Quarterfinals ready at Rhode Island Amateur
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The list reads like a
Who’s Who of Rhode Island golf: Hall of Famers
George Pirie and Paul Quigley, defending
champion Bobby Leopold, four-time champ Brad
Valois and two-time Junior champion Patrick
Welch. Compile a top 10 of the best players in
the state and every one of them not only would
be on it, they would be high on it.
But not on Wednesday. They all suffered the
same fate as the first two rounds of match play
in the 110th Amateur were completed at
They all lost.
In one of the most memorable days in
tournament history, the story was not so much
which players survived and moved into
Thursday’s quarterfinals, as who was beaten. It
was a dramatic display of the vicissitudes of
Some of the big names did survive. Two former
champions advanced, Tom McCormick and
Charlie Blanchard. McCormick provided one of
the day’s biggest shockers, ousting defending
champion Leopold in 19 holes in the first round
and then holding off Leopold’s brother-in-law
Tyler Cooke, 1-up, in a battle of former hockey
West Warwick’s Rob Grossguth, a former finalist,
also survived the upset barrage and earned a
berth in the quarterfinals opposite Blanchard. So
did Mid-Am champion Jamie Lukowicz, who
provided a dramatic end to the day’s activities.
Lukowicz rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt on the
18th hole just as skies were darkening and rain
beginning to fall. The putt edged long-hitting
newcomer Josh Cameron, a former pro who
lives in Connecticut and plays out of Meadow
The others moving on were Montaup’s Kevin
Silva, Meadow Brook’s John Jackopsic, last
year’s Burke Memorial champion, URI senior
Seamus Fennelly and teenager Jeffrey Giguere
of Wannamoisett and the Wheeler School.
Matches were tight throughout. McCormick had
two dramastic battles in eliminating the Cooke
family. He and Leopold, who is married to
Tyler’s sister, Taylor, went 19 holes. Both
players had 2-hole leads at one point.
McCormick went 1-up when he won 17, Leopold
birdied 18 when he stuck his approach within
two feet. That forced extra holes and McCormick
won it with a bird on the 19th, the par-4 first
In the afternoon, McCormick and Cooke were
never more than one hole apart. They were tied
through 16. McCormick took his first lead since
the sixth hole with a par on 17. When Cooke
missed the green on the par-4 18th with his
approach, it looked as McCormick was home
free. But Cooke drained a 30-foot par saver to
stay alive. McCormick had to make a four-footer
for his par to win, and he did it.
On a day of outstanding matches, Silva and
Welch had perhaps the best duel of the day. The
stat that proved that: There was not a single
bogey by either play in the entire match. Silva is
a 31-year-old former pro who joined Montaup
after being reinstated as an amateur two years
ago. He came away thoroughly impressed with
the 15-year-old medalist.
"He’s a phenomenal talent. He’s ahead of where
I was at that age," Silva said of Welch, who was
2-under par in the match. That was not enough,
though, since Silva ran off five birds and 11 pars
to win, 3 and 2.
"I played very well. It was one of those days I
felt in rhythm," he said. "My rhythm stayed true
the whole day. I was able to make some putts
on this second 18."
Jackopsic, who plays for Boston College, was 1-
down to URI’s Makenzie Denver through 16, but
finished birdie-birdie to win.
Giguere, the youngest survivor at 17 (he is a
senior at the Wheeler) fell 3-down to Ryan
Pelletier before running off consecutive birdies
at 9, 10 and 11. He also won 12 with a par.
Pelletier responded with birds to win 13 and 25.
Still another bird, at 17, was the deciding point
Blanchard, the Bryant University golf coach
came on late to top Jeff Maher in the first round,
3 and 2, then put on his best display yet in
beating 16-year-old Davis Chatfield, a fellow
Wannamoisett member, 5 and 3 in the second
"I played great this afternoon," he related. "I
had 32 on the front and missed a short one I
should have had."
Grossguth, a finalist two years ago, piled up
"I made three birdies and a conceded eagle on
the front nine this morning (against Fletcher
Babock) then made four birds on the front this
afternoon (in a 3-and-2 decision over Bruce
Heterick)," Grossguth said. "These greens are
unbelievable. I made three real bombs."
Morning upsets include Valois falling to Giguere,
1 up. Valois was 2-up through 13 before Giguere
won 14, 16 and 17 to pull ahead. When both
parred 18, Valois was eliminated.
Quigley was even with Lukowicz through 14 in
the first round. Lukowicz won 15 and 16 and
halved 17 for the 2-and-1 decision. Pirie lost the
first two holes to Meadow Brook’s Jackopsic and
several times drew back within one, the last
time by winning the 13th.
Jackopsic won 14 and 15 to go 3 up. Pirie won
16 to stay alive, but when 17 was halved
Jackopsic had the 2-and-1 victory.
View results for Rhode Island Amateur Golf Championship