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Headline: Massachusetts Takes On Rhode Island - Junior Golfers From MGA Links and Button Hole Enjoy the First of Two Days of Friendly Competition

For Immediate Release: September 24, 2012

Thomas Dunn, Ethan Tho, Aidan Ryan and Nathan Tho
Jared Winiarz, Ben Ellis, Thomas Autiello and Nick Pertracca
Luke Sullivan, Jeremiah Sullivan, Sebastian Tonkovich and Sean DeLuca

Norton, MA — Earlier this month, members from MGA Links and Button Hole teamed up for the first of two friendly competitions between junior golfers from each facility.

Separated by just 19 miles, MGA Links and Button Hole are public golf facilities that have been recognized nationally for providing unique opportunities for golfers of all ages and abilities.

While MGA Links serves as the home base of The First Tee of Massachusetts, Button Hole was established in 2000 with the mission of providing affordable golf instruction for all ages.

"There is a synergy between the two groups so it seemed only appropriate to bring them together," said Joe McCabe, executive director of The First Tee of Massachusetts. "The participants had a great time and many memories were created on the course."

Members from both facilities enjoyed the opportunity to meet and play a spirited match in Norton.

The first event was held on Saturday, September 1.

Each facility selected eight junior members who squared off in a battle between the states. The two-day event began with a two-person, best-ball format, where each player played their own ball from start to finish, taking the lowest score for each team.

The winning team received one point for their perspective team, half a point for a half and zero points for a loss.

Day 1 of the MGA Links – Button Hole Shootout

In the first match, MGA Links junior members Jillian Barend and Dwyn McNeil faced off against the brother and sister team of Issabelle and Michael Wetmore.

After a close start to the match, the Wetmore team held on by carding a score of 39 which was good enough to beat the MGA Links team, giving Button Hole Team a two point lead in the tournament.

In the next match the team of Aidan Ryan and Thomas Dunn tried their luck against the brother duo of Nathan and Ethan Tho.

Through their first eight holes, the MGA Links team held a two-stroke lead. However on the final hole the team made a crucial par while Thomas and Aidan carded a double bogey, bringing the match back to all square and giving each team a point.

The third match was between the MGA team of Jared Winiarz and Ben Ellis as they squared off against Thomas Autiello and Nick Petracca of Button Hole.

The Button Hole team wasted no time jumping out to a four-stroke lead through the first three holes. Jared and Ben bounced back with three pars in their final four holes, but Thomas and Nick carded a tournament low score of 1-over par which was good enough for the victory in the match and two points for the Button Hole team. That victory put Button Hole up by four points with one match remaining.

The final match left on the course featured the team of Luke and Jeremiah Sullivan who took on Sebastian Tonkovich and Sean DeLuca of Button Hole. After two holes the visitors - Sebastian and Sean - jumped out to a one-stroke lead over the Sullivan brothers. However a clutch par on the 5th hole of the match from the Sullivan team brought the match back to all square. After tying the match up on the 5th hole, the two teams traded leads the 6th and 7th holes until the match was back to all square, ultimately leaving the match in a tie.

So after four matches the Button Hole Team had captured three points by winning two matches, while the MGA Links team halved two matches for one point.

As a result, the team from MGA Links is down two points heading to Button Hole for the second half of the competition.

Day 2 of the MGA Links – Button Hole Shootout

For the second day of the MGA Links - Button Hole Shootout, the MGA Links team and their parents traveled across the border to Button Hole in Providence, Rhode Island.

The weather was great and the 9-hole, par 3 golf course was in outstanding condition.

Heading into the second and final day, MGA Links was trailing by two points but was able to pick up a quick point over Button Hole in the first match.

The MGA Links team of Aidan Ryan and Thomas Dunn posted a 1-up victory over the Button Hole team of Ethan Tho and Nathan Tho.

In the second match, the Button Hole team of Thomas Auitello and Nick Petracca got off to a solid start as they were 2 up through 4 holes and went on to enjoy a 1-up victory in a hard fought over the MGA Links team of Jared Winiarz and Ben Ellis.

The third match had the MGA Links team of Jillian Barend and Dwynn McNeil taking on the brother sister team of Michael Wetmore and Isabelle Wetmore from Button Hole. The match was back and forth for most of the round until the teams reached the 9th hole where the Wetmores were able to card another victory for Button Hole.

The final match pitted the MGA Links team of Luke Sullivan and Jeremiah Sullivan against the Button Hole team of Sebastian Tonkovich and Sean DeLuca. As the teams came to the final hole, the match was all square... and that is exactly how the match ended as the two teams halved the final hole and match thanks to a clutch putt by Sebastian Tonkovich.

Final Score - Button Hole 5 1/2, MGA Links 2 1/2

Great job by both teams!

Team MGA Links - Jillian Barend, Dwyn McNeil, Aidan Ryan, Thomas Dunn, Jared Winiarz, Ben Ellis, Luke Sullivan and Jeremiah Sullivan.

Team Button Hole - Isabelle and Michael Wetmore, Ethan Tho, Nathan Tho, Thomas Auitello, Nick Pertracca, Sebastian Tonkovich and Sean DeLuca

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