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MX News Update 2024

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Low scores abound at the 43rd Mass Four-Ball Championship

By Steve Derderian
[email protected]

MASHPEE, MA (May 8, 2024) – Raindrops splashed on the lush greenery and ghostly gray skies enveloped the coastal landscape for much of Wednesday morning at the Club of New Seabury. However, Mother Nature only partially got in the way of Mass Golf’s greatest single championship.

A total of 192 pairs, forged primarily through friendship or kinship, descended on the quaint seaside fishing village along Cape Cod’s south coast to team up in the opening round of the 43rd Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship.

The New Seabury estate has two 18-hole courses – Dunes and Ocean – and if you played the first, which is 6,040 yards compared to 7,000 yards on its counterpart, you had an edge, with 14 of the best complete round 1 scores taken from the shorter course.

Lucky 7 (below) seemed to be the number to beat Patrick Frodigh And Danny Frodigh (Dedham Country & Polo Club), Cape Cod golfers Ryan Brown and Sam Russell, and 2016 and 2017 champions Herbie Aikens and Matt Parziale all finished the morning round at that point. However, Tim Stundis (TPC Boston) and Chris Congdon (Links At Mass Golf) stormed the Dunes Course out of the gates of Churchill Downs like a thoroughbred by going 6-under through the first six holes and birdieing holes 3-7 to take the overnight lead at 10- under-par 60.

“Chris was immediately on fire, hitting him at close range and putting everything in view,” said Stundis, who said this is his first time working with Congdon. “Hopefully this is the first of more.”

Round 1 was suspended at 7:23 PM due to darkness. Play resumes Thursday morning at 7:15 am. Round 2 starts as scheduled at 7:30 AM, with each side flipped.

Online: results round 1 | Round 2 Start times | Past Champions | Event Home

Tim Stundis, left, and Chris Congdon shake hands after shooting the low round of the day at The Club at New Seabury. (Mass wave)

Congdon and Stundis may not have worked together in this event before, but they go way back. Congdon is the owner of Stix Fun Center, a driving range and miniature golf facility in North Attleboro, and Stundis was the former instructor at the facility. Last week, Stundis gave Congdon a putting tip and it seemed to work wonders.

After Congdon birdied three of the first four holes, Stundis drove the green at the 305-yard par-4 15th and nearly tied the eagle putt for the clubhouse lead just a third of the way through the round.

“That really charged us up, and we kept it together and then got another streak on the back end and made it four in a row,” Congdon said. “Today we were hoping to hit the greens, make birdie putts and hopefully get close and drop them.”

Heading into the final round at the Ocean Course, which played about three strokes above par than the Dunes, they said looking for birdie as much as possible is key to maintaining the lead. “It worked for us today,” Stundis said.

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One day after helping his brother Will Frodigh To advance to US Open final qualifying at nearby Sacconnesset Golf Club, Danny Frodigh teamed up with his brother Patrick and made some waves of his own. Patrick made three birdies on the last four holes, ending his round with a smooth wedge shot from 93 yards inside 10 feet, followed by a successful birdie putt to put the pair at 7 under.

“We carried each other when there was a man out of the hole and we did a good job,” said Patrick, a former Mass Amateur champion. “It’s a nice format, but we don’t play it much. I feel like it’s liberating in a way, especially if your partner is in a great position like Danny is. It has made things easier and taken the pressure off.”

Former champions Aikens and Parziale are also in the hunt, thanks in part to a closing Eagle Putt from Parziale on the 18th. Russell & Brown, meanwhile, made consecutive birdies on holes 14-16 to take a share of the early lead. Sitting one back be Nick Maccario (Big horse) and Andrew DiRamio (North Hill Country Club) and Marc Francis (Allendale Country Club) and Kyle Pelletier (Marion Golf Club). Maccario, who played Brown in the US Open Local Qualifying playoffs on Tuesday, made five birdies as he tries to win the Four-Ball for the first time since 2019 (with Mike Calef).

Shirakura adapts to his circumstances

Douglas Shirakura will graduate Friday with an aerospace engineering degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Before graduation week, he is on the golf course doing the Mass Four-Ball with WPI Dean of Engineering John McNeill. The graduation closes another impressive chapter in the life of a young man determined to take up sports, especially golf, at an early age.

Shirakura, originally from Somers, New York, was born with amniotic band syndrome, a condition in which his body’s development in the womb was hindered by amniotic bands, preventing his hands and right foot from fully forming. His parents made the difficult decision to go ahead with a below-the-knee amputation, so Shirakura grew up learning to use a prosthetic limb.

Like many golfers with disabilities, Shirakura takes pride in participating in the sport, just like his peers. His parents introduced him to golf at the age of seven, and as a teenager he became involved in Eastern Amputee Golf Association events.

Shirakura got his chance to shine two years ago when he competed in the first US Adaptive Open at Pinehurst. And while he enjoys helping others with disabilities play golf, his goal is to have a successful career as a civil engineer and take up golf whenever possible.

“I’ve always loved competing with the best of the best,” said Shirakura, who trains at the Golf Performance Center in Ridgefield, Connecticut. “My best friends have all played for Division I schools and some are on mini-tours trying to make it to the PGA Tour. So I have a lot of respect for what they do, and I’ve always looked up to all my friends. They motivate me as much as I try to motivate them.”

McNeill never taught Shirakura, but they bonded over golf and met weekly to discuss the game. “He’s a great guy all around,” McNeill said of his playing partner. “As a dean, I no longer teach, so if I get the chance to connect with someone, I do it. ”

Shirakura and McNeill had a solid opening round, shooting 3-under 69 on the Ocean Course, with Shirakura knocking down a pair of birdies. Of

Douglas Shirakura hits an approach shot during the first round of the Mass Four-Ball at The Club at New Seabury on Wednesday. (Mass wave)

A sleeper in the field

Ricky Sleeper (Gardner Municipal Golf Course) and his playing partner Doug Croteau (Monoosnock Country Club) recorded the first under-par score of the day on the Ocean Course (1-under). Sleeper, a former military police officer, has a greater appreciation for the game than most. When he joined the armed forces in 2009 at the age of 24, he faced dangerous situations on a daily basis and returned to the United States with severe PTSD.

After trying several remedies, golf has helped him the most by far. He originally found the game through the On Course Foundation, which helps wounded, sick and injured veterans develop golf skills while learning career skills for working in the golf industry, and now participates in charity events everywhere, including for the Salute Military Golf Association . For the first time he has a plus handicap (+0.8).

“It was great playing with my friend Dougie today,” Sleeper said. “The track is in good condition, so hats off to the people here. Golf has helped me with the PTSD, and my scores have gone down. I’m just dealing with it and working through it.”

For more information about Sleeper’s story: CLICK HERE

Watch: 5 big things from round 1

About the club in New Seabury

Located on the south coast of Cape Cod, the Club at New Seabury features two great golf courses. The par-72 Ocean Course and par-70 Dunes Course, designed by William Mitchell. Bruce Hepner completed a renovation of the club’s Dunes course in 2019 before switching to the Ocean Course. The eight-month project for the Ocean Course included a complete renovation of the bunkers, expanding the fairways, recontouring greens and relocating cart paths.

At just over 6,000 yards, the Dunes is accessible to all golfers with several attractive short par 4s. With native vegetation and fresh sand, the Ocean Course is a challenging course with views all the way to Martha’s Vineyard across the Sound, enhancing the windy, linksy course.

“The renovation of the Ocean course makes pure and simple use of the ocean,” said Hepner. “Our aim was to make golf better and more interesting by changing the grass lines and angles so people can subtly enjoy their round and their surroundings. We have integrated classical architecture into the site to give it an ancient feel, a classic style, with the golf course sitting directly on the land.”

Stay informed

Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information about the Massachusetts Four-Ball Championship at The Club at New Seabury.