Matt Organisak (L) will face Nick Maccario for the title at Kittansett (Mass Golf photo)
A pair of 2019 Mass Golf Championship winners both have a chance to win their first Massachusetts Amateur title Friday.
Manchester’s Nick Maccario (Bradford Country Club), the 2019 Mass Mid-Amateur champion, and Sudbury’s Matthew Organisak (Nashawtuc Country Club), the 2019 Ouimet Memorial Tournament champion, have survived two days of stroke play and two days of match play. Now they will compete for the 112th Massachusetts Amateur title in the 36-hole final match, which begins at 8 a.m. Friday at The Kittansett Club.
On a bright and breezy day at The Kittansett Club, both men rallied back to win their quarterfinal matches and played 18 more holes to decide who would advance to the finals. Maccario defeated stroke-play co-medalist Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea), of Brockton, and Organisak took down Amesbury’s Chris Francoeur (Amesbury G&CC), also co-medalist.
Coincidentally, it’s also the first time in the past decade that two players in the same stroke play group made the finals together.
Match 29: 4-Matthew Organisak def. 1-Chris Francouer (Amesbury G&CC), 1-up
No matter the situation, Matthew Organisak’s strategy throughout the Massachusetts Amateur has been the same.
“Just keep the ball in front of you,” Organisak said. “If you keep the ball in front of you, don’t make any mistakes, then as long as you play OK, things will go alright.”
Though Organisak, a left-handed golfer, saw his 3-up lead evaporate after Francouer won holes 15, 16 and 17 with an eagle, birdie and par, he hit his next tee shot in the middle off the fairway.
Francouer didn’t. His tee shot got swept up by the wind blowing from left to right, and he lost it in the trees and had to play his provisional ball from the fairway. Organisak hit his next shot about 20 feet above the pin, and after Francoeur missed his fifth shot, a long putt from the back of the green, he took off his hat and conceded the match.
“I just tried to do what I could to keep it from cutting too much,” Francoeur said of his shot on the 18th. “Even the second one, I thought I hit a hard draw into the wind and it still cut into the right rough so it’s just a tough wind and the wrong time to make a bad swing.”
With the match tied through 10, Organisak capitalized on three Francoeur bogeys. Francoeur hit his tee shot into the bunker on the 13th and missed the green on the par-3 14th to drop both holes. But then he rallied, riffling his tee shot down the middle on the 15th, getting on in two and making the 18-foot eagle putt. Perhaps his best shot came on 16, when his approach shot into the wind hit perfectly behind the pin a rolled back to above three feet.
Both drives were in the right rough on the 17th, and their second shots were behind the green. However, Francouer chipped about 2 feet to the hole, while Organisak’s was well short, and he missed his par putt.
Just like the wind often does at Kittansett, his luck turned quickly as he hit found his way to 18 and didn’t even have to attempt his eagle putt to win it.
“I was very pleased with how I hit the two golf shots on 18 and how I had a good shot to win it there,” Organisak said.
And after already playing 36 holes of stroke play with Maccario, the two will meet for what could be another 36 holes Friday. Only this time the stakes are much higher.
“We had a blast the three of us,” Organisak said. “I’m looking forward to it, hoping we can hit some good golf shots.”
Match 30: 14-Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) def. 2-Matt Parziale (Thorny Lea GC), 1-up
Nick Maccario’s path to his first Mass Amateur championship final has been far from easy this year. He had to knock off defending champion Steven DiLisio (Salem CC) in the Round of 16 and Benjamin Spitz (George Wright GC) in the quarterfinals. He then saved his best for last by knocking off 2017 champion Matt Parziale, overcoming an early three-hole deficit.
It’s certainly not easy to carry yourself this far into the championship.
“My feet are killing me,” Maccario said after his victory. “So tiring, but it was awesome. Mackenzie (Murphy) who’s on the bag, she was awesome. It was a battle every single one, but honestly, I put enough pressure on that I always had to keep my focus because these guys today.”
Maccario was the one under pressure early, falling behind by three strokes to Parziale. But things changed when he won the eighth and ninth to make it 1-up.
“It was nice to get that one back get one on nine, and then get into the back nine only one down, I kind of told myself if I could be on the last three holes pretty much even that’d be a good goal to set.”
He then took the lead on the 16th by making birdie into the wind. On the 18th, Parziale’s second shot landed off the green to the left, but he pitched on within a few feet, and Parziale missed his putt to end it.
Though he couldn’t make the finals like 2008 at Kittansett, Parziale said he’s excited for future events, including the 2020 U.S. Amateur, which begins August 10 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
“I played well all week,” Parziale said. “I’m looking forward to getting out there, and we got some more stuff before that comes.”
As for playing Organisak, Maccario expects it to just come down to ball placement once again.
“His game was super impressive during stroke play,” Maccario said. “Tomorrow is going to be more of the same, just a grind.”