GREAT BARRINGTON, MA (July 12, 2011) — The thunderstorms stayed away, but wind gusts reaching 24 miles per hour greeted the field of 144 amateurs during the second round of the 103rd Massachusetts Amateur Championship being held this week at Wyantenuck Country Club.
In the end, only 32 competitors survived and will play another day. This year's cut line fell at 7-over par 147 with the final two spots being decided in an exciting three-for-two sudden-death playoff on Tuesday evening.
The first two rounds of match play - Round of 32 and Round of 16 - will be contested on Wednesday in Great Barrington. The quarterfinals and semifinals will take place on Thursday with the finale coming on Friday when the last two competitors standing will compete in a 36-hole final match.
On Tuesday afternoon, Wyantenuck Country Club was buzzing with a handful of competitors wondering if they made the cut and others trying to figure out who they might play on Wednesday morning.
"Everyone is starting to get comfortable with the course," said Colin Brennan (Indian Ridge CC), this year's medalist with a two-day score of 6-under par 134. "It was windy out there but the greens were perfect. They are fast, but you can still be aggressive because they are the perfect speed for making putts."
Brennan is an expert on that topic. After all, he carded a tournament-low score of 4-under par 66 this afternoon. The incredible round featured three birdies, one bogey and a memorable tap-in eagle on the 324-yard, par 4 10th hole. Through two rounds, Brennan had seven birdies and one eagle.
"I drove the ball well and was never in trouble off the tee," said Brennan. "I hit a lot of greens and tried to make it as stress free as possible and got a few lucky breaks."
This marks the first real competitive tournament for Brennan this season, who advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2010 Massachusetts Amateur Championship.
"Match play is a lot of fun," said Brennan. "Unfortunately, seeds don't mean anything. I still need to drive the ball well and make putts. No matter what happens it will be fun."
Brennan is one of a handful of familiar names who survived the first test at the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. Included in that list are a few past champions - Andy Drohen (Crestview CC), John Hadges (Thorny Lea GC) and Frank Vana, Jr. (Marlborough CC) - as well as the two-time and reigning Richard D. Haskell MGA Player of the Year Brian Higgins (Franklin CC). Higgins posted a 1-under par 139 this afternoon to secure his spot.
"I hit the ball a lot better today than yesterday," said Higgins. "I felt like my normal self except for a few putts. Other than that, it was a good day."
Although his best finish at this event was second back in 2002, Higgins advanced to the quarterfinals one year ago at Myopia Hunt Club and is looking to capture this title for the first time in his career.
"I am going to try and play the course and not the opponent," said Higgins, the 2010 New England Amateur Champion. "I will try and make as many birdies as I can, because you can be more aggressive in match play."
Another competitor who is excited about match play is Drohen, the 2003 winner of this event who is making a triumphant return to tournament golf after undergoing shoulder and elbow surgery in 2010.
"I like to play aggressive and throw it at the pins, and in match play you can do that and it's just one hole." said Drohen.
View results for Massachusetts Amateur Golf Championship