Headline: 2017 Massachusetts Amateur Championship Set for July 10-14 at Charles River Country Club; Two-Time Champion James Driscoll to Hit Ceremonial First Drive

For Immediate Release: July 7, 2017

James Driscoll will be hitting the ceremonial first drive on Monday to help kick off the 109th MGA Amateur Championship at Charles River CC.

Click the magazine cover below to read a feature story on the host club - including a sneak peak at some of the key holes in Newton.

Newton, MA — The 109th Massachusetts Amateur Championship will officially kick off on Monday at Charles River Country Club.

Over a period of five days in Newton, a field of 144 competitors will vie for The Massachusetts Cup, which is awarded to the champion of the MGA's most prestigious and oldest Championship Proper.

This event was introduced in 1903 and stands as the third oldest state amateur championship conducted in the United States. During that time period, a total of 75 individual competitors have claimed the title as their own. Notable former champions from the past include Francis Ouimet, Jesse Guilford, Eddie Lowery, Fred Wright, Eddie Lowery and Ted Bishop.

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109th MGA Amateur Quick Links

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Numerous recent touring professional players have also had their names etched on The Massachusetts Cup with no one more prominent than James Driscoll, who is playing in his 17th year as a professional golfer. In his career, he has spent nine years on the PGA Tour and eight years on the Web.com Tour.

Prior to embarking on a successful professional career where he has won two Web.com Tour titles, Driscoll captured the Massachusetts Amateur Championship in 1996 - when he was just 18 years old - and then again 1998. To this day, Driscoll, along with Ted Adams who was victorious in 1939, stand as the youngest players to ever win the prestigious title

Driscoll also finished as runner-up both at the 1995 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and the 2000 U.S. Amateur Championship (where he fell in 39 holes.)

A Brookline native and a longtime member at Charles River Country Club, Driscoll will be on hand Monday morning to hit what will be a historic shot off the 1st tee. It marks the first time in event history that a past champion has returned to help kick start Championship Proper week.

"James Driscoll is a perfect representation of Massachusetts golf and a true role model for golfers of all ages," said Jesse Menachem, the MGA's Executive Director. "In addition to being a tremendous competitor, James has consistently given back to the game whether it has been through his volunteer efforts with The First Tee of Massachusetts or the Birdies for Boston program."

To Menachem's point, Driscoll was one of the first amateur competitors to serve as a volunteer for The First Tee of Massachusetts golf clinics held in the Boston area. He also - in 2013 - formed "Birdies for Boston" and pledged $1,000 for each birdie he made at various PGA TOUR events in 2013 to The One Fund.

In the age where professional teams dominate headlines, sport enthusiasts should plan to attend one or many days of the MGA Amateur Championship. The weather is scheduled to be pleasant, the golf course is second to none, the competition will be superior and the price of entry is zero.

Here is more information to help competitors and spectators (from near and far) prepare for what should be a very special Championship Proper.

SPECTATOR AMENTIES:

  • Admission throughout the five-day event is free of charge for the general public.
  • Parking at Charles River CC will be limited and carpooling is suggested. It is also requested that all players, caddies and spectators use the guest/visitor parking lot; located on the right-hand side of the club driveway as you approach the clubhouse/1st tee area.
  • To help spectators plan ahead, starting times for Round 1 and Round 2 are now available (see links to the right) as well as a special Charles River Program Guide that includes a course map and an official MGA scorecard.
  • A scoreboard area will be set up outside of the clubhouse so that all spectators and players can follow all of the action. There will also be an electronic scoreboard set up inside the clubhouse.
  • Golf carts are available for rules officials only. If you need transportation or require special attention, please see the MGA's Mobility Impaired Spectator Cart Policy
  • Here is a summary of the ways you can keep track of all the action throughout the three-day event.
    • MGAlinks.org
      • Full-field results, including 9-hole splits and hole-by-hole scores
      • Daily summaries, interviews event news and notes
      • Photo galleries - courtesy of David Colt - will be posted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
      • Video highlights - courtesy of Don Coyne - will be posted following play on Friday
  • Social Media - be sure to tag @mgalinks and use the hashtag of #MassAm

AMATEUR RESOURCES

An event that has been contested since 1903 is rich in history and memorable moments. Here are helpful resources about the current and past events.

ABOUT THE MASSACHUSETTS AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

This year marks the 109th playing of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. The first MGA Amateur, played in 1903 at Myopia Hunt Club, was conducted for a total of 54 golfers. The championship was held every year except for 1917 and 1918 and 1942-45 due to WWI and WWII, respectively.

The Massachusetts Amateur Championship was first contested in 1903 and is the third oldest state amateur championship in the United States behind only the Golf Association of Philadelphia (115 years) and The Metropolitan Golf Association (113 years).

Eligibility: Entries are open to amateur golfers who have an active MGA/GHIN Handicap Index at any public, private, semi-private, municipal or non-real estate MGA member course/club not exceeding 4.4 (as determined by the May 1, 2017 Handicap Revision), or who have completed their handicap certification

Prizes: The Massachusetts Cup and a gold medal will be presented to the Champion. Merchandise certificates will be awarded to the 32 Match Play Qualifiers and are only redeemable at the host site.

Entries: The MGA accepted 720 entries for the 2017 Massachusetts Amateur Championship. The most entries received in the past decade was 887 in 2010 when the championship was hosted at The Country Club. Two years ago, the MGA accepted a total of 737 entries when the Championship Proper was held at Oak Hill Country Club. Last year, the MGA accepted a total of 682 entries when the Championship Proper was held at Taconic Golf Club.

Sectional Qualifying: Sectional qualifying, played over 18 holes, was conducted at 10 sites across the state between May 30 to June 21. CLICK HERE for highlights from each qualifying site.

Championship Field: The starting field of 144 golfers will be cut after 36 holes to the low 32 scorers who will advance to Match Play on July 13. A tie for the final qualifying places shall be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff.

Schedule of Play: Eighteen holes of stroke play are scheduled each day from Monday, July 10, through Tuesday, July 11. A tie for the final qualifying places shall be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff.

Match Play: A general numeric draw will be used. For purposes of determining places in the draw, ties in qualifying rounds shall be decided by the order in which scores are returned, except that places of those participating in a play-off shall be determined by performance in the play-off and if necessary a blind draw.

  • Round of 32 (AM) - July 12
  • Round of 16 (PM) - July 12
  • Quarterfinals (AM) - July 13
  • Semifinals (PM) - July 13
  • Final Round (AM/PM) - July 14 (36 Holes)

In the event of a tied match, (a) the winner shall be decided immediately by a hole-by-hole play-off, and (b) the stipulated round is deemed to extend to as many holes as are required for a match to be won.

A Look Back at 2016: Brendan Hunter (Red Tail GC) turned what he thought was an improbable into a reality. In Williamstown, the 20-year-old from Groton scored the biggest win of his career by capturing the 108th Massachusetts Amateur Championship. He capped off what was a magical week of golf at Taconic Golf Club with a 4-and-3 victory over John Kelly (Twin Hills CC). Read More

Past Champions in the Field: The following competitors have been victorious at this event in the past and are a part of the 2017 Championship Proper field.

  • 2016 Brendan Hunter (Shaker Hills CC)
  • 2014 John Kelly (Twin Hills CC)
  • 2011 Ryan Riley (Pine Oaks GC)
  • 2010 & 2008 John Hadges (Thorny Lea GC)
  • 2006 Benjamin Spitz (George Wright GC)
  • 2005 & 2004 Frank Vana Jr. (Marlborough CC)
  • 2003 Andy Drohen (The Ranch GC)
  • 2001 Brendan Hester (Pleasant Valley CC)

Par and Yardage: Charles River Country Club will be set up at approximately 6,701 yards and will play to a par of 35-35–70.

Hole

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Out

Yards

425

546

380

159

395

360

468

429

182

3344

Par

4

5

4

3

4

4

4

4

34

35


10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

In

Total

500

242

358

365

200

505

553

190

444

3357

6701

4

3

4

4

3

5

5

3

4

35

70

Most Victories: 6 (Frederick J. Wright, Jr. - 1920, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1938)

Most Times as a Host Club: 10 (The Country Club & Brae Burn Country Club)

Last Competitor to Defend: Mike Calef (2012-13)

Youngest Players to Win: Ted Adams & James Driscoll (Adams – 1939; Driscoll – 1996… both were 18 years old)

Oldest Players to Win: Ed Fletcher (53 years old in 1995); Ted Bishop (48 years old in 1961)

Largest Age Differential Between Finalists: 39 years (1956 - Fred Wright (58) and Charles Volpone (19)).

Longest Final Match: 40 holes in 1993 (Flynt Lincoln def. Jason Kissell at Essex County Club)

Shortest Final Match: 25 holes in 1922 (Francis Ouimet def. Clark Hodder, 12 and 11, at Kernwood Country Club)

Most Appearances in Championship Proper: 31 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1984-85; 1988-2016))

Most Consecutive Appearances in Match Play: 22 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1991-2012)

Most Appearances in Match Play: 25 (Frank Vana, Jr. (1985, 1988, 1991-2012; 2015))

Average Age of the 2017 Field: 30.2

Most Common Name in the 2017 Field: Michael (10)

Youngest Players In the 2017 Field: Conner Willett (14), Will Campbell (14)

Oldest Player In the 2017 Field: Robert Linn (63)

Total Number of MGA Member Clubs Represented:102

Most Represented MGA Member Clubs: Blue Hill CC (4), George Wright GC (4), Marlborough CC (4), Thorny Lea GC (4), Brae Burn CC (3), CC of Halifax (3), Charles River CC (3), Foxborough CC (3), Haverhill CC (3), Nashawtuc CC (3), Needham GC (3), Worcester CC (3)

Total Number of Towns Represented: 90

Most Towns Represented: Boston (11), Needham (4), Westwood (4), Peabody (3), Sudbury (3), Wellesley (3)

Geographic Breakdown: Greater Boston-48; South Shore-25; North Shore-24; Greater Worcester-18; Greater Springfield-12; Cape Cod-9; Berkshires-1; Non Real Estate-5

A FITTING HONOR FOR A GOLF LEGEND

The low scorer following the first two rounds of stroke play will enjoy a new and historic honor. The individual (or individuals) who post the lowest cumulative score following the 36-hole stroke-play portion of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship will be awarded the Harry B. McCracken, Jr. - Stroke Play Medalist Award.

This marks the first year that the tournament medalist will receive this honor named after McCracken, a longtime member at Charles River Country Club and current executive-secretary/treasurer of the New England Golf Association. A short ceremony will be held at the club on Tuesday - weather permitting - following the conclusion of stroke play.

“We are thrilled to name the Massachusetts Amateur Championship Stroke Play Medalist Award after our friend and colleague Harry McCracken, Jr.,” said Jesse Menachem, the MGA Executive Director. “Harry has made countless contributions to amateur golf here in the Bay State and across the New England region for nearly 50 years and with this year’s Championship Proper taking place at the same club that Harry has been associated for 81 years, there couldn’t be a better time to present him with this honor.”

McCracken, one of most recognizable figures in the local golf scene, has been a fixture at MGA, NEGA and USGA events since 1969 when he first became a part of the MGA Executive Committee. He rose to the title of MGA president in 1984 and later began work with the New England Golf Association, which serves the golfing needs for those from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. He currently serves as the Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the New England Golf Association – a position he has held since 1987 – where he oversees all facets of the association’s operations.

Having already received numerous awards and recognition from nearly every top golf organization in the span of his career, McCracken, Jr. adds to his legacy with this latest award-one that will connect the longest running MGA Championship with one of its longest-tenured representatives to continue on the legacy for as long as the Massachusetts Golf Associations is in existence.

In addition to the creation of the Harry B McCracken, Jr. Stroke Play Medalist Award, its namesake has previously been honored with the 1995 USGA Ike Grainger Award, the 2007 USGA Joe Dey Award and the 2005 New England PGA George S. Wemyss Award, among others.

While the first Harry B McCracken, Jr. Stroke Play Medalist Award will be awarded at his home club following completion of stroke play on Tuesday, this also continues a strong legacy that McCracken has developed at Charles River Country Club since he started as a junior golfer there in 1936.

Since 1996, the club has annually held the McCracken Cup, a tournament named in Harry's honor that brings together some of New England's best low-handicap golfers while he served three terms on the Board of Governors at Charles River Country Club, including 10 years as vice president and treasurer.

ABOUT THE HOST SITE

The following was taken directly from the Charles River Country Club web site, which can be found at www.charlesrivercc.org.

Dating back nearly 100 years, Charles River Country Club has a long history rich in tradition and heritage.

Outside the locker room door, you will see the famous 1913 U.S. Open photograph of Francis Ouimet and Eddie Lowrey (Caddie). Ouimet was a bond-holding member from 1922 through 1927. He was also the clubs first honorary member, remaining an active member until his death in 1967.
 
Eddie Lowrey became a bond-holding member at Charles River twenty years after the photo was taken. Lowrey was an accomplished amateur golfer who won the 1927 Massachusetts Amateur Championship, held at Charles River. Lowrey was twice club champion, 1933 and 1936.
 
Charles River Country Club features a Donald Ross designed golf course that opened in 1921. The members play the course at a par of 72 and a playing distance of 6,657 yards. The course rating is 72.7 with a slope rating of 131.

During competitive play, Charles River alters the course to create a par of 70. The 7th and 10th holes, which normally play to a par of 5, are played at a par of 4.
 
Over the years, Charles River has hosted many prestigious amateur and professional tournaments. Charles River was the host for the 2003 USGA Men’s State Team Championship.
 
In 2006, the Massachusetts Open was held at Charles River. Only one player broke par for the tournament and it was winner Geoff Sisk at 1 under.
 
In 2013, Charles River served as a host of the stroke-play qualifying rounds for the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship.

 

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