Kevin is a champion and I knew that if I could keep up with him I had a shot at it. That was my goal all day was to hang around with him and hope I got lucky at the end.”
DiBiase would make bogey on the 11th hole, and then Carey drew even with DiBiase after a stellar and clutch birdie putt on the 15th hole.
It was all even heading to the 18th green where DiBiase was able to two putt for par. Carey missed his par putt to give DiBiase the one-stroke win.
“We dinged and donged until the end,” said DiBiase, who was greeted by a group of friends and club mates just off the 18th green. “It was a little anti-climactic at the end, but I’ll take it.”
While there was no chip in or highlight-reel putt made on the final green, the victory could not have been sweeter. It also proved that there is a deep connection between a champion and his home course.
“I was just trying to get to the third day,” said DiBiase. “There were only nine people that made the cut so you can’t be too far back. If you make the cut you are going to have a chance and then coming here I may have had a little better chance than some of the other folks.”
A stirring comeback that the event’s namesake – who was known for some dramatic wins of his own – would be proud of.
WOMEN’S SUMMARY: ELEEY ENJOYS HISTORIC WIN
Being from the Boston area, Jacquelyn Eleey (South Shore CC) knows a thing or two about golf legend Francis Ouimet – the man that Friday’s tournament at Woodland Golf Club was named after – and about an event that started in 1968 and has turned into one of the most popular invitational tournaments in the region.
On Friday afternoon, the Quincy native and member of the Georgetown Women’s Golf Team officially joined the history books and will forever have her name included in the rich history of the event after firing an even-par 72 on Ouimet’s home course to win the 13th edition of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament’s Women’s Division. The victory was the first of a kind for the South Shore Country Club member.
“Having won that and having my name up against all the other great women and men who have won this tournament, it’s really to cool to be a part of that,” said Eleey, who has had one of the busiest summers of her career.
After spending the first half of her season training in Florida, the rising senior has returned home and dominated the local golf scene, something she has done before Friday’s victory and something she hopes to continue before returning to school in the fall.
After competing in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four Ball Championship at Myrtle Beach’s The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Eleey headed west where she won her flight of the Women’s Western Golf Association’s 117th National Amateur Championship at River Forest Country Club outside Chicago.
Most recently, Eleey won the New England Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship at Connecticut’s Hop Meadow Country Club.
“It’s been a really good summer so far and I’m playing really well,” said Eleey. “I’m looking forward to the [WGAM Amateur Championship] next week and just playing well in the Francis Ouimet gets me excited for what’s to come next week.”
While she looks forward to what comes next, her attention was focused on her play Friday and what was going well as she earned a victory in what was the first time playing this event.
“I played well today, and I struck the ball really well,” said Eleey. “I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens, and I had a lot of tap in pars, which was good. The course was in great shape. It’s awesome. To have won is great. I love it.”
Competing against a field that included three other collegiate competitors, Eleey carded a birdie on the first hole and had a very successful back nine to come away with the victory. Included in her late run were birdies made on the par-5 12th hole and par-4 14th hole.
“I started out strong with a birdie and then a couple pars,” reminisced Eleey on her play Friday. “Down the stretch, I played really solid golf. I had a really good birdie on number 14 and I also birdied number 12. Then down the stretch, I had two good par saves. It was really just a solid day overall. I think I struck the ball really well and had a ton of opportunities for birdie. I hit a ton of greens and it was just a stress free day of golf, which was really good.”
With such a talented field, Eleey knew she had to bring her “A-game” on Friday. Prior to Friday, she had played with almost the entire field in either collegiate tournaments or from various summer events.
She said, “They are all great players and it was really great golf and to have beaten everyone in this field, it just means that I played really well because this entire field are really good golfers.”
“America’s First Golf Hero” as he was known following his upset victory in U.S. Open Championship in 1913, Ouimet is remembered as one of the first individuals to not only allow Americans into the game, but also amateurs. His legacy continues today through the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholars to men and women who work in golf throughout Massachusetts.
Julia Ford (Cyprian Keyes GC), a two-time champion in the event, placed second while Jacqueline Gonzalez (Charles River CC) rounded out the top three.