MARION, Mass. (July 17, 2008)--Youth will meet experience in the final of the 100th playing of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. Following two rounds of stroke play and four matches over a four-day period at The Kittansett Club, only two golfers remain in the hunt for the prestigious Commonwealth Cup.
Twenty-year veteran of this event John Hadges (North Easton – Thorny Lea GC) will face 21-year-old Matt Parziale (Brockton – Thorny Lea GC) in a 36-hole final match on Friday in Marion. That match will begin at 8:00 a.m. Following the first 18 holes, the two players will take a brief lunch break and then return to the course to complete the match.
The road to the final match reached a high point today as the quarterfinal and semifinal matches featured new and familiar faces.
Hadges was the first to secure his spot in the final as he continued his unrelenting play with sound victories over a fellow veteran and a newcomer. During the morning round, the 47-year-old from North Easton knocked off two-time champion of this event and nine-time Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year Frank Vana, Jr. (Boylston – Marlborough CC) by a score of 7 & 6.
On a day when Vana was not his usual self – he made bogey on eight of 12 holes – Hadges was solid as he methodically went about his business by posting 11 pars and only one bogey to close the door on Vana and advance to the semifinals.
He then took aim at Daniel Falcucci (Northboro – Cyprian Keyes GC), who is making his match play debut this year. After keeping pace with Hadges for most of the semifinal match, Falcucci saw his hopes for the title fade away as Hadges made critical pars down the stretch. With a 1-up lead through 11 holes, Hadges posted three straight pars on the 12th, 13th and 14th holes.
Falcucci could not keep step as he quickly found himself 4-down with four holes to go. Hadges capped off the match with a par on the 545-yard, par 5 15th hole to win by a score of 4 & 3.
If Hadges is victorious on Friday, he will become the first Massachusetts Amateur medalist (i.e. the player who posts the low score during the stroke play portion of the event) to win the title since James Driscoll accomplished that feat back in 1998 at Belmont Country Club.
Parziale, meanwhile, won the early battle of youngsters by posting a come-from-behind victory over Antonio Grillo (Vineyard Haven – Farm Neck GC), 1-up, in the quarterfinals. After giving up an early 1-up lead, Parziale found himself 2-down with four holes to go.
Parziale, the senior at Southeastern University who was the 2007 NCCAA National Player of the Year, battled back by posting two straight birdies – on the 545-yard, par 5th and 403-yard, par 4 16th holes – to square the match with two holes to go.
Grillo, the two-time Massachusetts Junior Champion who is off to Harvard University this fall, equaled Parziale’s par on the 17th hole but fell victim to a bogey on the 18th hole to see his chances of a victory go by the wayside.
During the afternoon hours, Parziale outlasted 42-year-old Kevin Quinn (Needham – Charles River CC), 4 & 3. Quinn, the last amateur to win the Massachusetts Open Championship (1999), could not repeat his performance from earlier in the day when he defeated Doug Clapp (Walpole – Old Sandwich GC), 3 & 1. Against Parziale, Quinn stayed within striking distance for most of the round… right up until Parziale went on a birdie run where he made birdie on the 11 th and 13th holes to build a 3 Up lead. He extended his lead and secured his spot in the final on the next hole where he made a par and Quinn posted a bogey. On the round, Parziale played 4-under par golf.
This year marks the first time since 1994 that two players from the same club will face off in the final match. The last pair to do that was Douglas Preston and Jim Ruschioni – both Oak Hill Country Club products – who battled it out at Charles River Country Club 14 years ago.
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