Mass State Am: 32 are left

MARION, Mass. (July 15, 2008)--Following two days of stroke play at The Kittansett Club, the 100th Massachusetts Amateur Championship field has been reduced from 144 to only 32 players. Those 32 low scorers from the first two rounds have earned the right to compete in the Match Play portion of the event, which begins on Wednesday morning.

The first match will commence at 7:30 a.m. with all matches to follow at nine-minute intervals. Winners from the Round of 32 will continue on to the Round of 16 which will take place during the afternoon hours. The quarterfinal and semifinal matches are scheduled for Thursday, while the 36-hole final match will be contested on Friday. This year's cut line fell at 11-over par 151 with 32 players hitting that mark or lower… no playoff was required.

In the battle for medalist honors, it was John Hadges (North Easton – Thorny Lea GC) who claimed that title for the fifth time in his career. The 47-year-old from North Easton has now been the medalist at the Massachusetts Amateur Championship in 1981, 1987, 1988, 2005 and 2008. Hadges, who finished with a two-day total of 2-over par 142, is hoping to become the first medalist to win the title since James Driscoll, current PGA Tour player, achieved the same feat back in 1998 at Belmont Country Club.

On this day, Hadges – who was the low scorer on Monday with an even par 70 – continued to meticulously manage the challenging Marion layout. Following a rough start in which he made three bogies and zero birdies on the back nine of the course – his first nine holes – he quickly found his momentum on the front nine. He posted eight pars and one birdie to cap off his 2-over par 72 round.

The round of the day – a 2-under par 68 – was posted during the morning hours by Daniel Falcucci (Northboro – Cyprian Keyes GC), who finished fourth overall with a two-day total of 5-over par 145. With the winds in Marion staying eerily calm, Falcucci took quick advantage as he made three birdies and one bogey on his front nine to make the turn at 2-under par 33. He maintained his composure down the stretch by posting two birdies to offset two bogies through his final nine holes to secure his spot in Match Play. His 2-under par 68 represented the low score of the tournament.

One notable name missing from the Round of 32 field is defending champion Burgess Houston (Wellesley – New England CC), who finished just under the cut line at 12-over par 152. Houston, who finished as runner up in 2006 before capturing the title in 2007, rebounded well with a 2-over par 72 today but it was simply not enough to continue his hopes for his second straight title. Also absent from the list is Mike Calef (South Boston – Brockton CC), who captured low amateur honors at the 2008 Massachusetts Open Championship. Calef finished with a score of 14-over par 154.

Out of the six past champions who competed this year, only three took the next step towards another title – Steven Tasho (North Easton - Thorny Lea GC), Frank Vana, Jr. (Boylston – Marlborough CC) and Ben Spitz (Norwell – The Harmon Club). Houston, Flynt Lincoln (Somers, CT - Longmeadow CC) and Andy Drohen (Granville - St. Anne CC) failed to make the cut.

--Courtesy MGA

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