Groton’s Hunter Crowned Mass. Amateur Champion
WILLIAMSTOWN -- Groton’s Brendan Hunter turned what he thought was an improbable into a reality.
On Friday afternoon, the 20-year-old from Red Tail Golf Club scored the biggest win of his career by capturing the 108th Massachusetts Amateur Championship. He capped off what was a magical week of golf at Taconic Golf Club with a 4-and-3 victory over John Kelly (Twin Hills CC).
“I only brought three outfits,” said Hunter with a grin. “I was just happy to be here.”
Hunter was referring to the fact that he only packed enough clothes to get him through the first two days of stroke play. After all, he had never before made match play so he assumed it would be a short week.
However, after playing the first two rounds at 2-over par 144, Hunter had to make an emergency call home to his mother because he had earned the ninth seed in match play and needed clothing reinforcements. A trip to the local Target soon became a necessity as Hunter methodically made his way through the match play bracket.
His route to the finals included victories against Matt Cowgill, fellow St. Thomas Aquinas College teammate Christopher Gentle (Mt. Pleasant), Jackson Lang (Nashawtuc) and Alex Jeffers.
That hard work earned him a spot in the 36-hole final against Kelly, who won this event in 2014. Hunter never trailed from start to finish. But it wasn’t until a birdie on the 27th hole when he was finally able to put some distance between him and Kelly.
Hunter all but sealed his first major MGA championship victory on Taconic’s 12th hole - the 30th hole of the match - when he stuck his approach to two feet. In a matter of three holes, his lead had ballooned to 5-up with just six holes remaining.
For Hunter this represents a continuation of what has been the best few months of golf in his young career. This past spring, he captured his first collegiate victory for St. Thomas Aquinas, and now he can add the Commonwealth Cup to his list of accomplishments.
“I had never made match play before,” said Hunter. “Just being here is just phenomenal.”
Phenomenal for sure and definitely no longer improbable.