Canton, Mass. (Sept. 16, 2014) — The starting field of 106 competitors at the 2014 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship was trimmed to just 31 following the second round of play at Blue Hill Country Club.
Only those 31 competitors will return on Wednesday to compete in a third and final round of play. This year’s cut line fell at 8-over par 152.
And for the second straight day, the name of Herbie Aikens (Pinehills GC) sits atop the leaderboard. The only difference from day one is that he is now the lone competitor in first place overall.
Only two other players – Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) and John Hadges (Thorny Lea GC) – are also under par through two rounds. Parziale is six shots back of Aikens at 2-under par 142, while Hadges stands in fourth place at 1-under par 143.
For Aikens, today represented a critical step towards his journey of capturing a second straight MGA Championship title. Just one month ago, he captured his first career individual title at the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship.
Aikens continued his positive momentum by posting a tournament-low score of 5-under on Monday. On this day, however, Aikens made bogey on his second hole of the day but somehow managed to piece together a solid round of 3-under par 69.
“It got me again,” said Aikens of that 533-yard, par 5 12th hole. “I tried to go for it in two and hit it a little right and it spit out. Then I hit it to the front of the green and three putted again. I was a little bummed out, but I got it right back with a birdie on the next hole to get it back to even par and then birdied 18 to make the turn at 1-under.”
Despite entering the hardest stretch of holes on the course – holes 1 through 4 – Aikens found his rhythm and played 3-under par golf through his next nine holes. He hit a perfect 7-iron approach to three feet on the 432-yard, par 4 3rd hole and then added birdies on the 6th and 9th holes. He even had a makeable birdie putt from four feet that he just missed on the 123-yard, par 3 7th hole.
“To be honest it was kind of a sloppy round all day,” said Aikens. “I managed to make it work when I had opportunities.”
He would have had a four-stroke lead had he not made bogey on his final hole of the day – the 410-yard, par 4 10th hole which is playing as the hardest hole this week.
“Mentally I had it in my mind that the round was over on 9 and I forgot about 10 which is a really hard hole,” said Aikens. “I was a little disappointed to make bogey to end, but considering that I didn’t feel like I played great, I held the round together and kept it moving in the right direction.”
One month ago, he entered the final round of the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship one stroke back of the lead. This time around, he has a three-stroke cushion but he knows that anything can happen on day three.
“Tomorrow I hope I can play better, score a lot better and be lucky enough to win,” said Aikens. “But I have some work to do tomorrow. There are so many good players out there.”
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