The view from the 18th tee at Essex County Club (Mass G.A. photo)
The golf season is short up in New England, and four of the six states will host their state amateur championships during this week of July 10.
Earlier this summer, Rick Dowling won the Connecticut State Am for the third time, beating Cody Paladino in the final match at Country Club of Darien. In Vermont, Bryson Richards dominated the field in the four-round stroke play event, winning by five shots with a total of 9-under par.
The four remaining states have some big names and great venues in store for an action packed week.
Massachusetts State Amateur
Essex County Club (Manchester-by-the-sea, Mass.)
Essex CC is an incredible venue for any golf tournament. The Donald Ross design isn't long, but challenging greens, long fescue rough, uneven lies, and blind shots will certainly identify a worthy champion.
Molly Smith is the first female golfer to even qualify for the Mass Am. She will be heading to the University of Central Florida in the fall for her freshman year.
The last two years have been incredible events in Massachusetts. Michael Thorbjornsen beat Matt Parziale in the final in 2021 at Brae Burn. In 2023, Connor Willet inspired the golfing world when he won at Concord CC just a week after his father died suddenly.
Players to watch this year include the usuals like Matt Parziale and Frank Vana Jr., who won the most recent Mass. Am held at Essex CC in 2008. Vanderbilt's John Broderick has been playing some very good golf this summer after a freshman year of learning the ropes down in Nashville. Nick Macarrio makes his return to the Mass Am. after a few years away. The 2021 U.S. MidAm semi-finalist will hope to make some noise in his return.
Rhode Island State Amateur
Montaup CC (Portsmouth, RI)
Montaup CC has an interesting past. The course was initially an 18-hole course, but during World War 2, the back nine was used by the Navy to build Newport Naval Base. In 1966, the back nine returned. The course sits on Mt. Hope Bay, which provides wind that generates a lot of the challenge on the rather flat, open routing.
Last year, Kevin Blaser took home the Rhode Island state title in a great duel with Mike Hamilton that came down to the 36th hole. Blaser won both the 35th and 36th holes to flip a 1-down deficit to a 1-up victory. Blaser was also the Cape Cod Amateur champion in 2022 and was runner-up in the Mass Four Ball this spring with partner Ricky Stimets.
Maine State Amateur
Samoset Resort Golf Course (Rockport, Maine)
Competitors in the Maine Amateur are in for a treat this year at Samoset Resort. It's certainly the way life should be on the waterfront of Maine's rocky coast.
Maine has a very interesting pattern going among their state amateur winners. The last three winners defended their title the next year. Jack Wyman won in 2017 and 2018. Then Florida State standout Cole Anderson won in 2019 and 2020. Georgia Bulldog Caleb Manual did his thing in 2021 and 2022.
So can Caleb Manuel break the pattern and nab his third straight title? Cole Anderson will not be playing, but guys like John Hayes and Mike Arsenault Jr. seem to always be around the lead. Junior golfer Eli Spaulding should also be on everyone's radar.
New Hampshire State Amateur
Manchester CC (Bedford, NH)
Manchester CC is celebrating its 100th anniversary with the New Hampshire Amateur. MCC boasts that Donald Ross was actually on-site over the period the course was designed. Ross even played a part in selecting the land that the club used to build the course.
Brandon Gillis took home the 2022 title, beating Jim Cilley in the final. Gillis took down three former champs on his way to the title. Gillis should be a favorite again this year. He reached the final in 2021 and also recently set the scoring record in the Lowell City Championship with an 8-under par total over 54 holes.
ABOUT THE Massachusetts Amateur
Qualifying - 32 Holes at Stroke Play to determine
32 Qualifiers for Match Play. Entries are open to
amateur golfers who have an active MGA/GHIN
Handicap Index at any public, private, semi-private,
municipal or non-real estate MGA member course/club
not exceeding 4.4.
View Complete Tournament Information