Ricky Stimets, who is coming off a tremendous junior season at the University of North Alabama, was medalist at 2012 Massachusetts Amateur Qualifying.
Marlborough, MA — The heat may have been a factor for many on Thursday, but it certainly didn’t seem to have any effect on Ricky Stimets (Oyster Harbors), who was one of 28 qualifiers who advanced to the 2012 Massachusetts Amateur Championship.
Stimets, a rising senior at the University of North Alabama, was one of 78 competitors who traveled to Marlborough Country Club (the other qualifying round was held at Kernwood Country Club) and he shined with a medalist score of 2-under par 69. He was the only competitor to post a sub-par round on Thursday.
“I go to school in Alabama so I had that going for me,” said Stimets. “I can tell you that the heat is a lot worse down there. Even though the heat was unbearable today, I have played in it before.”
Stimets came out firing today by making three birdies and just one bogey on his front nine. It was a welcome sign considering that he had only played the Marlborough layout the day before.
“I knew that the greens were going to cause problems because they were so fast and undulating,” said Stimets. “You had to be careful where you hit into the greens. Fortunately I was able to make a couple of birdies early on and then I put it in cruise control on the back.”
Following a bogey on the 2nd hole, Stimets began a run that would see him play 3-under par golf through five holes. On the 331-yard, par 4 4th hole, Stimets sent his lob wedge to four inches. He then knocked his gap wedge approach to 10 feet on the 381-yard, par 4 6th hole to set up his second birdie of the day. He capped off that impressive stretch by making a 10-foot, downhill birdie putt on the 527-yard, par 5 8th hole. He then made 10 straight pars to seal his medalist score of 2-under par 69.
“I have been hitting it straight and keeping it in play which is the most important thing,” said Stimets. “If you hit the fairways, it’s easier to hit the greens and if you hit the greens eventually some putts will fall.”
Before he embarked on his journey to the University of North Alabama, the 21-year-old Stimets was an all star at Wachusett Regional High School where he was the state individual champion in 2006 and 2008 and broke the school record for scoring average in 2007 and 2008.
Although his freshman season wasn’t what he had hoped for (he played in just three fall tournaments), Stimets found his collegiate game and has been a force for the Lions ever since.
During his sophomore campaign, he competed in all six spring events and earned All-GSC Tournament honors. He followed that up with a junior season that saw him named to the 2012 All-GSC Men’s Golf Team. Along the way, he was making headlines locally by winning the Worcester County Amateur in 2009 and 2011. One year ago, Stimets tied the Wachusett Country Club tournament course record of 65 en route to winning his second career title.
“My game is a lot different now,” said Stimets. “You are a hot shot in high school and then you go to college and everyone is a hot shot. It is an eye opening experience and it takes a while to adjust. My sophomore year was great and my junior year last year was even better. I am looking forward to my senior year.”
Stimets will be making a return to the Massachusetts Amateur Championship for the first time in four years when he advanced to the first round of match play at The Kittansett Club in 2008. He was only 16 years old at the time.
“I lost in the first round of match play [by a score of] 1 down to Scott Congdon,” said Stimets of his Championship Proper experience. “I bogeyed the last three holes, but it was a great experience.”
Momentum is certainly on Stimets’ side heading into the heart of the summer season. He qualified for and competed in the 2012 Massachusetts Open Championship where he missed the cut by just one stroke. Despite never having played Tedesco Country Club – the host site of the 2012 Massachusetts Amateur Championship – Stimets is ready for the challenge that lies ahead.
“It’s good to get back in there,” said Stimets of Championship Proper which is set for July 9-13. “Hopefully I’ll go farther than I did before.”
Here are some additional highlights from Thursday’s qualifying rounds.
* Michael McCarthy (Framigham CC) will be making a return to Championship Proper after posting a score of 2-over par 73 at Marlborough Country Club. McCarthy was the champion of the 2002 and 2003 Massachusetts Four-Ball Championships.
* Veteran Paul Murphy (Charles River CC) was another qualifier in Marlborough. The 61-year-old from Arlington was the 2009 Massachusetts Senior Four-Ball Champion and – over the course of his career – has appeared in 15 USGA Championships Proper and won the 2006 New England Senior Amateur Championship, 1975 Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament, three Southeastern Amateur Championships (1987, 1992 and 1999) and 13 club championships at Charles River Country Club.
* Mike Dunham (Concord CC) continued his stellar play in Marlborough as he qualified for his second MGA Championship Proper of the 2012 season. Dunham was one of eight amateurs who advanced to the third round of the 2012 Massachusetts Open Championship.
* In addition to golf, there was much to celebrate at Marlborough Country Club. The MGA presented the club’s head golf professional – Mark Klotz – with a cake to celebrate his birthday. Happy birthday to Mark!
* Earning medalist honors at Kernwood Country Club was Greg Chalas (Thorny Lea GC) who posted a score of 2-over par 72. Chalas is a former Stetson University player who now serves as an assistant golf coach – alongside his father Bruce who is the head coach – for the Boston University Men’s Golf Team. This marks the second straight year that Chalas as advanced to Championship Proper.
* Jordan Burke (Needham GC) will be looking to better his best finish – a quarterfinal appearance at the 2010 Massachusetts Amateur Championship – after he advanced in Salem with a score of 5-over par 75.
* There is no question what type of shoe will be worn by one competitor in the Championship Proper field. Paul Heffernan, Jr. (Charles River CC), qualified at Kernwood Country Club with a score of 4-over par 74, is the Vice President of Consumer Experiences at New Balance.
* Anthony Dilisio (Salem CC), a rising senior at Skidmore College, was one of 14 qualifiers in Salem. The 2007 Massachusetts Father & Son Champion made Salem Country Club history in 2009 when he became the first junior golfer — and youngest person — to ever win the men’s club championship.
Marlborough Country Club (Marlborough, MA)
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Par 71 (35-36)
1) Ricky Stimets (Oyster Harbors) 33-36–69
T2) Michael McCarthy (Framingham CC) 37-36–73
T2) Gary Webber (Framingham CC) 37-36–73
4) Mark Savel (Nashawtuc CC) 38-36–74
T5) Eric Yarrows (Orchards GC) 39-36–75
T5) Paul Murphy (Charles River CC) 37-38–75
T5) Mark Souliotis (Haverhill CC) 39-36–75
T8) Mike Pochily (Federal Street) 35-41–76
T8) Erik Carlson (Marlborough CC) 36-40–76
T8) Jeremy Brofsky (Sandy Burr CC) 39-37–76
T8) Mike Dunham (Concord CC) 38-38–76
T12) Ryan Harris (Concord CC) 36-41–77
T12) Brian Bassett (Oyster Harbors) 39-38–77
T12) Christopher Gentle (Mount Pleasant GC) 39-38–77
1st) Myles Wharram (Red Tail GC) 40-37–77
2nd) Jeremy Meade (Nashawtuc CC) 37-40–77
2012 Massachusetts Amateur Qualifying<http://www.ghintpp.com/mgalinks/TPPOnlineScoring/ResultsStroke.aspx?id=237>
Kernwood Country Club (Salem, MA)
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Par 70 (35-35)
1) Greg Chalas (Thorny Lea GC) 37-35–72
T2) Matt Vaughn (Wampatuck CC) 35-38–73
T2) Paul Lacamera (Plymouth CC) 33-40–73
4) Paul Heffernan, Jr. (Charles River CC) 37-37–74
T5) Jordan Burke (Needham GC) 38-37–75
T5) James Whitney (Sagamore Spring GC) 36-39–75
T5) Alex Kane (Ferncroft CC) 36-39–75
T8) Michael Zmetrovich (Tedesco CC) 38-38–76
T8) Richard Cohen (Kernwood CC) 37-39–76
T8) Bernard Cantwell (Bradford CC) 36-40–76
T11) Anthony Dilisio (Salem CC) 40-37–77
T11) Craig Farley (North Andover CC) 39-38–77
T11) Arthur Fitzgerald (Whitinsville GC) 36-41–77
T11) Jack Whelan (Myopia Hunt) 41-36–77
1st) Jason Steele (Ferncroft CC) 41-36–77
2nd) Josh Bloomberg (Pine Brook CC) 38-39–77WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?