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Maccario, Aikens set the pace at Massachusetts Mid-Am
Nick Maccario (David Colt/Mass Golf)
Nick Maccario (David Colt/Mass Golf)

There are 36 golfers advancing to the final round of the 36th Massachusetts Mid-Amateur Championship following the second round of the tournament Wednesday at Brae Burn Country Club. The cut to make the final was 10 over through 36 holes.

Nick Maccario and Herbie Aikens are in the final pairing, as they were the only two players to finish under par through 36 holes. Maccario, who set the course record of 64 on Tuesday, still leads all players at 7 under for the tournament. Aikens, who won the Mid-Amateur in 2014, surged into second place by shooting the day’s best round of 4 under, moving to 3 under overall.

Nick Maccario knew birdies would be much harder to come by Wednesday after sinking 10 of them en route to setting the Brae Burn course record of 64 in the first round.

“Yesterday, everything came easy, which usually means the Golf Gods will say, ‘The next day, it’s going to be hard,'” Maccario said. “It was a tough day, and I kind of fought for everything.”

Maccario, who played in the U.S. Amateur this year, went without a birdie and was 1-over through his first nine holes Wednesday. He finally got one after hitting a nine iron to about five feet on the third hole. He added another birdie on the fifth hole, made a clutch five-foot putt on the eighth hole to avoid consecutive bogeys and finished at 1-over for the round and 7-under overall.

“My putting has been the best it’s ever been the last two days,” Maccario said. “I’ve probably relied on it more than I should have, but it’s been good.”

Maccario won the 2019 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship with Mike Calef (Pine Oaks GC) in May and now is in position for another victory.

“If I could get an individual title, too, that’d be awesome,” Maccario said.

Aikens shot 1-over in the first round, but he got off to a fast start by making birdie on two of his first three holes Wednesday. He added another on the par-4 ninth, hitting his driver to the middle of the hill, chipping to about 10-to-15 feet and sinking the birdie putt. He only had one bogey his entire round.

“I spent a little bit more time on the putting green this morning,” said Aikens, who played in the U.S. Mid-Amateur last month. “I think it helped me get a little more confidence with the speed, and I just made a couple more.”

Aikens said he’s looking forward to playing with Maccario in the final.

“He’s a really good player, so I don’t anticipate him given much back, if any at all,” Aikens said. “So, I’m just going to go and play golf tomorrow, try and make some more birdies, and if I can play a little bit better than I did today, then that’d be great and maybe I got a chance. If not, then most likely tip my hat to him.”

Shuvam Bhaumik entered Wednesday in second place with a 3-under 69. Despite following up with seven bogeys for a 6-over-par 78 in the second round, he still finished tied for third overall at 3-over.

Bhaumik couldn’t get his short game going in the morning wave, one day after finishing with three birdies and no bogies. He finished out Wednesday’s round with a bogey on every odd-numbered hole on the front nine. He said firmer greens and tight pins made for a much more difficult course compared to Tuesday.

“I didn’t feel comfortable over my reads and my putts today,” Bhaumik said. “I didn’t see it like I did yesterday. It was grind today for sure.”

Ryan Riley followed up a first-round 73 with a 74 on Wednesday and will tee off with Bhaumik in the final round.

Defending champion Frank Vana, Jr., who has won the tournament 10 times, is tied for ninth with six players at 6-over.

Jeffrey Supko and Sean Deale lead Brae Burn’s entries as each are 6-over par for the tournament.

ABOUT THE Massachusetts Mid-Amateur

Entries are open to amateur golfers who have reached their 25th birthday by the first day of the tournament, who hold membership in an MGA member club and have an up-to-date MGA/USGA GHIN Handicap Index not exceeding 5.4, or who have completed their handicap certification as defined on the Entry Form. Competition will be in two (2) stages at Stroke Play: 18 hole qualifier; Championship Proper - 54 Holes.

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