Hunter Thomson opens up strong at the Northeast Amateur
Hunter Thomson (Back of the Range Photo)
Hunter Thomson (Back of the Range Photo)

Hunter Thomson checked a lot of boxes during Round 1 of the 62nd Northeast Amateur Wednesday at Wannamoisett Country Club.

Medalist: Check.

Hole-in-one: Check.

Northeast Amateur debut: Check.

Quickly becoming a fan favorite: Check.

Quote of the day: Check.

It was an interesting day for Thomson, 20, out of the University of Michigan. It began a bit sideways – literally – but he finished strong and finished 6-under 63 and the leader after the first day. It helped that he carded an ace on No. 3, which is considered one of the best par 3s on any Donald Ross course. Fans enjoyed the performance and he’s thrilled with Wannamoisett.

Still, he understands there’s plenty of golf to be played.

“I got off to a really bad start. I was all over the place on the first two holes – bogey, bogey,” admitted Thomson. “If you told me I would shoot 63 I would’ve said, ‘you’re crazy.’ I fought it out, grinded really hard, the wind picked up a little bit and I always kept my foot on the gas. I was lucky to see it go in from 146 (yards) on the third hole, so that was really good.”

He explained he recorded two aces when he was younger and the adrenaline rush was so intense it messed up the remainder of his rounds, so this time he attempted to show no reaction and move onto his next shot.

“I just tried to stay as level as I could, stay patient, try to hit good shots and 63,” he said.

The pin was back left and the wind was blowing left to right. During both practice rounds, Thomson attempted to punch a 9-iron into the middle of the green, so he had the same swing thought Wednesday.

“Luckily it landed in the right spot, good kick and went in,” he said. “It was great.”

Thomson, a native of Calgary, was pumped to see fellow Canadian, Garrett Rank, also have a solid day on the course. Rank shot 4-under and is tied for fourth. The two met a few years ago at the U.S. Amateur and enjoy keeping tabs on one another, especially when they’re playing in the same tournament.

Thomson had the line of the day: “Canadians doing good this week, eh?”

When Thomson received his official invite to the Northeast Amateur via email in February, he couldn’t wait to compete in what is considered the amateur version of the Masters.

“A few months ago I was stoked to get invited to this,” he said. “It’s always been a goal of mine to play in all these events, so I’m happy to be here and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’ve got three more rounds left to give it my all and see what happens.”

Despite temperatures soaring into the mid-90s, scores were impressive during Round 1. In fact, a total of 43 players shot even-par or better.

Anthony Delisanti and Deven Patel finished T2 at 5-under, while four players – Paul Chang, Rank, Josiah Gilbert and Marshall Meisel – shot 4-under.

Patel recently finished 83rd during the Sunnehanna Amateur, the first of seven tournaments in the Elite Amateur Golf Series, but he was able to gain a bit of confidence after an even-par round the final day and it carried over into the Northeast. He registered a clean scorecard and admitted he attacked Wannamoisett’s fairways and greens.

“It’s an honor and privilege to play at the Northeast Amateur. Getting into the tournament you just know no matter who it is you’re ready and it’s just golf at the end of the day,” Patel said.

Delisanti recorded six birdies and only one bogey en route to 5-under.

“Scrambled very well today,” he said. “I didn’t find myself in the fairway too often, but made it work out of the rough today. You need to be in the fairway here to really have a chance at it, and I took advantage of the times I was in the fairway.”

Rank, who is also a fan favorite (sometimes) around these parts because he’s a NHL referee, has the Northeast circled on his schedule as long as he’s not working the Stanley Cup Final. He was on the ice for the three rounds of the playoffs, but is still waiting for his chance to work the Cup Final. Until that happens, he’ll continue to play in the Northeast Amateur.

He played with past champion Todd White, who won this tournament in 1990 and he was impressed with Rank’s performance Wednesday.

“Garrett was solid,” said White, adding a quick story when they first met. During the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, Rank dropped a birdie on the last hole to beat White in the semifinal round. Rank turned 25 only four days prior to the tournament, which made his eligible to play as a mid-am.

“After he beat me I said, ‘Couldn’t you’ve been a late baby?’ Garrett and I have had a great friendship since that time. When I saw the pairings come out, I couldn’t have been happier. Coming back here to a great place and being able to play with a great friend it doesn’t get much better.”

From start to finish Wednesday, Rank was pleased with his outing.

“I putted almost perfectly, maybe one mistake, but was super thrilled with how it went on the greens,” he said. “I hit the ball pretty good, kept it in play, managed my way around the golf course. The last couple of years I’ve been here I’ve struggled a little bit and wasn’t as patience as I needed to be. This is a golf course where you have to be very strategic where you place the ball off the tee and on the greens, so I did that very well today and shot a great score.

“This is the best. The members are unbelievable, the golf course is fantastic, it’s one of the best we play, the way the tournament is run is world-class, probably a top-5 tournament in the world. I just love coming here and the relationships I have with people here and see a lot of familiar faces and take a bunch of jabs from Bruins fans, too.”

Chang quietly made his presence felt. The rising senior at Virginia has surprised the golf world with his play, but it’s evident his confidence is his strength.

“It was a solid round,” Chang said. “I got off to a hot start after draining a 21-foot birdie putt that kicked off the day pretty well. I didn’t miss many fairways or greens and dropped a few putts along the way. “It’s been a great, great experience. It’s the first time I’m playing this event and I’ve heard a lot of good things about this event, the field is awesome, it’s really strong and we get treated so well.”

Chang is learning first-hand the challenges of Wannamoisett, but he was impressive Wednesday.

“It’s a course that will separate skill levels,” he said.

Recap courtesy of Joe McDonald of the Rhode Island Golf Association

Results: Northeast Amateur
T1NYAnthony DelisantiSanborn, NY120064-68-71-62=265
2VABryan LeeFairfax, VA90067-66-66-66=265
T3TNCameron TankersleyDickson, TN70069-67-67-63=266
T3UTZac JonesHighland, UT70066-68-66-66=266
T5TNLance SimpsonKnoxville, TN70070-68-67-62=267

View full results for Northeast Amateur

ABOUT THE Northeast Amateur

The Northeast Amateur has a historic list of winners, including Ben Crenshaw, Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa, Luke Donald, Scott Hoch, John Cook, Hal Sutton, and David Duval. It has been annually held at the Donald Ross-designed Wannamoisett Country Club since 1962. The event is limited to 90 elite players; there is a cut after 54 holes and the entire tournament is played in twosomes.

View Complete Tournament Information

Latest in 

Amateurgolf.com, Inc.
6965 El Camino Real 105-631
Carlsbad, CA 92009

Instagram X Facebook YouTube