EAST FALMOUTH, MA (September 21, 2016) -- When Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC) watched his tee shot on the fourth hole at the Golf Club of Cape Cod roll into the hole for a hole-in-one, he had a feeling that it was going to be a good day.
The reigning champion of the Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship took a critical step on Wednesday towards recapturing the title when he fired a second-round score of 4-under par 68 which catapulted him into the lead by five strokes heading into the final day of competition.
Parziale was one of 30 competitors who advanced to the third round. The starting field of 120 was trimmed to the low 30 scorers and ties following the first two rounds of play in East Falmouth.
“I have been pretty conservative off the tee here and that is something I decided going in,” said Parziale, who is 7-under par 137 through 36 holes. “I will probably stick to that. It is a tough driving course and fairways are key. I have been keeping it out of trouble and that is why I have had some success these first two rounds.”
Parziale entered the second round just one stroke off the lead following a score of 3-under par 69 on Tuesday. He made three pars on Wednesday afternoon before scoring a hole in one on the 4th hole that was playing to 166 yards and into the wind.
“I hit a really good shot there,” said Parziale, who hit a 6 iron off the tee. “I chipped it and it started right where I was aiming and drew a little bit. Those are always fun to make them, but there is a lot of golf after that.”
Sitting atop the leaderboard is nothing new for Parziale, who entered last year’s final round with a sizeable lead. He went on to set an event record for margin of victory (15 strokes) at Marlborough Country Club for what was his first individual MGA Championship victory.
“That was a special week,” said Parziale. “We have played a lot of golf since then, but it is definitely in the back of your mind.”
Interestingly, it was Parziale who made headlines one year ago when he made a similarly impressive shot during that competition – a double eagle on the 8th hole at Marlborough Country Club.
“I was thinking about that too,” said Parziale. “But it’s not the tournament. Those are lucky to go in, and it’s always fun when they do.”
Following that ace on Wednesday, Parziale made his first bogey of the tournament on the 536-yard, par 5 5th hole.
“I screwed up the next hole right after that,” said Parziale. “It was probably the worst wedge shot I hit all two days. It was a wedge and I pulled it from 110 yards. It was a tough up and down.”
Parziale, the 2014 Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year, quickly made up for that error by hitting it to two feet on the 150-yard, par 3 8th hole.
“For a second I thought that it was going right in,” said Parziale
He capped off his front nine by making a 15-foot birdie putt on the 390-yard, par 4 9th hole and then made eight straight pars heading into his final hole of the day.
With a gallery watching from above, Parziale found the green in two and then left his eagle attempt 12 feet short. He drew applause by sinking that putt for birdie and securing a day-low score of 4-under par 68.
And for a second straight year, Parziale will be paired on the final day with Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC), who is second at 2-under par 142.
Matt Vaughn (Wampatuck CC), Michael Pyne (Foxborough CC) and Tim Johnson (Poquoy Brook GC) are T3 at 1-under par 143.
First-round leader Billy Van Stratum (Dennis Pines GC) dropped to T9 following a day-two score of 5-over par 77.
View results for Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Golf Championship