Tee to Green: Parziale earns spot in next year's US Open

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The state of Massachusetts is assured of having a spot in next year's U.S. Open field thanks to a brilliant week of golf in Atlanta by reigning Massachusetts Amateur champion Matt Parziale.

The 30-year-old Brockton resident and firefighter captured this week's U.S. Mid-Amateur championship with a spectacular 8-and-6 blowout victory over North Carolina golfer Josh Nichols in the 36-hole final of the 37th annual event.

Parziale, who also captured the Mass. Four-Ball title for the second year in a row with partner Herbie Aikens this spring, finished with 10 birdies, including eight in the morning 18, as he built a 6-up lead. His 7-under 63 at the Capital City Golf Club's Crabapple Course in the morning 18 — with the usual match-play concessions — was the best score in a U.S. Mid-Amateur final since the USGA switched the format to 36 holes in 2001.

"I didn't even know I shot 63 until someone texted me after," said Parziale, who was 8-under par for the match. "I was really just trying to take it one hole at a time. I know that's what everyone says, but that's what I did today."

"I didn't play that bad," said Nichols. "He played amazing. Even great golf couldn't keep up."

Parziale, who is the reigning Massachusetts Golf Association Player of the Year and leads the points race again this year, wouldn't have reached the final without a spectacular comeback victory in the quarterfinals. He somehow rallied from a 5-down deficit with eight holes to play to beat medalist Bradford Tilley in 20 holes. He then defeated 2016 semifinalist Dan Sullivan 5-and-4 to reach the final with plenty of positive momentum.

Last week, the USGA announced that the winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur would earn a full exemption into the next U.S. Open. So Parziale, the first Massachusetts golfer to win the Mid-Amateur title, will now compete among the world's best golfers in Shinnecock Hills next June.

"That was a great announcement they had [last] Thursday night," said Parziale, who learned of the USGA's decision during the players' reception on Oct. 5. "At the time, I didn't know I would be the one going, but I'm very fortunate to have that opportunity now. I'm very excited for the upcoming year."

Parziale, who hadn't won a single match in three previous trips to the Mid-Amateur, is also likely to receive an invitation to next April's Masters Tournament and is exempt for the next two U.S. Amateur Championships, meaning he will get to play next summer at Pebble Beach. He also earned an exemption into the next 10 U.S. Mid-Amateurs.

While Parziale was in Atlanta, the state's other top amateurs were busy capturing their 14th consecutive Tri-State match at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield, Conn., by 29 points over Team Connecticut. Team Rhode Island finished a distant third.

Though they were focused on getting their job done, Team Massachusetts was well aware that their friend was playing in the final match in Atlanta.

"Everyone was thinking about Matt and how incredible his run has been this year and now at the U.S. Mid-Amateur," said Frank Vana, Jr., a nine-time MGA Player of the Year who was competing in his 23rd Tri-State Match. "Although we would have preferred to have been in Atlanta cheering for him, we wanted to do our part back home and win this title. It was a great day for Massachusetts golf."

***

The Williams College men's team finished its fall season with a pair of victories, including a three-shot win over NESCAC foe Trinity, which had previously beaten the Ephs in three tournaments including in the NESCAC Fall Qualifier.

Tuesday's victory over the Bantams came in the Ekwanok Collegiate Match at Ekwanok Country Club in Manchester, Vt., that featured a different format than those used in most college tournaments. Instead of playing a 36-hole tournament with five-player teams (top four scores counting), the four teams played 18 holes with eight golfers (top six scores counting).

While Trinity's Nick Choukas earned medalist honors with a 3-under 67, the Ephs' depth paid off with four of their six scores between 69 and 72 -— Will Kannegieser (69), Ben Biers (70), Sam Goldenring (71) and Beau David 72 — and the final two being solid rounds of 75 by freshman William Conyers and 76 by senior Grant Raffel.

The Bantams had three rounds between 67 and 71, but had to settle for rounds of 75, 76 and 77 to round out their score.

Considering they lost by 20 shots to Trinity in the NESCAC tournament and by five shots at Taconic Golf Club in the Williams Invitational, it was a big victory to end the fall season. This spring the Ephs will need to beat the host Bantams in the NESCAC Championship in order to earn a berth in the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament.

Last weekend, the Ephs also prevailed in the Saratoga Invitational at Saratoga National Golf Club by shooting a 36-hole school record score of 577 — just 1-over par — to defeat runner-up RPI by 17 shots.

While RPI's Austin Rupp took medalist honors with a 2-under 142 total, the Ephs had three golfers finish in the top 10 in the six-team event. Raffel (72-71—143) tied for second place while Beiers (73-72—145) tied for fifth and Kannegieser (71-77—148) tied for eighth.

Meanwhile, the women's team captured their third straight NESCAC title with a 12-shot victory over Amherst at Taconic last weekend. Liz Gudas (75-72—147) and Cordelia Chan (74-75—149) took the top two spots individually and the Ephs finished with a a 612 total.

The tournament was held in conjunction with the Williams Fall Invitational. The Ephs took that win by 12 shots over NYU and Amherst.

Williams is playing in their final fall season tournament this weekend at the NYU Invitational.

***

It was a victory for the home team in Wednesday's Berkshire County Fall Senior Series event at Wahconah Country Club as club general manager Matt Morrison and Allied Senior champion and club member Bill Yurko combined to take top honors in the Blue Division (younger seniors).

Morrison and Yurko combined for a 6-under 65 to defeat a pair of teams — Keith Porter-Tom Briggs and Eric Reimer-Chris White — by three shots.

Jim Crews and Pat Grogan shot a sizzling 63 to prevail by five shots over Dick Premerlani and Bob Linn in the Green Division.

The final event of the series will be played at Waubeeka Golf Links on Wednesday. As of Friday, there were still six openings. Call the pro shop today or Monday at 413-458-8355 if you want to play and you will be added to the field if those spots still remain available.

LOCAL RESULTS

Berkshire County Fall Senior Golf Series


At Wahconah Country Club

Blue Division

Low gross

1. Matt Morrison and Bill Yurko, 65. 2. Keith Porter and Tom Briggs, 66. 3. Eric Reimer and Chris White, 66.

Low net

1. Ralph Dastoli and Tony Genzabella, 62. 2. Craig Deblois and Leo Romano, 63. 3. Dennis Boldyga and David Kay, 63.5.

Green Division

Low gross

1. Jim Crews and Pat Grogan, 63. 2. Dick Premerlani and Bob Linn, 68. 3. Gilbert D Oliveira and George Kellar, 70.

Low net

1. Pete Kellar and Jack Bartow, 62. 2. Ron Pero and Bob Dus, 63.5. 3. Bobby Kay and Ed Locke, 63.7.

Waubeeka Golf Links

Women's Fall Classic


Division A

Low gross

1. Deb Patton and Deb Bloom, 72. 2. Ellie Merrell and Pam Zanetto, 72. 3. Pat Mayne and Kathy Canestrini. 4. Nan Lanahan and Mary Scatena, 73. 5. Susan Kahler and Heidi Harkens, 73.

Low net

1. Angie Lingner and Deb Wiencek, 59. 2. Jen Dilorio and Heather Morrison, 62. 3. Kim Lloyd and Rachel Barlette, 63. 5. Bonnie Stewart and Mary Harris, 64.

Division B

Low gross

1. Joan Pettrone and Jean Prockup, 83. 2. Myra Johnson and Bonnie St. Denis, 83. 3. Donna Heskett and Betty Cushing, 84. 4. Jane King and Donna Meo, 86. 5. Sandy Bourdon and Kay Goldstein, 86.

Low net.

1. Deb Corkins and Nancy Daignault, 59. 2. Linda Nichols and Jane Miller, 60. 3. Carol St. Onge and Kyle Cooper, 62. 3. Joyce Tremblay and Lauri Briggs, 63. 5. Kathy Millard and Norma Probst, 64

2nd — 60 Linda Nichols-Jane Miller

3rd — 62 Carol St. Onge-Kyle Cooper

4th — 63 Joyce Tremblay-Lauri Briggs

5th — 64 Kathy Millard-Norma Probst

Closest to the pin.

No. 3: Diane Flynn. No. 7: Joyce Blake. No. 16: Stacy Govi.

Long drive

Division A: Pay Mayne,. Division B: Joan Pettrone.

Worthington Golf Club

Three-person scramble


Low gross

1. (64) Ed Figiela, Pete Bacon, Matt Bacon, 64. 2. Robert Smith, Dennis Boldyga, Jeff Snyder, 65. 3. Don Hodgkins, Gene Klos, Larry Delue, 66.

Low net

1. Paul Dziengelewski, Cristen Dziengelewski, Steve Carson, 54.5. 2. Fred Goerlach, Deb Goerlach, Scott Preston, 56.3. 3. Billy Spitzer, Chris Spitzer, Chuck Baker, 56.6.

Reach Richard Lord at relord633@gmail.com or 413-281-2226.


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