Mass State Am: Quarters set

MARION, Mass. (July 16, 2008)--The first day of match play at the 100th Massachusetts Amateur Championship has come to an end and eight golfers have earned a spot in Thursday's quarterfinals. This year's prestigious event which features two days of stroke play and three days of match play is being held at The Kittansett Club in Marion.

Stroke play medalist John Hadges (North Easton – Thorny Lea GC) broke his string of match play losses today with two victories. Over the course of his two-decade golf career, Hadges has earned medalist honors at this event five times – 1981, 1987, 1988, 2005, 2008 – yet he had never been able to proceed past the Round of 32 in Match Play.

That all changed today when he first knocked off Ken Gys (Dracut –Mount Pleasant GC) by a score of 2 & 1 during the morning round and then pulled out a challenging 20 Holes victory against Brian Higgins(Bellingham – Franklin CC).

Two-time champion of this event, Frank Vana, Jr. (Boylston – Marlborough CC) will face Hadges on Thursday morning after defeating Jack Kearney (Peachtree City, GA – Elmcrest CC) in 19 Holes. Vana came back from a 3 Down deficit in that match to earn his sixth consecutive quarterfinal berth. He captured this title in 2004 and 2005.

The day's second match will feature reigning Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Champion Philip Smith (Tyngsboro – Vesper CC) and Daniel Falcucci (Northboro – Cyprian Keyes GC), who is making his match play debut this year. Smith cruised through his Round of 16 match against Mike Slosek (Adams – Wahconah CC) by a score of 6 & 5. After taking advantage of several Slosek bogies on the front nine, Smith closed out his match with a birdie and par finish on the 12th and 13th holes, respectively. Earlier in the day, Smith came from behind to defeat 19-year-old Brandon Parker (Auburn – Pleasant Valley CC), 2 Up.

Falcucci, meanwhile, found himself down for the better part of his afternoon match against Bobby Loguidice (Springfield – Franconia GC) . It wasn't until the 15 th hole when he took his first lead of the day with an eagle on the 545-yard, par 5 hole. Although Loguidice countered with a birdie on the 16 th hole, Falcucci came through with a birdie-par finish to close out the match, 1 Up

Two-time Massachusetts Junior Champion Antonio Grillo (Vineyard Haven – Farm Neck GC) will make his quarterfinal debut after knocking off 2005 Massachusetts Public Links Champion Phil Miceli (Bradford – Sagamore Spring GC), 4 & 3. Grillo will face Matt Parziale (Brockton – Thorny Lea GC), who defeated 2006 Champion Ben Spitz (Norwell – The Harmon Club), 3 & 1. Parziale is making his second match play appearance. In 2005, he advanced to the Round of 16 where he was defeated by eventual champion Vana.

The final quarterfinal match will feature two outstanding mid-amateur players in Doug Clapp (Walpole – Old Sandwich GC) and Kevin Quinn (Needham – Charles River CC). Clapp was a 4 & 2 victor over Scott Congdon (Foxborough – Foxborough CC). Through 16 holes, Clapp played superb golf as he posted one bogey, one birdie and 14 pars to advance to the next stage of match play. He will take on Quinn, who saw his 4 Up lead on Taylor Fontaine (Southbridge – Pleasant Valley CC) dwindle to All Square by the 18th hole. He managed to salvage the win with a key par on the 19th hole.

-Stroke play medalist Hadges enjoyed a strong start by defeating Gys by a score of 2 & 1. Although Hadges posted only one birdie, he made 10 critical pars to seal his spot in the Round of 16.

-Clapp knocked off past champion Steve Tasho (North Easton – Thorny Lea GC) by a score of 7 & 5. Clapp, who capped off the stroke play portion of the event in style with a 1-under par 69 on Tuesday afternoon, continued his strong play and closed out his match against Tasho – the 1981 and 1985 champion of this event – with a birdie on the 375-yard, par 4 13th hole.

-Falcucci used his momentum from a tournament low round of 2-under par 68 on Tuesday to propel him to a decisive 6 & 5 win over Doug Crawford (Wayland –Stow Acres). Falcucci made three birdies and only one bogey before closing the match out on the 13th hole.

-Vana posted a memorable 2 & 1 victory over John Gilmartin (Andover – Indian Ridge CC). After Gilmartin broke out to a 3 Up lead through 10 holes, Vana sunk a critical bogey putt on the 11th hole to draw within two. He then proceeded to register three birdies, one eagle and one par to snatch a 2 Up victory on the 17th hole. --Courtesy MGA

ABOUT THE Massachusetts Amateur

Qualifying - 18 Holes at Stroke Play to determine 32 Qualifiers for Match Play. Entries are open to amateur golfers who have an active MGA/GHIN Handicap Index at any public, private, semi-private, municipal or non-real estate MGA member course/club not exceeding 4.4.

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