112th Mass. Amateur: South Deerfield’s Jacob Zaranek, Jonathan Elkins in contention after Round 1

  • South Deerfield’s Jacob Zaranek, shown here in previous tournament action, shot 1-over-par 72 and sits in a tie for 12th place following the opening day of the 112th Massachusetts Amateur Championship. FILE PHOTO/MASS GOLF

Staff Writer
Published: 7/13/2020 5:03:35 PM

Jacob Zaranek has himself right in contention after Day 1 of the 112th Massachusetts Amateur Golf Championship.

The 21-year-old South Deerfield shot a 1-over-par round of 72 on Monday at The Bay Club at Mattapoisett, putting him in a tie for 12th place. Zaranek will turn around and play The Kittansett Club in Marion for his second and final round of stroke play, as he’ll tee off Tuesday morning at 11:06 a.m. in hopes of reaching the match play portion of the tournament for the second year in a row.

“I gave myself a lot of chances,” said Zaranek of Monday’s opening round. “The greens were so fast. So much faster than what I’ve been used to playing. It was an adjustment for me — two of my bogeys were three-putts. You want to avoid throwing away strokes like that.”

Nashawtuc Country Club’s Jeremy Meade set the tone for the field on Monday, firing a 4-under 67 to take the clubhouse lead. Meade played The Bay Club, as did Andrew McInerney, who was one shot back at 3-under 68. Chris Francoeur had the low round of the day at Kittansett (68) to give him a share of second place, while Matt Parziale, the 2017 champion, and Rob Owen each shot 2-under 69s at Kittansett to earn a share of fourth place.

Zaranek’s name hovered around the top of the leaderboard for a good portion of his round. He was 2-under through 13 holes, but bogeys on three of his final five holes left him 1-over for the day.

“It’s kind of tough to finish the way I did with those three bogeys,” he admitted. “I three-putted 18 and you never want to finish a day like that. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth but it is what it is. One-over certainly isn’t going to kill you.”

South Deerfield’s Jonathan Elkins had his tournament flash before his eyes standing on the ninth tee at The Bay Club on Monday. Sitting 4-over after eight holes, the 19-year-old had just double-bogeyed No. 8, and needed to right the ship in a hurry.

“I four-putted (No. 8) and that was probably the maddest I’ve been on a golf course this year,” Elkins explained. “It was one of those moments where I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole no matter how hard I tried.

“I looked at the (yardage) book standing on the ninth tee and saw there were going to be a couple opportunities for me to either make birdie or a stress-free par,” he continued. “Let’s try and take some stress out of this round and go from there.”

The Villanova-bound golfer turned things around on the back nine, recording birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to offset just one bogey. His 3-over 74 has him right in contention, sitting in a tie for 33rd position.

“I’m pretty ecstatic with the round because it was just an all-time grind,” said Elkins, who plays Kittansett Club Tuesday at 11:42 a.m. “I didn’t make the cut (Monday) but I certainly didn’t put myself out of it. That’s the big goal at these events; just find a way to get into the top 32.”

Northfield’s Jesse Morgan found the track at The Bay Club to be tough sledding on Monday. Morgan was 5-over through his first four holes, and wound up shooting 9-over 80 to put him in a tie for 106th place.

Morgan, who was one of the final golfers on the course Monday, will tee off at Kittansett Club Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. in hopes of bettering that number in Round 2. He did find his footing late in Round 1, shooting 2-over 38 on the back nine after recording a 42 on the front.

Both Zaranek and Elkins had early tee times on Monday, with both off and running before 9 a.m. Zaranek recorded birdies at Nos. 5, 9 and 11. One of his best shots of the day came on the par 3 ninth, where he knocked a 7-iron close from 185 yards and made the putt.

“The course was in phenomenal shape,” he said of The Bay Club.

Elkins said he didn’t have much familiarity with The Bay Club before Monday’s round.

“The course was perfect but not conducive to going in blind,” he said with a laugh. “The greens were absolute concrete. They were in great shape but just so fast. And they were huge. I think I had a 70-foot birdie putt at one point.”

Elkins was pleased with how he finished his round. He hit a wedge close on the par 5 15th and made birdie, then rolled in another birdie on 16. Despite giving one back with a bogey on 17, he punched out of danger from behind a tree on 18 and managed to save par there to shoot 74.

“That gave me a little confidence going into (Tuesday),” he offered.

The field will be cut to the top 32 players following Tuesday’s second round. If there are ties for the final match play spots, there will be a playoff.

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