Headline: Billy Walthouse and Charlie May Share Lead at 5-under par 67 Following Day 1 of the 50th Ouimet Memorial Tournament; Day 2 Set for The Country Club

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2017

Billy Walthouse (above) and Charlie May share the lead following the first round of the 50th Ouimet Memorial Tournament which was held at Brae Burn CC.

West Newton, MA — Some might consider it fatigue, but Billy Walthouse (Longmeadow CC) prefers to call it momentum.

The 22 year old from Longmeadow, who is coming off a 17-day stretch where he has played 208 holes of competitive golf, fired a day-low score of 5-under par 67 on Wednesday at Brae Burn Country Club and currently holds a share of the lead at the 50th Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament.

Only Charlie May (Ferncroft CC) was able to match that score on day one of the three-day tournament which will continue on Thursday at The Country Club and conclude on Friday at Woodland Golf Club.

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“I am definitely a little tired, but I am in a good rhythm right now and everything seems to be dropping right now which is nice,” said Walthouse. “I have a good little run going. I want to keep it going.”

The recent run all started on July 10 when Walthouse began his pursuit of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship title. He played 100 holes over four days en route to a semifinal finish. The following week he logged 72 holes for a T2 finish at the New England Amateur Championship.

And just two days prior to this week’s Ouimet Memorial Tournament, Walthouse played 36 holes over two days [instead of one because of inclement weather] at a U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier held at Crestview Country Club.

“It was nice because I got off to a good start the first day and [Crestview CC] was close to my house,” said Walthouse, who finished as medalist to earn a trip to the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship to be held next month at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. “I was able to go home and come back and play very steady yesterday. Qualifying also gave me a lot of momentum going into today.”

Despite never playing Brae Burn Country Club before, Walthouse continued his incredible play by making eagle on the 320-yard, par 4 1st hole. He holed out from 93 yards out.

“That was a good way to start," said Walthouse.

He made the turn at 1-under par 34 and then went on a run where he played 4-under par golf through his final nine holes. A highlight came on the 478-yard, par 5 13th hole where he made a 45-foot putt for eagle.
 
“I had a couple more birdies coming in,” said Walthouse. “I was very steady and my putting is stellar. All of the hard work has been paying off.”

An exceptional player for many years, Walthouse, a University of Rhode Island graduate who finished T-11 at the Atlantic 10 Championships this past spring and was a member of the conference All-Academic Team, has had a summer to remember as he eyes a professional career following this summer.

A turning point came back in May when Walthouse participated in the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship with Matt Naumec (GreatHorse). The duo did not capture the title that week, but something important clicked for Walthouse.

“I look back on the USGA Four-Ball and that last match,” said Walthouse. “Even though we lost I played really well and after that I found something and have been able to practice a lot and am in a rhythm which is nice right now.”

Walthouse will take on yet another course he has never laid eyes on tomorrow in The Country Club. Walthouse will be relying on his memory of walking the course four years ago when he was an on-site alternate at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship.

MAY'S BIRDIE SPREE CONTINUES

Keeping pace with Walthouse on Wednesday was May, who is also enjoying a long but successful stretch of golf in July.

On Tuesday, May finished as second alternate – following a playoff against Mark Turner (Bass Rocks GC) – at a U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier held at Andover Country Cub.

Following a slow start on the front nine at Brae Burn Country Club where he made two bogies and seven pars, May exploded on the back nine where he was 7-under par through six holes. He made five straight birdies and then an eagle on the 304-yard, par 4 15th hole.

“Thirty on the back nine was really good,” said May. “Seven-under in my first six holes on the back nine. I’ve never had something happen like that. I played well yesterday in the second round of the U.S. Amateur qualifier, which gave me a lot of confidence that I needed today.”

After posting a 2-over par 74 during his morning round at Andover Country Club on Tuesday, May fired a 7-under par 65 in the afternoon to help secure his alternate status. He made nine birdies during that stretch and has – over his last 36 holes – carded 14 birdies and one eagle.

“I definitely learned something on that back nine [at Andover],” said May. “Just posting a low number like that on the back gave me the confidence that I could do it again. I’m really just speechless.”

Although just 22 years old, this year marks May’s fifth appearance at the Ouimet Memorial Tournament, which holds more significance to him than most.

“It means a lot to me,” said May. “I’m a Ouimet Scholar myself so the scholarship funds helped me through college for a couple years. This is my fifth year now playing in it I believe. It is always a great tournament. The host sites are always so accommodating to us and the golf courses themselves are great.”

And his thoughts on playing the West Newton layout for the first time?

 “I loved it,” said May. “It was definitely different in the sense that there are shorter par 4’s. I decided to be more conservative since I hadn’t seen the golf course so I laid back with irons or hybrids because I didn’t know what was up there.”

May will have a much better sense for the next two layouts he is to encounter on Thursday (The Country Club) and Friday (Woodland Golf Club). May’s grandfather is a former member of The Country Club, while Woodland has been a final stop for the Ouimet Memorial Tournament for May for the past several years.

“I’m definitely confident [knowing I’m familiar with both The Country Club and Woodland],” said May. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a treat to be able to play courses like that, especially in the 50th anniversary of the tournament. It’s great.”

DEFENDING CHAMPION WALKER STAYS THE COURSE

When Joe Walker (Dennis Pines GC) found out that he had posted the lowest Lowery Division score of the day – a 1-under par 71 – he was somewhat amazed as he quickly noted how strong and level the playing field was.

To Walker’s point, the top five scorers on day one were separated by just three strokes.

“For the most part at this level, you aren’t going to see a guy go out and make six or seven birdies like the kids can do,” said Walker. “We are a little more conservative on how we play, and generally it is hard to make a lot of birdies if you aren’t on par 5s in 2 and not hitting a lob wedge into the par 4s.”

On this day, Walker managed to card four birdies – two on each nine – and just one bogey and a double bogey to finish as the only Lowery Division competitor under par for the day.

“I keep it front of me,” said Walker. “I made a double on 8 when I hit it short of the green. I chipped it over the green and made a sloppy double there. Other than that, I kept it front of me and made good decisions. I know my yardages and picked the right clubs and stayed out of trouble.”

One shot back of Walker at even par is Jim DiBiase (Woodland GC), who was 2-under par through 15 holes before carding bogey on the 16th and 18th holes.

Paul Nunez (Ludlow CC) and Kevin Carey (Dennis Pines GC) are two back at 1-over par 73.

“I had a great pairing playing with Tom [Bagley] and Jim Ruschioni,” said Walker. “Jimmy has really been one of my heros for all these years. They are both gentlemen and fun to play with. I saw a lot of great shots today.”

Winning this championship once was special to Walker, but capturing another divisional title would probably leave him speechless.

“Oddly enough I never played in this when I was a junior because I didn’t think I was good enough. Now I wish that I had,” said Walker. “The shorter course helps me out without a doubt. I can compete on a course that is within my range. It is a class “A” event, and it means a lot to win this tournament.”

OUIMET SCHOLARS COME BACK TO GIVE BACK

As the 50th Francis Ouimet Scholarship Foundation Memorial Tournament kicked off Wednesday at Brae Burn Country Club, several individuals who have long been involved with the organization, which helps those who work in golf in Massachusetts attend college, have made it their priority to come back to the tournament.

Whether a donor, a volunteer or even a competitor, there is no question that the annual Ouimet Memorial Tournament, which regularly holds its spot on the calendar during the last week of July, remains one of the region’s top invitational tournaments.

In this week’s field, which also includes stops at The Country Club in Brookline, site of the 1999 Ryder Cup, and Woodland Golf Club, Francis Ouimet’s home course for the majority of his adult life, it should come as no surprise that several competitors teeing it up are giving back to the organization that once assisted them in attending college. In fact, 8 of the 117 competitors teeing it up in the Championship and Lowery divisions are former Ouimet Scholarship recipients.

Of those competitors who are scholarship recipients, Brendan Ridge (Harmon GC/Boston College) and Jake Peer (Winchester CC, Holy Cross) are two of the most recent scholars, having each received two scholarships during the 2016-17 academic year.

Ridge, a rising sophomore at Boston College and a member of the men’s golf team, was the recipient of the John D. Mineck Caddie Scholarship and the Jerry York Scholarship in the most recent academic year as a Francis Ouimet scholar. Being included in the field with those individuals who help support students like him is a feeling second to none.  

“Being a Ouimet scholar, this tournament is extra special because I look at it as a way to get the Ouimet scholars to shine for those of us in the field," said Ridge, who first got involved with the Scholarship Fund by working as a caddie at Boston Golf Club. “To see that we can be well rounded and prove ourselves on the course like we do in the classroom is great. This tournament is one that I always want to peak for.”

Like all the Ouimet scholars, the two that Ridge received have special ties to him. The John D. Mineck Caddie Scholarship was given in honor of the late Mineck, a co-founder of Boston Golf Club where Ridge has provided his service to golf, while the one named in honor of Jerry York has direct ties to Ridge at the collegiate level. York attended Boston College and has been the head coach of the men’s hockey program there since 1994, including winning four NCAA Championships.

He expressed his gratitude to those who help the tournament such a success.

“The fact that the Ouimet Fund exists means a lot for a lot of us who play,” said Ridge, who most recently competed in the Massachusetts Amateur Championship where he advanced to match play. “All of the scholars get money through the Ouimet Fund. It’s something that might not get as much attention and it means a lot and a lot of kids need it. I think it’s nice to see a lot of people getting together for this.”

Like Ridge, playing in this Invitational Tournament means a lot for Holy Cross rising junior Peer, who this past year received the Phil and Blanche Cahalin Scholarship and the Richard F. Connolly, Jr. Scholarship.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to get out there and connect and thank the donors,” said Peer on playing in the Ouimet Memorial Tournament with so many people who have directly impacted the scholarships. “They are all great people and it’s good for them to be able to see who their donations are going to.”

Peer, a Woburn native, performed his golf service at nearby Winchester Country Club. This was the second year that he was able to compete in the event.   

“It is really cool to be able to play in this event and represent and do my best. To come out and do anything for the Ouimet Fund is a real honor, I’d say, because they have helped me a lot. It is a great honor.”

One of Peer’s two scholarships that he received this past year was the Richard F. Connolly, Jr. Scholarship, which has more than one tie to the 20-year old Holy Cross golfer. In addition to playing in his second straight Ouimet Memorial Tournament, where Mr. Connolly has served as Tournament Chairman since 1979, Peer is also playing collegiately for the same team that Connolly twice captained in his youth.

The result has led to networking, one of the many benefits that the Ouimet Foundation provides to its scholars.

“I’ve actually met [Richard Connolly, Jr.] a couple times and we’ve talked about Holy Cross and Holy Cross Golf. He is a really great guy. He told me that if I ever need anything, to give him a call.”

While nothing is certain in the game of golf, one thing that remains the same following the Ouimet Memorial Tournament is the lasting impact that the Ouimet Scholarship Fund has on its scholars. This past spring, the foundation announced its plans to increase annual scholarships another $150,000 to a record $2 million.

Since its inception in 1949, it has awarded nearly $32 million to over 5,600 scholars.  

As the Ouimet Memorial Tournament continues, both Ridge and Peer will be among the many looking to achieve a feat that very few have been able to do. Since the tournament’s inception in 1968, only five scholars have won the Francis Ouimet Memorial Championship. Both look to join Ken Katowski (1970), Paul Murphy (1975), Daniel Neary (1984), Jason Cook (1986) and Brendan Hester (1994) as former scholars to win the tournament.

For more information on the Ouimet Foundation or how you can donate, visit their website at: www.Ouimet.org.

A VENUE FOR CHAMPIONS

Since 1968, a total of 25 Member Clubs have served as host to at least one of the rounds of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament. Woodland Golf Club – where Francis Ouimet was a member and played much of his golf – has hosted the most (61 rounds). In addition to hosting the final round each year, Woodland Golf Club hosted multiple rounds of the three-round tournament during its earlierst years.

While the first two rounds have been held at venues located across the state, the event reached Cape Cod for the first time in tournament history one year ago when Oyster Harbors and Hyannisport served as hosts.

This year’s host clubs – Brae Burn Country Club and The Country Club – both boast great histories of hosting USGA championships. Brae Burn CC is a Donald Ross gem that has welcomed seven USGA championships, while The Country Club has opened its doors to 13 USGA events as well as the 1999 Ryder Cup. The 2022 U.S. Open Championship is scheduled to be held at The Country Club and is the site where Francis Ouimet won the U.S. Open in 1913.

KEEPING UP WITH THE #OMT50

Complete coverage of the 2017 Ouimet Memorial Tournament will be available online (MGAlinks.org) and via social media.

Join the conversation and share your photos, memories and thoughts by following us on Twitter (@mgalinks #OMT50), Facebook (@ Massachusetts-Golf-Association) and Instagram @mgalinks #OMT50).
 

PAST CHAMPION UPDATE

A total of 11 Championship Division and six Lowery Division champions are in this year's field. Here is how each fared on Wednesday.

  • John Hadges (Thorny Lea GC) – won this event in 1981. Today’s score = 3-under par 69
  • Jon Fasick (New England CC) - won this event in 1983. Today’s score = 6-over par 78
  • Jason Cook (Pine Oaks CC) – won this event in 1986. Today’s score = 4-over par 76
  • George Popp (Vesper CC) – won this event in 1990. Today’s score = 4-over par 76
  • Bill Jenks (Brae Burn CC) – won this event in 1991. Today’s score = 7-over par 79
  • Jack Kearney (Elmcrest CC) – won the Championship Division in 1992 & the Lowery Division in 2010. Today’s score = 6-over par 78
  • Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC) – won this event in 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2010. Today’s score = 1-over par 73
  • Kevin Carey (Dennis Pines GC) – won the Championship Division in 2000 and the Lowery Division in 2014 and 2015. Today’s score = 1-over par 73
  • John Gilmartin (Indian Ridge CC) – won this event in 2004, 2011. Today’s score = 6-over par 78
  • Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) – won this event in 2009, 2013. Today’s score = 1-under par 73
  • Matt Naumec (GreatHorse) – won this event in 2016. Today’s score = 1-over par 73
  • Jim Ruschioni (Wachussett CC) – won the Lowery Division in 2005. Today’s score = 10-over par 82
  • Doug Crawford (Sandy Burr CC) – won the Lowery Division in 2006. Today’s score = 5-over par 77
  • Richard King (Hyannis GC) – won the Lowery Division in 2012 and 2013. Today’s score = 14-over par 86
  • Joe Walker (Dennis Pines GC) – won the Lowery Division in 2016. Today’s score = 1-under par 71

SCHEDULE OF PLAY

Thursday, July 27 @ The Country Club
Round 2 - 18 Holes (Championship & Lowery)

***The low 40 scorers and ties from the Championship Division and the low 9 scorers and ties from the Lowery Division after 36-holes will continue play on June 28.

Friday, July 28 @ Woodland Golf Club

Round 3 - 18 Holes (Championship & Lowery)
Round 1 - 18 Holes (Women's) *

* Tee times will be available on Thursday evening. The first tee times are typically scheduled for approximately 10:00 a.m.  

MGA Noteworthy

  • Social Media Alert: Keep track of the event online and via social media (#OMT50).

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