Headline: Longmeadow CC's Billy Walthouse Finishes Second at 2017 New England Amateur Championship; Rhode Island's Bobby Leopold Captures Title

For Immediate Release: July 20, 2017

Billy Walthouse was the top Bay State finisher at the 2017 New England Amateur Championship held at Metacomet CC (RI).

East Providence, RI — Playing back in Rhode Island for the first time since graduating from the state’s flagship university nearly two months ago, where he was a captain and his program’s top-player, Longmeadow’s Billy Walthouse finished runner up at the 88th New England Golf Association Amateur Championship at Metacomet Country Club on Thursday following a four-round score of 2-under par 278.

The second place finish comes shortly after advancing to the semifinal round of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship semifinal just last week at Newton’s Charles River Country Club.

After entering the final round as one of four players tied atop the leaderboard, the 22-year old Walthouse couldn’t overcome a magnificent late push by Rhode Island’s Bobby Leopold (Wannamoisett CC), who was the first Rhode Island native to win the New England Amateur Championship since Matt Broome in 2008.

Walthouse finished tied for second with Kevin Silva, a member of Rhode Island’s Montaup Country Club. He and Walthouse were tied atop the leaderboard entering Thursday’s Round 3 and 4 and were paired together for the final 36 holes of the tournament on Thursday.   

Entering the 2017 tournament, Massachusetts had won the previous two championships and four of the last eight. They have garnered 35 total victories dating back to the inaugural event in 1926.

Despite finishing tied second, the Longmeadow Country Club member and 2017 University of Rhode Island graduate Walthouse saw this week’s tournament as another positive outcome, even if it didn’t mean taking home the Harry B. McCracken, Jr. Trophy- awarded to the player with the lowest score after four rounds of stroke play.

“Just another good week. That’s all I can really say,” said Walthouse, who still plans on turning professional at the end of the summer. “I gave myself the chance to win the tournament and unfortunately I didn’t, but I’m still happy with my performance. I think I lost by one shot and I fought hard down the stretch.”

After making the turn at 2-over 37, Walthouse carded three birdies on the back nine to put himself in contention heading towards the home front of the tournament.  After back to back birdies on Metacomet’s 15th and 16th holes, Walthouse bogeyed the par-4 17th hole which inevitably prevented a possible playoff with Leopold, who was one group ahead and sitting under the clubhouse tent overlooking the 18th green when the final group on the tee sheet knocked in their final putts.

After two 18-hole rounds of stroke play and 4 matches at last week’s MGA Amateur, including the semifinal round that was decided in extra holes, getting right back on the course in such short notice was no problem for Walthouse. It obviously had no impact on his game.  

“I took the weekend off after the Mass Amateur and didn’t touch a club until the day before when I found a range and hit some balls” said Walthouse after his final round Thursday.  “I was putting it really well this week and hitting it well, so it was nice that I didn’t lose much. Overall, I was very happy with the way I played.”

As the summer continues on, there will be little time off before Walthouse gets back on the links. He will compete at the USGA Amateur qualifier next Monday at Crestview Country Club in Agawam, which will feel like a home match for the western Mass. native, before heading east again for the Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament, which begins Wednesday at Brae Burn Country Club and will be followed by rounds at Brookline’s The Country Club Thursday and wrap up on Friday at Woodland Golf Club.

For this year’s New England Amateur Champion Bobby Leopold, who shot an even par 70 par in the final round to win by one stroke with a four-day score of 3-under par 277, winning the title in his home state was extra special.

“It felt really good” said the 32-year old Leopold, who fell in the semifinal round at last week’s Rhode Island Amateur Championship. “I’ve wanted this for a while. It’s the deepest field we play against. Everyone kind of comes out for this. Four rounds of stroke play. Everything about it is the real deal.”

With Leopold’s victory on Thursday, Rhode Island has now won 11 NEGA Amateur Championships dating back to 1926.

Jackson Lang, a Lexington resident from Nashawtuc Country Club who advanced to the semifinal last week at the MGA Amateur, finished fifth overall with a 1-over par 281 score while Mark Turner (Bass Rocks GC) and Matthew Organisak (Nashawtuc CC) finished T-6 to round out the MGA players in the top 10. 20 of the 48 players who made the cut for Thursday’s third and fourth rounds held membership at an MGA club.

For more information on the New England Amateur Championship, visit negagolf.org.

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