MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Playing in mid 90-degree heat and on some of the fastest greens in the state, Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) made sure he played efficient golf during the first round of the 2015 Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship, which is being held this week at Marlborough Country Club.
He did just that by scoring a double eagle from 258 yards out on the 533-yard, par 5 8th hole to punctuate his first-round score of 4-under par 67. He currently holds a four-shot lead over the talented field of mid-amateurs who are all over the age of 25.
“It was into the wind so I knew that I had to hit it hard and I hit a good one,” said Parziale, who is 28 years old. “I didn’t see it go in. I knew it was pretty much right at it but I didn’t know until I got up there.”
After making the turn at 1-under par and with the sun bearing down on the players as they made their way around the 6,412-yard layout in Marlborough, Parziale was keeping his round together as he addressed the ball on that 8th hole. He was hoping to land it close, but he got much more than that.
“This place is tough,” said Paraziale, the reigning Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year. “Obviously it helps getting the two there.”
Although there is no definitive data on the odds of scoring what is known in golf circles as an “albatross”, some say that the odds of doing what Parziale did today are 1 million to 1. Incredibly, this marks the second such double eagle for the 28-year-old firefighter from Brockton.
“In 2010 I was playing at Mid Pines (Golf Course in North Carolina) with Greg Chalas because his parents lived down there,” explained Parziale. “I bogeyed the first two holes and but went bogey, par, birdie, eagle, double eagle right in a row. It was crazy, so that was a better story than this one.”
While that one strike during competitive play at Marlborough will be remembered for some time, Parziale’s consistency and solid putting throughout the rest of his round contributed to his strong start in what is a 54-hole championship over three days.
In addition to his “2” on the par-5 8th hole, Parziale made a 25 footer for birdie on the 16th hole and then an 8-foot birdie putt on the 3rd hole
“I made a lot of good par putts today,” said Parziale. “It is tough to chip it close and to hit the long putts close, but I putted really well especially the short ones. It is always good to get a good start. You don’t want to shoot yourself out of it on the first day, so hopefully I set myself up to have a good chance.”
Parziale, the only player in the 117-player field who was under par on Tuesday, stands four strokes ahead of David St. Clair (Brae Burn CC) and five strokes better than Jesse Morgan (Amherst CC), Ned Chaney (Butter Brook GC), Alex Jeffers (Woodland GC) and John Hadges (Thorny Lea GC).
Following Wednesday’s second round of 18 hole stroke play, the field will be reduced to the low 30 scorers and ties or anyone within 5 strokes of the leader. Only those competitors will continue play on September 10.
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