Richard Lord | Tee to Green: Goldenring continuing run of success
Last summer, it was a trip to Pebble Beach Golf Links and this August it will be a visit to Pinehurst No. 2 for Williams College golfer Sam Goldenring, whose excellent 2019 just keeps getting better.
Coming off a 2018 golf season that saw him qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship, Goldenring is having an even better year in 2019. The New Jersey native capped off a great junior season in May by winning the NCAA Division III individual championship — leading to his being named a First Team Division III All-American — and earlier this week qualified for another U.S. Amateur, which will be Aug. 12-18 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.
The qualifying tournament last year was held at Taconic Golf Club, the Ephs' home course, when Goldenring and teammate Will Kannegieser both advanced to play at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill on California's Monterey Peninsula. This time, Goldenring didn't have a home-course advantage, but apparently that didn't matter.
"I loved the course from the moment I saw it on my practice round and it really suited my game ... not quite as well as Taconic, but it did the job," said Goldenring, who put together steady back-to-back rounds of 3-under 69 at The Hackensack Golf Club in Emerson, N.J. to punch his ticket to North Carolina and finish just one shot behind the medalist.
Give the U.S. Golf Association credit, having two of America's most famous and iconic courses host its premier amateur event in back-to-back years is a great prize for the nation's top amateurs to seek out, and Goldenring is one of those to take advantage of the opportunity.
While he failed to reach the match-play field of 64 last year — he finished 128th out of 312 golfers in the 36-hole medal-play qualifier to miss advancing — it was an experience that has helped lift Goldenring's game to new heights this year.
"Playing in the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach last year was honestly the best thing that has happened to me and my golf game," Goldenring said. "Even though I missed the match play cut by two shots, I finally proved to myself that I belong with the best players in the country and that was so much more important than any score I could've shot. Without that newfound confidence in myself and my game, I honestly do not believe I would've had the collegiate year that I had and I would've thought winning NCAAs was a long shot to say the least."
Now he gets to go to another of America's greatest tests, though he will go in with a little better idea of the challenges that he will face in the sandhills of North Carolina.
"Over spring break my sophomore year, the team and I had the privilege to play No. 2 and it was one of the most challenging, yet most enjoyable courses I've ever played," he said of the Donald Ross classic. "The No. 4 course (to be used in the medal-play qualifying) was just redesigned, so we didn't have a chance to play it when we were down there, but I've seen some pictures of the finished product and it looks amazing. I can't wait to get down there in August and compete on these legendary courses."
Three members of Berkshire County courses — Chad Alibozek, Davis Mullany and Kevin Quinto — will be in the field on Monday morning when The Country Club hosts the Massachusetts Amateur Championship for a record 11th time in the tournament's 111-year history.
Alibozek and Mullany will be playing in their second Mass. Amateurs while the 20-year-old Quinto will be playing in his first. Alibozek shot a 3-over 74 while Mullany and Quinto both had rounds of 75 in the qualifying tournament at Wahconah Country Club in June.
Of all of Mass Golf's major tournaments, the Amateur is arguably the most difficult — and exhausting — to win. The field of 144 golfers will be cut to 32 players after 36 holes of medal play ends on Tuesday. The eventual champion will then have two win two matches on both Wednesday and Thursday just to qualify for Friday's 36-hole championship match.
Did I say exhausting?
The 30-year-old Mullany's previous experience in the tournament came in 2011 when his home course, Wyantenuck Country Club, played host to the state's top amateur event. He made it into the 32-player match-play field before eventually losing in the round of 16 to Antonio Grillo.
Having recently finished dental school at the University of Pittsburgh, Mullany's golf game has hardly been his top priority and he admitted having low expectations prior to qualifying at Wahconah. Nonetheless, he found a way to get the job done at Wahconah and can't be counted out of reaching match play considering his past performance.
Alibozek qualified for the tournament when the main event was held at Williamstown's Taconic Golf Club in 2016. He struggled with rounds of 82 and 80, but believes he is a much more prepared golfer this time around.
"My demeanor on the golf course is much better now," said Alibozek, a two-time All-Eagle MVP during his high school career at Hoosac Valley who had a solid college career at Salem State.
The 20-year-old Quinto, who plays golf at Division III Christopher Newport University and made the Capital Athletic Conference all-conference team this year, will no doubt be facing the most talented field he ever has with a tee sheet that includes 11 past champions.
One thing is certain — there will not be a back-to-back champion. Last year's winner, Patrick Frodigh, has turned professional since capturing last year's tournament in Boston.
Given the unpredictability of match play and the strength of the field, picking an eventual champion is a fool's errand, but certainly all eyes will be focused on Brockton's Matt Parziale as long as remains alive. Parziale, the 2017 Mass. Amateur champion who went on to capture the U.S, Mid-Amateur title later in that summer, has earned Mass. Golf Player of the Year honors for three consecutive years.
It's been a couple of good weeks for junior golfers who call the Waubeeka Golf Links their home course.
Last week, Connor Snow of Adams qualified for the second round of qualifying in the 2020 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship in the 7-9 year-old age division with a second-place finish at Saratoga National in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
This week, another Waubeeka junior, Owen Petropulos, earned his ticket to the subregional to be held at First Tee Connecticut in Cromwell, Conn. Petropulos finished in second place in the 12-13 age division on Tuesday at Willow Brook Golf Course in South Windsor, Conn.
The Mount Greylock golfer, who finished first in the chipping portion of the competition, moves on the the subregional to be held at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., on July 25th. Snow will compete in the subregional at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y. on August 14.
The top finishers in the subregionals move on to the regional finals in September. The regional winners advance to next April's finals at Augusta National on the Sunday prior to the 2020 Masters.
Good luck, guys!
The qualifying performance made it a couple of good days in a row for Petropulos. On Monday, he tied first for first place with Brady Digrigoli in the 13-and-under division of the first Berkshire County Junior Series event of the summer at Wahconah Country Club. Petropulos and Digrigoli both had rounds of 96.
Taking the other age divisions on Monday were Berkshire Hills Country club member Brenden Hayden and Nathan Dos Santos, a member at the Links at Worthington. Hayden shot an 81 to win the 14-15 age division while Dos Santos fired a 79 to take the 16-and-over victory.
This Monday's tournament will be played at Greenock Country Club. The third tournament will be played on July 22 at Stockbridge Golf Club.
Wyantenuck Country Club
Elisabeth Redfield Invitational
1. Mary Ellen Burt and Susan Kahler, 71-70—141. 2. Karen Feldman and Pat Mayne, 74-70—144. 3. Kathy Sullivan and Sharon Connelly, 75-73—146.
1. Diane Breen and Kathy Duguay, 6-64—128.
1. Caroline Merritt and Sue Vigeant, 77-75—152. 2. Jennifer Ferrang and Ann Malone, 77-76—153. 3. Theresa Collins and Lynn Oberbillig, 73-82—155.
1. Fran Vandermeer and Angie Linger, 63-60—123.
1. Liz Wilson and Charlotte Ackerman, 84-73—157. 2. Diane Brown and Nancy Hutchins, 80-81—161. 3. Georgette Kinney and Kate McCormick, 85-87—172.
1. Carolyn Bersaw and Elizabeth Brady, 66-56—122.
1. Carol Burke and Maryellen Trumbull, 77-80—157. 2. Mary Harris and Bonnie Stewart, 83-80—163. 3. Linda Haskell and Linda Petrozzi, 83-83—166.
1. Liz Kay and Sarah Sullivan, 62-61—123.
1. Carol St. Onge and Joanne Warren, 80-81—161. 2. Debbie Perry and Kate Taylor, 86-87—173. 3. Jane Brown and Vicki Richardello, 87-91—178.
1. Regina Dubois and Laura Purcell, 64-61—125.
1. Donna Kinne and Sandy Turner, 88-86—174. 2. Kathy Nicoll and Lynn Wiles, 89-89—177. 3. Leslie Bennett and Mary Hurley, 89-89—178,
1. Linda Rainville and Maureen Mahar, 62-65—127.
1. Betty Chiffolo and Ann Hartranft, 89-90—179. 2. Marion Hyde and Nancy Walker, 89-93—182. 3. Marcia Massey and Chele Wilkins, 92-93—185.
1. Jane Langer and Betty Budz, 65-63—128.
1. Mary Caudill and Monica Fay, 85-90—175. 2. Kathy Brunell and Kathleen Millard, 98-89—187. 3. Joan Garvin and Karen Williams, 96-92—188.
1. Maryellen Rosenberry and Thirza Hyatt, 64-56—120.
Berkshire County Junior Series
At Wahconah Country Club
Monday, July 8
13-and-under age division
1. (tie) Owen Petropulos, Waubeeka GL, 96; Brady Digrigoli, Stockbridge GC, 96.
14-15 age division
1. Brenden Hayden, Berkshire Hills C.C., 81. 2. Nate Murphy, GEAA, 83. 3. (tie) Max DiGrigoli, CC of Pittsfield, 84; Max Shepardson, Greenock CC, 84.
1. Nathan Dos Santos, Links at Worthington, 79. 2. 2nd: Harrison Seeley, Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort, 89. Daniel Wilson, Wahconah CC, 98.
Berkshire County Senior Golf Association
Berkshire Hills Country Club
1. Eric Reimer, Stockbridge GC, 78. 2. Doug Reed, Links at Worthington, 78.
1. Jeff Caligari, CC of Pittsfield, 70. 2. Wally Fritz, Wahconah CC, 72.
1. Tom Doyle, Stockbridge GC, 86. 2. Mike Zaccaro, CC of Pittsfield, 89.
1. Don Senus, Berkshire Hills CC, 69. 2. Bob Baran, 70.
1. Joe Wilkinson, Wyantenuck CC, 91. 2. Frank Kelley, Wahconah CC, 94.
1. Tom Zappula, Wahconah CC, 69. 2. Ed Stiepleman, Wyantenuck CC, 71.
1. Gary Schieneman, Stockbridge GC, 91. 2. Sidney Myers, 94.
1. Ralph Friedner, Stockbridge GC, 69. 2. Dennis Moore, Wahconah CC, 74.
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