Mass. Amateur golf qualifier set for Monday at Country Club of Pittsfield

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With the Massachusetts State Amateur Championship headed to the Berkshires in July for the first time since 2011, 15 members of Berkshire County clubs will attempt to earn a ticket to Taconic Golf Club in Monday's qualifying tournament at the Country Club of Pittsfield.

The last time the Massachusetts Golf Association's premier amateur event was held locally, at Wyantenuck Country Club in Great Barrington, four local golfers qualified with Davis Mullany of the host club eventually advancing all the way to the quarterfinals.

None of those four — James Ryan, Jim Finnerty and Bob Linn were the others — will be in Monday's field, although Linn will attempt to qualify later this month at Wilbraham Country Club.

CC of Pittsfield members will have a rooting interest with 13-time club champion Matt Scarafoni trying to take advantage of playing on his home course where he is obviously very comfortable.

Given it is the host club in July, it is no surprise that Taconic has the most entrants with six: Bill Hadden, Shane Ortega, Andrew Polidoro, Matthew Gajda, Chad Alibozek and Taylor Foehl. Alibozek is also a member at Forest Park Country Club.

Hadden, who lives in Vermont, has the most impressive resume among the group. He is a member of the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame and has won numerous Connecticut, Vermont and New England championships.

Wahconah Country Club's Paul Briggs, meanwhile, will look to be at least one shot better than last year when he missed qualifying by one shot at Wyantenuck.

Among the local hopefuls, there is a mix of youth and experience.

The younger contingent includes former All-Eagle golfers Alibozek, who is a member of the Salem State golf team, and Owen Hunter; former Iona College golfer Taylor Bellemare and Adam Brickle, who plays college golf at SUNY Delhi.

Other county players entered are Matt Ortega (Stockbridge Golf Club), Brian Cunningham (Wyantenuck CC), Matt Gilardi (Skyline Country Club) and Mark Chylinski (Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort).

The winner of last year's qualifier at Wyantenuck, Pioneer Valley golfer Derek Evon, is among the top players from outside Berkshire County entered.

The top seven and ties in the 50-player field will qualify to advance to Taconic. The tee times Monday are between 8 and 9:30 a.m.


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