Sean Fitzpatrick, the 2017 Southeastern Amateur champion
(Wollaston and Patriot Ledger photos)
By Jay N. Miller, For The Patriot Ledger
MILTON, MA (October 9, 2017) – The majority of golfers in the front ranks of the 2017 Southeastern Amateur Championship struggled mightily during Sunday’s third round at Wollaston Golf Club in Milton, and some mid-day rains softened the greens and added to the difficulty factor.
Sean Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, had been among the quartet of golfers leading the tourney after its opening day, but he had fallen off the pace when a bad putting day at Thorny Lea left him five strokes off the pace entering Sunday’s round. Fitzpatrick showed up early Sunday morning and squeezed in some extra putting practice, and then went out and played consistently, if unspectacularly, en route to a 2-under 70, which he figured would move him up on the final leaderboard.
But with almost everyone else in the top 10 having their troubles, Fitzpatrick was among the most surprised people in the clubhouse to learn he had, in fact, won his first Roger Barry trophy as the 58th Southeastern Amateur Champion. Fitzpatrick beat Providence teenager Patrick Welch, who made his debut in this tournament simply because he needed a warmup for a big Junior Four Ball tourney next week in Virginia, by a single stroke, 216-217 in the final tally.
“I had no idea what the other scores were for the top guys,” said Fitzpatrick, who played in the next-to-last threesome, just ahead of second-round leader Herbie Aikens, and one-stroke-back Jason Cook. “I just tried to play my game, stay consistent, and until I came in, and someone in the clubhouse said I just might take it, I had no idea. Starting out five shots back today, my aim was to just try and move up a few spots.”
“Saturday was only my second time playing at Thorny Lea,” Fitzpatrick explained, “and I was guessing a lot. I really struggled on their greens, so I got here early today and spent a lot of time on the putting green. I was able to control the ball much better today and that made a big difference. I’m very familiar with the course here at Wollaston when it’s fast, but after the rain today, it was a little softer and slower. Knowing it was softer allowed you to be more aggressive. I putted well today, and the softer greens didn’t bother me. I made some very good putts for pars. Basically, I had two really good days, with one so-so day in the middle.”
Fitzpatrick is a regular player in the Southeastern Amateur every fall, and he estimated this was his 10th SEAM. He has also been close to the top spot before, and felt like an experience from 2014 helped him grow as a competitor.
“I know I have the ‘Long Drive’ trophy from 2007 at home, so that was probably my first Southeastern,” Fitzpatrick said, laughing. “I try to play in it every year and it is one of my favorites. Late-season golf, with a great field, makes it very special. Back in 2014, Michael Willock (of Cohasset Golf Club) and I were neck and neck down the final round, and I played well but he beat me on the 18th. I ended up third that year, but it was a good learning experience. From that I knew I just had to play steady today to have a chance.”
Fitzpatrick grew up in Dedham and now lives in Walpole. He is an account executive for an electronic security firm. He has been a member of George Wright Golf Club in Hyde Park since he started golfing.
View results for Southeastern Amateur
ABOUT THE Southeastern Amateur
Since its founding in 1960, the
Amateur Championship has grown to
one of the premier amateur golf
Massachusetts. Past champions include
Allen Doyle, holder of two US Senior Open
Championships and former PGA tour card
Dr. Bill Mallon, Dave Marad, David O'Kelly
Peter Teravanien. Dubbed the
of working men by tournament co-founder
Roger Barry, the players compete for MGA
Player of the Year points in this final
event of the season on the Massachusetts
The tournament is open to all amateur golfers,
those with handicaps of seven or less are given
preference, as are golfers affiliated with clubs or
courses in the southeastern Massachusetts area.
Competitors will be vying for the open title, which
earns the winner the Roger Barry Trophy, while
Seniors (age 55 and over) battle for the Dick
Lambert Cup, and Super Senior golfers (age 65
over) are competing for the Fordie Pitts Cup. In
addition, the club with the lowest team score wins
the Ray Bump Cup.
View Complete Tournament Information