Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A great time for club pros

Today wraps up the PGA Professional National Championship, which is an annual tournament that has taken place since 1968 in which the nation's club professionals compete for an invitation to the PGA Championship - the top 20 here get the nod. The PNC has been played at some great courses over the years - Pinehurst, Whistling Straits, Doral...and one of the past champions is Sam Snead! #funfact

Norton CC's Jeff Martin
This year we had quite a few of our Member Club professionals travel down to Myrtle Beach to play. I imagine that this event is a nice getaway for these guys - a cool way to get to know their peers from across the country and play some golf. Aside from being a pretty prestigious tournament, it's nice that these guys and gals get acknowledged for all that they do for the game. This year's New England representation included (from The Boston Globe):

The 20 from New England are Philip Cardwell of Siasconset (who works at Sankaty Head), Christopher Carter of Danvers (Hillview Golf Course), Anthony Casalino of Old Greenwich, Conn. (Innis Arden Golf Club), Billy Downes of Longmeadow (Hampden Country Club), Michael Dugas of Pittsfield, Maine (JW Parks Golf Course), Boomer Erick of Hingham (Boston Golf Club), Kirk Hanefeld of Acton (NEPGA life member), Jim Hanlon of Wallingford, Conn. (The Farms Country Club), John Hickson of Topsham, Maine (Dick’s Sporting Goods), Chip Johnson of Hingham (Hatherly Country Club), Tony Kelley of Holyoke (Wyckoff Country Club), Ed Kirby of Wakefield, R.I. (Alpine Country Club), Jeffrey Martin of Warwick, R.I. (Norton Country Club), Ron Philo of Stowe, Vt. (Stowe Mountain Club), Jeff Seavey of Homosassa, Fla. (Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine), Bob Tramonti of Cumberland, R.I. (Triggs Municipal Golf Course), Aaron Ungvarsky of Wilmington (Big Sticks Golf Academy), Shawn Warren of Cape Elizabeth, Maine (Falmouth Country Club), Daniel Wilkins of Laconia, N.H. (Laconia Country Club), and Matt Zdon of Lowell (Belmont Country Club).
Hatherly CC's Chip Johnson

Check out the event program

Today is the final round and Boomer Erick of the amazing Boston GC in Hingham made the cut and is playing in the final 18. Last year, Norton CC's Jeff Martin qualified out of this event and played in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill - a pretty neat feather in the cap for a club pro!

Monday, June 23, 2014

How is it almost July?!

This morning brought with it a rather scary realization - it's almost July! If you thought June was busy, just wait. #eventsonevents

I find it less scary with the pretty highlighter colors...
Not that we're complaining - this is definitely always an exciting time! The Amateur Championship is definitely the highlight of the month - especially this year, as it coincides with Kernwood CC's Centennial Celebration. It's really an honor to share this celebration at an iconic Donald Ross course.

But before we can get to July, we still have to deal with the last week of June. Today and tomorrow we are down at Willowbend for our 38th Father & Son Championship. Willowbend is such a neat spot! Our competitors - in the senior division today and junior division tomorrow - are sure to have a great day.
And moving on to a completely random subject - over the weekend I saw this on channel 5 and thought it was pretty cool! A number of our Member Clubs are now utilizing animals like goats to keep vegetation in check without having to use chemicals or additional manpower. They are doing this at Braintree Municipal to help get rid of some poison ivy. Check it out!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Some national excitement

As if there wasn't enough excitement going on in the golf world - this weekend begins the PGA Professional National Championship in Myrtle Beach, from which the top-20 will advance to play in the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla. There are quite a few area pros playing in this event including Kirk Hanefeld, Aaron Ungvarsky, Chip Johnson, Eddie Kirby, and Billy Downes. Play well, guys!

Megan (L) with co-qualifier Caroline Powers at Thorny Lea
While we're on the topic of national events, the U.S. Women's Open officially began this morning. Rockland 16-year-old Megan Khang's group goes off at 2:42. This tiny little phenom can flat out PLAY. This is her second Women's Open...and she's played in multiple U.S. Girls Junior and U.S. Womens' Amateur Championships as well. She's 16. Let that sink in for a minute. Read this great article by our friend Mike Whitmer about Megan.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Beach weather? Nah. Golf weather? Definitely!

Another busy week for golf in the region...yawn.

Wannamoisett...this place is no joke!

Just kidding! There is exciting stuff going on! This morning, a group of the very best amateur golfers in the world tee off at Wannamoisett CC in Rhode Island in the 52nd playing of the Northeast Amateur Invitational. This event is often referred to as 'The Masters of Amateur Golf' and has been a springboard to professional success for golfers like Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson, David Duval, and Hal Sutton, among others. Some MGA/NEGA notables playing this week are:

Frank Vana, Jr: the defending MGA Mid-Amateur Champion, will be vying for the Joseph Sprague Award, which is given to the low mid-amateur in the field. This award honors the legacy of the late Joseph Sprague, who was the father of former MGA executive director (and current USGA staff member) Joe Sprague, Jr.

Matt Parziale at the Mass Open last week

Matt Parziale: is looking to continue a hot streak – after winning the Norfolk County Classic, finishing T3 in the Hornblower Memorial, and most recently, taking low amateur at the 105th Massachusetts Open Championship.

Jack Whelan: is coming off a stellar spring season at St. Lawrence University where he earned ECAC Division III Golfer of the Month honors for April. The 2012 Ouimet Memorial Champion is playing excellent golf lately, winning two tournaments in a row to close out his junior season.

Evan Russell: who plays golf for the University of Hartford, is also coming off a strong spring season – having been selected to the Division I PING Northeast All-Region Team. He was also named the America Sky Player of the Year this spring.
Evan Russell, defending New England Amateur Champ

Also in the field for the first time is University of Rhode Island sophomore Joe Leavitt (Bradford CC), who last week posted an even par finish at the Massachusetts Open Championship.

The last time a Bay State native won the Northeast Am was Peter Uihlein in 2011. He has since gone on to a professional career and was named the 2013 European Tour Rookie of the Year.

Wannamoisett Country Club is a Donald Ross masterpiece named one of the top-50 golf courses in the country. Ross himself described the course as “one of the finest layouts I’ve ever made.”

The always amazing Tedesco CC

Aside from the Northeast Am, we also have two USGA qualifiers taking place today. Up at Tedesco CC, another old-school gem, we have a full field of hopefuls trying to qualify for the Senior Open Championship, which will be held at Oak Tree National in Oklahoma next month. Some notables in the field include Kirk Hanefeld, Andy Morse, and Frank Vana, Jr...who, incidentally will be racing down the highway after his round in order to get to Wannamoisett in time to tee off at the Northeast Am! Such is life in the condensed New England golf season!

Additionally, we are hosting our very last sectional qualifying round for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship today, which is at Stow Acres CC. Stow hosted the APL Championship Proper in 1995, and has also hosted countless MGA events over the years. Read our blog post from the other day about the APL Championship.

And don't think that we get to take a break after the sun sets tonight...tomorrow we're back at it, up at Bass Rocks GC for another Mass Amateur qualifier. We're also prepping for the MGA Father & Son Championship, which will be held next Monday and Tuesday at Willowbend in Mashpee.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Pub Links' last hurrah

2014 marks the final year of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. First played in 1922, the Pub Links "has been an unqualified exposure to many public-course players who otherwise might not have an opportunity to compete in a national championship." (

This Wednesday, in the final year of sectional qualifying, Stow Acres will welcome a field of competitors who hope to advance to this last hurrah - which will be held at Sand Creek Station GC in Newton, Kansas from July 14-19.

Among those hoping to advance to the final playing of the Pub Links are Herbie Aikens (Pinehills GC), and Andy Drohen (The Ranch GC). Aikens has advanced to the Championship Proper for three years in a row! Drohen advanced to Match Play at last year's Championship. Additionally, up at Bretwood GC in Keene, NH, Chelso Barrett is hoping to punch his ticket to the Championship for the third year in a row. The Barrett family owns Bretwood and they have been a fantastic host for sectional qualifying for many years now. (They also make a mean coffee frappe!)

Another great thing that the Pub Links has done over the years is showcase some of the nation's best public golf courses. This must have been absolutely revolutionary when this championship was first founded. We have been fortunate enough to hold the sectional qualifying rounds at some of New England's best public facilities - Stow Acres continues to do so much to help grow the game in Massachusetts and it's only fitting that they should host sectional qualifying during the final year of this Championship that has done quite a bit to grow the game nationally over the last 90 years.

We thank all of our public facilities that have hosted U.S. APL qualifying over the years!

And what a perfect transition to talk about our own Amateur Public Links Championship - which isn't going anywhere! This is definitely one of our most popular Championships. First contested in 1982 at Leo J. Martin GC, the MGA Amateur Public Links Championship has annually brought together the best daily-fee golfers to some of our best public facilities. This year's Championship will be held in August at Cranberry Valley GC in Harwich. Qualifying begins at the end of the month. 

Good luck to all the guys trying to qualify this week! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

A great week for Mass Golf!

What a great week! Check out some of the coverage we received for the Open Championship:

Boston Globe

Boston Herald

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Salem News

Springfield Republican/MassLive

And of course, David Colt of New England Golf Images was on-site this week - check out his album here


We also cannot forget to include some articles about our own Fran Quinn, who is contending early at the U.S. Open!

ABC News


Boston Globe

Boston Herald

SB Nation

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Joining the ranks of Ouimet, Sarazen, Harney, and more...

Ian Thimble is your 105th Massachusetts Open Champion! The 24-year-old from Hyde Park, who has played golf at George Wright since he was 12 (he said he used to ride his bike to the course with his clubs on his back) just turned professional last November. He said that there is something special about winning this event in his home state.

This was such a great week all-around - from the amazing hospitality showed to us by Weston Golf Club, to the fantastic play out on the course, I can definitely say that we all had a great time, and it is a joy and a privilege each year to put on this event.

Great playing, everyone, and we'll see you at the 106th Massachusetts Amateur Championship next month!!

Scenes from the final round

L: The Cochrane Trophy & Commonwealth Cup R: U.S. veterans tending the flag on 18
Keep track of the leaderboard here

We live for this!!

The excitement in the air this morning at Weston Golf Club is palpable! We have about a half-hour until the final round of the 105th Massachusetts Open Championship tees off. This has been such a fantastic few days and the history around both this event and venue makes everything feel a little more special.

Weston Golf Club was one of the first 100 golf courses built in America - it pre-dates the MGA by 9 years and is a vintage metro-Boston club. Being on the property, we are reminded how spoiled we are in Massachusetts with the old-school courses like Weston, Brae Burn, The Country Club, Woodland...just to name a few - you're not going to find a place like this in many other places in this country! Part of what is great about golf is the rich history of the game, and we are swimming in it here in Mass!

We have the potential of an amateur winning this Championship for the first time in 15 years - in fact, this has only happened six times in the history of the Mass Open. Matt Parziale was the low amateur and runner-up in 2009 behind Rob Oppenheim, who has already teed off at Pinehurst in round 1 of the U.S. Open this morning.

We have a former MGA Player of the Year making his professional debut - Colin Brennan turned pro last November and is looking for his first big professional win. Brennan was the 2012 MGA Player of the Year and was born and raised in Andover.

We also have a Cape Codder in the final pairing - Eric Dugas of The Captains GC in Brewster finished T4 last year and is looking for a big win today in his home state.

And rounding out the leaders is Tim Ailes, who hails from Lewis Center, Ohio - a suburb of Columbus. He is a 15-time winner on the Dakotas Tour and impressed everyone with a blistering 7-under on Tuesday.

We also have something very special going on - thanks to Bob Beach and Golf For All's Fred Corcoran, we will have military veterans tending the flagstick on the 18th hole. Just a very small token of our appreciation for what these veterans have done for us. Working in sports, we get so caught up in the excitement of our events that we sometimes forget that there's a real world out there - so this is a small way for us to say thank you.

I'm sure it's going to be a fun and exciting day! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The host with the most

Not enough can be said about how fantastic it has been here at Weston Golf Club these past few days. This place is steeped in history and has just about the nicest staff anyone could ask for - they're making our jobs look easy!

A big THANK YOU to Weston GC for hosting the 105th Massachusetts Open Championship! There has been nothing but praise from the golfers regarding the course conditions, and all the Weston staff and membership has been wonderful to work with.

Full coverage!

We got some great local coverage yesterday - check it out!

The Boston Globe - 'Tim Ailes leads Massachusetts Open'

The Salem News - 'Dilisio under par at Mass. Open'

The Boston Herald - 'Mass. Open: Kevin Johnson right at home'

The Cape Cod Times - 'Golf: Dugas in hunt at Mass. Open'

South Coast Today - 'Paesani tied for 11th at Mass. Open'

Springfield Republican - 'Billy Downes leads local golfers after first round of Massachusetts Open'

Keene Sentinel - 'Ohio golfer on top at 105th Massachusetts Open'

Lynn Item - Dilisio shoots 71 in Mass. Open first round'

Stay tuned for more coverage today! After the end of play today, the top 50 scorers and ties (or anyone within 7 strokes of the leader) will advance to the final round.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Round 1 Roundup

We had a great day for round 1 of the 105th Massachusetts Open Championship here at Weston Golf Club. Summer-like weather, the rain just missed us, and we saw some great golf! 32 guys under par today and another 18 at even...check out the scores!

I hope you are following us on social media! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and be sure to use the hashtag #massopen! And check out videos from today on our YouTube channel!

Here are some player highlights and storylines from today:

Nick Pandelena (Bradford CC) just finished his season as the number one golfer at Boston College as a freshman. Today he shot a 3-over 75 but could be right back in it with a low round tomorrow.

Eddie Kirby (Wakefield, RI) said that his greatest golf memory is “playing with Greg Norman during the final round of the 1989 U.S. Open Championship." Kirby shot a 1-under 71 in round 1.

Amateur Jake Shuman (Blue Hill CC), who will attend Duke University next fall, notes that “beating my dad for the first time at the age of 13” is his greatest golf memory. Shuman, the defending MGA Junior Player of the Year, shot a 1-under 71.

2013 Mass Open runner-up Chris Fitzpatrick has been playing well of late and sits T6 with a 3-under 69 after round 1.

Amateur Steven DiLisio (Salem CC), the youngest competitor in the field at age 16, shot a 1-under 71 today.

Hal Jacobs (The Haven CC) lists his highlight of the season thus far as “surviving the start of a bad weather season as a head professional." I'm sure a lot of our Member Club pros can relate to that! Hal shot a 1-over 73 today.

John Paesani, assistant golf professional at the Bay Club at Mattapoisett, won the 2001 Connecticut Open by setting a course record 64 in the final round at the Golf Club of Avon. Today he posted a 2-under 70.

Amateur Thomas Henderson (Sterling National GC) attends Old Dominon University and his greatest golf achievement is “making the travel squad as a freshman. I won the grueling seven-day long qualifying tournament beating out many upperclassman to make this squad.” Henderson is in the mix at 1-over.

Boston Herald reporter Tom Layman – who is on site covering the event all week – went to school with amateur Herbie Aikens (Pinehills GC) at Silver Lake Regional High School. Layman’s grandfather and father were both members at Weston Golf Club. His father, Jerome, scored a hole-in-one on the 17th hole.

Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) recently graduated from the academy and is now a firefighter in the Brockton Fire Department. His father, Vic, who is also a Brockton Firefighter, caddied for him today. Matt shot a 2-under 70 today.

Bob Giusti, head golf professional at CC of Halifax, has been playing golf for 53 years, and is also a call volunteer firefighter in Carver.

Congratulations to new father Peter Egazarian (Wahconah CC), who welcomed a new son William on April 30th. Egazarian was hired in March as the head golf professional at Wahconah Country Club.

Kevin Johnson (CC of Halifax), who enjoyed status on the PGA Tour and Tour over the course of his career, lists his greatest golf memory as playing on the Walker Cup Team in 1989. Johnson was the MGA Player of the Year for four straight years in the 1980's, and won a Mass Junior, Mass Open and two Mass Amateur Championships during that span. He also won the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship during that time. Talk about a great stretch of amateur golf!

Kevin's right in the mix with an even-par round today. Check out what he has to say:

That's all for today! See everyone tomorrow for...dun dun dun...CUT DAY!

Good Day Sunshine!

Wow, are we having a great day here! The rain has held off (so far) and we've seen some great golf!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Greetings from Weston Golf Club! We are off and running in the 105th Massachusetts Open Championship. Stay tuned as we start getting some 9-hole scores! The afternoon wave tees off starting at 12:00pm. This field is stacked with some very talented players...who do you think will win??

Here are a couple headlines from this morning:
The Boston Globe
The Salem News

And scenes from the morning wave!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Like Christmas Eve!

Tomorrow begins the 105th Massachusetts Open Championship! Round 1 tees off early tomorrow morning at the historic Weston Golf Club in Weston, MA. The #massopen is kind of a big deal. First of all, it's the only Championship on our calendar that brings together both amateurs and professionals. Also, it is widely regarded as one of the best and most prestigious state opens in the country (I'm not just saying that - ask around!)

Some big names have been engraved onto that trophy! From left: Paul Harney, Francis Ouimet, Bob Toski, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Donald Ross, Bob Crowley

Weston Golf Club - a pretty neat place

And look at the MGA Member Clubs that have hosted the Open - Oyster Harbors, Worcester, Vesper, Brae Burn, Tedesco...the list of amazing venues goes on. This year will mark the third time that Weston has hosted the Open, and this great Donald Ross course is certainly up to the challenge! Weston's golf course superintendent Matt DeAvila has been working hard over the last few months to get the course ready - and boy has he done a great job! Weston - like a LOT of other courses in the state - suffered some damage due to the absolutely ridiculous winter we had. Coming out of winter, Matt said that some of the greens were the color of a hardwood floor. Looking at them now, you'd never know! So, a tip of the cap to you, Matt and your staff. Gotta give props to superintendents everywhere - the 3:00am wakeups every day can't be easy!

Read a little about the history of Weston Golf Club

Another interesting storyline is the fact that Weston's head professional, Adam Hemeon, is going to be competing in this year's Championship! Would be pretty neat to see him win the pressure, Adam!
Adam Hemeon was featured in the spring issue of MassGolfer

Who do you think will win? We haven't had a back-to-back champion since Geoff Sisk in 2006 and 2007. Coincidentally, 2007 was at Kernwood (the site of this year's Amateur Championship) and he battled to the wire with Kernwood's head professional Frank Dully. In that final round, they both shot a course record 64, which is ridiculous! Evan Harmeling seems like he's feeling pretty confident coming in, so it could happen!

Or maybe an amateur will win it for the first time since Kevin Quinn in 1999? We certainly have some really talented amateurs that are playing well of late - Herbie Aikens, Ben Spitz, Matt Parziale...that would be a great story as well! There are a lot of Player of the Year points on the line too - if an amateur wins, he receives 250 points, PLUS another 100 for placing as the low amateur. I don't think I'm the only one who thinks it would be pretty darn cool if one of our amateurs won this Championship.

A lot has been said about the strength and depth of this year's Championship field, so whomever wins will certainly have his work cut out for him. In the field we have a couple Tour players, multiple past champions, multiple past MGA Player of the Year recipients, all of last year's MGA champions, and a bunch of guys who can just flat out PLAY. Should be a fantastic three days at a neat venue. Now we just need to cross our fingers that the weather cooperates!

See you at Weston.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Manic Monday!

So, there was just a little bit going on today...

Let's get right into it!

Mass Amateur qualifying
The first two of ten qualifying rounds for the Amateur Championship teed off this morning - Matt Walsh was down at The Captains GC in Brewster, and Kevin Eldridge held down the fort in Devens at Red Tail GC.

At The Captains, Andover Country Club's Tyler Stahle took medalist honors on a day that saw no under-par rounds - the wind must have been whipping around down the Cape today! Stahle wrapped up his round nicely with 2 pars and a birdie to finish at 1-over. Our pal Alex Stimpson (Woods Hole GC) is on a roll lately - two weeks ago he won the MGA Four-Ball with partner (and Titleist colleague) James Kroeger. Last week he qualified for the Mass Open, and today he qualified for the Mass Amateur by shooting a 4-over 76 and coming in T6. We'll be seeing a lot of Mr. Stimpson over the next couple months! #teamtitleist!

Out at Red Tail, Adam Rubin (Wedgewood Pines CC) and Mike Walker (Nabnasset Lake CC) shared medalist honors with even-par rounds. Also in the mix were Thorny Lea's Steven Burak, Senior Four-Ball runner-up Jim Hosey (The Orchards), who began his round with 3 straight birdies, and David Holmes (Blackstone National GC), who was selected to represent Massachusetts in last year's Tri-State Matches.

A perfect morning at Red Tail
So we're off and running! By the end of this week we will have completed half of the qualifying rounds for this year's Amateur Championship. Speaking of, our team will also be heading up to the Witch City tomorrow to participate in a special Kernwood CC event. Can't wait to celebrate their centennial with the Mass Amateur next month!

The Road to Pinehurst
Our boys had a great day in Purchase! As of right now, Fran Quinn and Rob Oppenheim are leaders in the clubhouse with 69-69--138 (Quinn) and 64-74--138 (Oppenheim). Right behind them is Plainville's Jim Renner who posted a 71-68--139. What a story that would be if all three advanced! Stay tuned...

MGA Member Days
The Member Day squad was down at Ledgemont today enjoying the weather and battling a challenging but fantastic golf course! The ladies were firmly in control today, posting the top two net scores of the day. Westborough CC's Jean Warden made four consecutive net under par holes and took the top spot in the overall net. Trailing her by only two points was Gloria Padula of Highfields G&CC. Nicely done, ladies! Heather Hill CC's Steve Samborski made a net eagle on the 18th hole to take first place in the gross division.

More Hall of Fame news
It's official! The Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame celebration has been scheduled for Thursday evening, October 16 at Blue Hill Country Club in Canton. This is going to be a fantastic event - we will have the living inductees in attendance as well as members of all the inductee families and close friends. What a great opportunity to celebrate the rich golf history and legacy in Massachusetts, and we are so happy to be holding this exciting event at Blue Hill CC! Blue Hill has been a great host for the MGA and NEGA in the past, and we'll be seeing a lot of them this fall, as the club is also hosting the MGA Mid-Amateur Championship in September. The club also does a lot for the local community - click the photo to the right read this write-up of the Canton Coaches Cup that was recently hosted there (click to enlarge):

Oh yeah...and the Mass Open.
Pairings and tee times! Only a week away! Keep track of all the action on our social networks. And be sure to use the hashtag #massopen on any tweets and instagram photos. Who do you think will have his name etched on the trophy with names like Ouimet, Ross, Toski, Harney, Johnson, Sisk, Crowley...and so many more! Don't forget that an inside the ropes experience is FREE! So come to Weston next week to check out a vintage Donald Ross course and some exciting golf.