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Strong field ready for Hornblower Invitational
03 Jun 2016
by Sam Dostaler of amateurgolf.com

see also: Hornblower Memorial Invitational Golf Tournament, Plymouth Country Club

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For the 52nd time Plymouth CC hosts the Hornblower Invitational <br>(Hornblower Invitational Photo)</br>
For the 52nd time Plymouth CC hosts the Hornblower Invitational
(Hornblower Invitational Photo)
Dates: June 3-4
Location: Plymouth Country Club (Plymouth, MA)
Defending Champion: Nick McLaughlin (-1)- not in field this year

PLYMOUTH, MA (June 2, 2016) -- The 52nd Hornblower Memorial will be the first northeast flagship amateur event contested this season with Plymouth Country Club serving as the host. Over the years 10 winners of the 36-hole event have gone onto play on the PGA Tour.

Past Winners to Play on PGA Tour: Bill Mallon (1972, 1974), Bill Buttner (1975, 1977), Peter Teravainen (1979), Geof Sisk (1988), James Driscoll (1994, 1999), Steve Jamroz (1995), Justin Peters (1998), Jason Grant (2000), Justin Goodhue (2003), Matt Ziale (2007)

Each year 65% of the 156 man field is filled by invitation, while the remaining slots are comprised of those who have applied and have a GHIN index of 3.0 or lower. The field is cut to 70 players following the completion of the first round.

“A lot of (our recruiting) is done by Dave Adamonis,” said tournament director Mike Ellis of the yearly process. "With that said a lot of the recruiting is done by word of mouth. I talk to college players (throughout the year) and then always ask them about the rest of their teammates. The players are starting to learn that part of the field is open (to applicants) so now we are getting a lot of kids starting to apply.”

The recruiting process this year has produced another impressive field. Here is a look at some of the players to watch over the weekend:

Herbie Aikens: One of the top mid- amateur players in Massachusetts, Aikens has won two Massachusetts Mid-Amateur titles (2013, 2014). The Kingston, MA resident has also finished second at the 2015 Stocker Cup and twice finished inside the top-five at the New England Amateur.

Jack Kearney: Currently the 64th ranked senior in the country, Kearney will make his way from Peachtree City, GA to compete in the 2016 Hornblower Invitational. Kearney has finished tied for sixth at the Jones Cup Senior and tied for 16th at the Society of Seniors Spring Classic so far this year.

Matt Parziale: Coming off an impressive 2015 Parziale, a firefighter in Brockton, MA, will look to make a run this weekend. Parziale, a former mini tour player, was a medalist at last year's U.S. Mid-Amateur while also finishing third in U.S. Open Local Qualifying.

Frank Vana: The Boylston, MA resident is one of the best amateur players in the history of Massachusetts golf. Over the course of his long career Vana has won better than 30 MGA events.

Hunter O’Mahoney: Less than a month after completing his senior season at Nova Southeastern, O'Mahoney will tee it up at Plymouth Country Club. O'Mahoney was a 2014 PING Honorable Mention All- American.

TJ McNulty: Tournament director Mike Ellis highlighted McNulty as a sleeper pick. McNulty, from Scituate, MA recently concluded his playing career at St. Joseph's and has steadily climbed up the Hornblower Invitational leaderboard the last four years.

The field also includes a group of returning champions, including Steve Tasho (three-time champion), John Hadges (two-time champion), Bobby Leopold (two-time champion) and Larry Rentz.

The Hornblower Memorial is currently experiencing a second coming in a sense. In 1932 Plymouth Country Club member Henry Hornblower, maybe the clubs most prominent member ever, began the event in the hopes of bringing together the best amateur players from New England in an effort to spread the game. Each year the contestants would compete for the Hornblower Trophy.

Over the course of the next half-decade the tournament grew in fame and size. Unfortunately, the ill-timed death of Hornblower and the onset of World War II ended the event. That is until 1962 when the trophy was discovered on an old shelf in the clubhouse covered in years of dust. After discovering the trophy interest in the history of the event grew and before long the tournament was back in full force.

A group of four led by Skeet Ellis (father of current tournament director Mike Ellis), club pro Gerry Goodwin, Reno Zammarchi and Hank Ingram brought the event back initially as a member only event. However, in 1965 with Ellis in the lead the committee convinced the club board to once more make it a public event in honor of the Hornblower legacy.

Each year the players battle it out on the 1910 par- 69 Donald Ross layout that can be stretched to 6,228 yards. The course is a New England style course through and through with holes on the shorter side but greens that have enough bite to leave players shaking their heads as they head to the next tee box. On a yearly basis the greens that seem to have the sharpest teeth are the seventh and eighth.

“I remember there was one year when my dad was still involved (in the tournament) and he was setting the pins,” said Ellis. "The 7th green has almost a Y shape with a little plateau in the back, which is the center of the Y with a left side and ride side and then a crest in the middle. Well he put the pin in the place were the Y meets and when I was watching that day I saw a guy six putt it. I saw a guy who was on in two and ended up making an 11.“

In addition to the difficult 7th the shorter par-3 8th has given players headaches over the years. However as Ellis says, “they all sweat it out until they get by there and then you can see them relax a bit and get back to playing golf a bit.”

The future of the event is bright as the committee is attempting to extend the event to three days, a process that will take some time. They are also attempting to get the event nationally ranked which would mean that national points could be allotted to the players.

“Our goal is to start competing with the Northeast Amateur,” says Ellis of the tournaments plans. “I’ve talked to the Massachusetts Golf Association and we have strong support, they have always been a great asset to us.”

Until that happens the Hornblower Memorial is very happy with its position as one of the flagship events of northeast amateur golf. This year as always the field will be strong and the competition fierce when the tournament gets underway on Friday.

ABOUT THE Hornblower Memorial Invitational

Long running amateur invitational tournament named for Plymouth Country Club "Benefactor" Henry Hornblower who collaborated with the now defunct Pilgrim Hotel to create what is now Plymouth Country Club.

To create a resort complex, the hotel ceded enough land for 3 holes, Hornblower contributed enough for 6 more holes and Plymouth Country Club's first 9 hole course came to life. A brilliant investment advisor (founded Hornblower & Weeks, a leading investment firm in Boston) he not only drove his firm and his country club through the expansion in the 1920s, but even guided both through the perils of the Great Depression that followed. (More history is available on the tournament website.)

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