Mass Amateur: Broderick, O’Donovan go under course record in Round 2

For immediate release: July 11, 2023

MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Mass. – The Essex County Club has seen an incredible amount of history over 130 years, and the second round of stroke play on Tuesday certainly added another chapter to it.

On a glorious day to enjoy the outdoors, a flurry of players in the afternoon wave made a statement with historic performances in the final round of stroke play in the 115th Massachusetts Amateur Championship.

Wellesley’s John Broderick (Dedham Country & Polo Club) held his putter in the air after missing a 15-footer for birdie on the 18th. Although it wasn’t a match-clinching putt, Broderick couldn’t help but smile — as he had most of the day – when he put a very high exclamation point on the best stroke play round ever recorded in Essex history: an 8-under-par 62. With a 9-under mark for the tournament, he essentially secured medalist honors for the stroke play portion of the the event.

“It was a fun day,” Broderick said after surpassing the previous course record of 65 held by the late Jack Nies. “I birdied nine and I could tell I was in good shape and I told my caddy [Sully Kopf], ‘Let’s have a good time on the back nine’ and we did. It’s probably the least nervous I’ve played good golf.”

Round 2 was suspended due to darkness at 20.19, with the expected cutline currently at 5-over. Those who have not completed strokes will return at 7:30 Wednesday. If there is a tie for the last match places afterwards, a sudden-death playoff will be held at 8:45 about the last places. The first round of match play begins immediately thereafter, with the 16th round following.

Online: Championship Central | Scoring | Photo gallery | Former champions

After Round 1 ended Monday, Broderick was frustrated with his putting and spent time afterward trying to get everything reset. The work paid off as he made almost every birdie putt he had on Tuesday and even his misses just burned the edges. He got to 3-under with birdies on holes 5, 7 and 9, but turned on the jets on the back nine, going straight at the pins and converting on holes 10, 12, 14 and 15. By the time he got to the 18th tee, all he needed was bogey or better for the record.

“These greens are definitely difficult to read,” Broderick said. “I didn’t putt confidently enough. I wasn’t sure if it was left or straight, but at hole six I said let’s just commit to every read.”

Broderick wasn’t alone in making it a memorable afternoon. Playing alongside him was Osterville’s Ricky Stimets (Worcester Country Club), who sank a birdie putt from off the green on the 17th to move to 5-under. Had he holed out for the birdie putt on 18, he would have briefly held the course record before Broderick’s clinching putt.

“When the pairings came out, I said this is going to be good,” Stimets said of being in the same group with Broderick. “We have to make some birdies and feed each other and that’s exactly what happened. If it was a best ball, we would have shot 58.”

After Broderick and Stimets graduated, the University of Rhode Island was outstanding Aidan O’Donovan (Cummaquid Golf Club) went under the previous record mark with a 64 (4-under overall), thanks in part to a chip-in eagle on the second hole. Soon after, Northwestern University’s James Imai (KOHR Golf) came up on the front nine and birdied four of his final five holes to finish with a 65 (6-under overall).

Had it not been for a bogey on 10 for O’Donovan and a double bogey for Imai on the same hole to start their rounds, they would both have been well short of the record mark as well.

“After the bogey on 10, I kept it pretty steady and made a lot of putts,” O’Donovan said. “I didn’t make too many yesterday, but they started rolling in today. If I can keep my tee on the fairways, who knows what might happen? Hopefully more rounds like today.”

John Broderick, right, shot a course record 62 Tuesday afternoon at the Essex County Club. (Teddy Doggett)

Former Boston College standout Matthew Naumec (Framingham Country Club) never had a practice round entering the week, but had memories of playing Essex 10 years ago in the Massachusetts Junior Amateur when he finished second in the Junior Division.

Still, the former US Open qualifier putted well and made two key birdies during his final round to finish 1-under over his two rounds of stroke play and likely set himself up for another title run.

“Essex is a treat,” said Naumec, a quarterfinalist last year. “I tried to keep it level. I hit a lot of fairways and greens, kept it in front, so that’s what you have to do out here.”

Naumec had perhaps the bravest shot of the day as he finished up in Round 1. After hooking his drive into the fescue on the left edge of the scenic downhill par-4 18th, he had a tree blocking his view of the green. He planned to go over the trees, but instead hit through them, where his ball retired on the left edge of the green. He almost made the birdie putt but settled with par.

“I caught it heavy and it went through about 2 feet of space on the left side,” Naumec said of his approach. “I was lucky and made a good putt that almost went in, but it was a nice finish with a par. “

No matter if Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club) qualifies for match play, she is determined to try to play this event for many years to come. As the first woman to compete in the Mass Amateur, Smith finished the stroke play with rounds of 74 and 75 for 9-over, currently 4 strokes below the current projected cutline.

“Anytime you can play a field like this and a golf course like this, you want to feel good,” Smith said. “It was cool, a little disappointed with how I finished, but lots of positives about being here.”

Smith said she was able to hit driver on most holes, including on the par-4 1st, which she birdied in the second round.

“I was excited to birdie the first, but I only made three total, not a good enough number, but I just kept trucking. I was hitting driver everywhere because my driver doesn’t reach a point where it is in trouble like many women’s tracks.”

When asked if she wants to try again next year, “that’s the goal,” she said.



Here’s some other stuff from Day 2 at the Massachusetts Amateur Championship.

  • John Broderick also shot a competitive course record 8-under 64 at Berkshire Hills Country Club during US Amateur Qualifying on June 28.
  • Ricky Stimets has shot 73 in the first round of the Mass Amateur in the past three years, but each time he had shot three strokes or more better in the second round.
  • Derek Ducharme made the third hole-in-one of his career on Tuesday, the only one to do so in this year’s championship. After birdieing the iconic 165-yard, par-3 11th on Monday, Ducharme pulled a 6-iron and hit the right slope of the green and it rolled into the cup. That’s an ace 20 years in the making, with his last coming as a member of Methodist University’s golf team. Despite going 3-under on the 11th over two days, Ducharme finished 9-over through two rounds and will likely be on the outside looking in for match play. Over the weekend, however, he shot a 63 at Whitinsville Golf Club, another Donald Ross gem, to match the course record.
  • Teddy Doggett who took Tuesday’s photos at the Essex County Club will caddy for Aidan O’Donovan during the match play. Doggett grew up caddying at Essex.
  • Although the cutline won’t be known until Wednesday, here’s what it’s been in terms of par over the past decade: 2022: +8 Concord Country Club; 2021: +4 Brae Burn Country Club; 2020: +4 The Kittansett Club/The Bay Club; 2019: +6 Country Club; 2018: +4 George Wright Golf Course/William G. Devine Golf Course; 2017: +7 Charles River Country Club; 2016: +5 Taconic Golf Club; 2015: +6 Oak Hill Country Club; 2014: +8 Kernwood Country Club; 2013: +8 Longmeadow Country Club.
  • Of all the challenges Essex offers, most golfers cited the greens as the most difficult. The rainy conditions leading up to Tuesday let them roll around 11.5 this morning, according to the Director of Grounds Eric Richardson. He said he plans to have them up to about 12.5 by the start of the game.


  • We play golf together every day. He has been on my bag for all the big tournaments. There aren’t really any stressful moments when he’s on the bag. — John Broderick on his appreciation of his caddy Sully Kopf.
  • I think this course suits my game well, I just need to warm up. I’ve been playing well all summer, I just had to trust it and make the shots. — Ricky Stimets
  • It’s incredible. I was on the 15th hole, and Molly [Smith] was teeing off on the 2nd hole and I paused to see her. She has an incredible move. She smokes it. She seems to be doing well. It is a huge achievement. — Matthew Naumec that Molly Smith was the first woman to play in Mass Amateur.
  • The third hole is a beast. It’s 630 yards into the wind, so you hit driver, 6-iron and 6-iron, and having a 6-iron in a par-5 is unusual. But it’s a tough hole. It was good momentum to birdie it. — Matthew Naumecto birdie both par-5s (3 and 5) during his second round.
  • Yesterday I hit a 5 iron and saw the ball kick left and made a birdie. Today it was closer so I hit a 6 iron, knew the slope to the right and then I saw the ball disappear and some guys up on the hill said ‘It’s in!’ Playing it 3-under for two days is probably my favorite hole out here. You get a little high after that and it takes you a while to come down. — Derek Ducharmeon his hole-in-one Tuesday at the Essex County Club.

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