WILLIAMSTOWN — There were 144 golfers who began the journey to the Massachusetts Amateur championship on Monday morning. Peter French and Jake Shuman lead the 32 still standing into match play.
French shot an even-par 71 on Tuesday afternoon while Shuman, who set a Taconic Golf Club record in Monday's opening round, had a 4-over 75. Both finished at 3-under 139 to share medalist honors. That seemed only fitting as the two golfers were playing in the same threesome.
"I expected myself to be right up there. I just wanted to play solid golf," said French. "Obviously, you want to be medalist and you want to be a good seed. I just have to tighten up a few more things heading into tomorrow, and anything can happen."
While both golfers finished at 139, Shuman earned the top seed with French No. 2.
To close out the 32-player field, nine players who were tied at 147 had a one-hole playoff. Six of those nine earned spots in the first round of match play, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning.
There will be two rounds of play today, the round of 32 and the round of 16, which tees off at noon. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played on Thursday, while the 36-hole championship will be played on Friday.
Just missing out on match play was Jake Mahoney, who plays out of Greenock Country Club in Lee. Mahoney was one of six golfers to miss the cut by shooting 148. After notching an 8-over 79 in Monday's opening round, he bounced back with a more-than-nifty 2-under par 69.
"I just played a lot better today," said Mahoney. "I got up early this morning, got to the range to work out a few things. I was over here early putting for a while, and I needed that."
Mahoney, whose round started at the 10th hole, helped his cause by getting three birdies on his back nine. He closed out his round going birdie, birdie, par.
"I went par, par, bogey on a three-putt [to start], and that was my only mistake," he said. "I just felt a lot more confident out there after knowing the course for one day, and kind of knowing that I needed to do well."
Shuman shot a 7-under 64 in Monday's opening round to etch his name in the Taconic record books. He and his group started on the back nine. After two pars, the rising junior from Duke went bogey, birdie, bogey. He closed out his back nine with bogeys on 16 and 17 and a par on 18.
"I didn't want to get too high or too low. Obviously, yesterday was a good day," said Shuman. "Today wasn't a great day, but at the same time, I hit a lot of good shots over the last two days.
"I wanted some momentum going into tomorrow, and that's the first step of the process. You have to get to Wednesday."
The day's low score belonged to Matt Parziale of Thorny Lea, who shot 3-under 68.
The morning flight was highlighted by a 2-under-par 69 shot by high school student Mark Turner of St. John's Prep. Turner parlayed that, along with a 71 into a two-day total of 140. He was all alone in third, one stroke behind the medalists.
Turner's day started on the 10th hole, and he promptly bogeyed the par-5 hole. But the rising senior came back with a birdie on 11 and wrapped up his first nine holes with three consecutive birdies. He said for him, the back nine at Taconic were tougher than the front nine, and shooting 3-under 33 helped boost his confidence.
"It is. If you can get through those holes with a good score, which I did today, it makes the second [part] a lot easier," he said, "and you feel more comfortable out there."
Two other golfers with Berkshire County ties did not fare as well. Bob Linn of Berkshire Hills, who shot a 75 in Monday's opening round, shot a 77 and finished his Mass. Amateur at 152.
Chad Alibozek of Forest Park had his second rough day. Alibozek, who shot 82 in the first round, shot an 80 in the second round for a 162.
While most of the 144 head home, the threesome of Shuman, French and Patrick Frodigh will all head into match play. Frodigh, who lost to Nick McLaughlin in last year's final, was eighth at 143.
"We have played together for a long time. We were just kind of cracking jokes out there and keeping it loose and just playing golf," said French. "There wasn't any pressure. We just wanted to go out and play solid.
"We'll see each other in match play. That's kind of the whole end goal and that's what we all think."
Top 15 finishers
1. Peter French 68-71 139 and Jake Shuman 64-75 139; 3. Mark Turner 71-69 140; 4. (tie) Davis Chatfield 73-69 142, Alex Jamieson 70-72 142, Matthew Naumec 69-73 142, Dan Cappucci 71-71 142. 8. Patrick Frodigh 71-72 143; 9. (tie) Matt Parziale 76-68 144, Kevin Gately 72-72, 144, John McNeill 72-72 144, Ryan Riley 71-73 142, Brendan Hunter 70-74 144, Zach Camarra 70-74 144, Alex Jeffers 70-74 144.
Match Play First Round
Round of 32 begins at 8 a.m.; Round of 16 begins at noon.
Jake Shuman vs. Doug Clapp; Jackson Lang vs. Benjamin Spitz; Patrick Frodigh vs. Christopher Gentile; Brendan Hunter vs. Matt Cowgill; Alex Jamieson vs. John Hadges; Alex Jeffers vs. Tim Tunstall; Matthew Naumec vs. Jordan Burke; Matt Parziale vs. Timothy Umphrey.
Peter French vs. Billy Walthouse;Ryan Riley vs. Andrew Warfield; Dan Cappucci vs. Ben Balter; John McNeill vs. Frank Vana Jr.; Mark Turner vs. Jack O'Donnell; Zach Camarra vs. Thomas Henderson; Davis Chatfield vs. John Kelly; Kevin Gately vs. Brian Sears.