39th Mass. Amateur Public Links: Northfield’s Andy Lesenski earns medalist honors at CCG qualifier

  • Greenfield’s Mike Duclos watches his tee shot on No. 2 during a qualifying tournament for the 39th Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship on Tuesday at the Country Club of Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Scott Preston of the Links at Worthington watches his tee shot on No. 2 during a qualifying tournament for the 39th Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship on Tuesday at the Country Club of Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Tekoa Country Club’s Brian Hersey watches his long putt on No. 1 during a qualifying tournament for the 39th Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship on Tuesday at the Country Club of Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Maynard’s Greg Pavao lines up his putt on No. 1 during a qualifying tournament for the 39th Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship on Tuesday at the Country Club of Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Westover Golf Club’s Chris Cappello watches his putt on No. 1 during a qualifying tournament for the 39th Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship on Tuesday at the Country Club of Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Chicopee’s Sarann Ton watches his tee shot on No. 2 during a qualifying tournament for the 39th Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship on Tuesday at the Country Club of Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/23/2020 5:13:37 PM

Andy Lesenski felt right at home on Tuesday.

The Northfield resident and Country Club of Greenfield member was the only player in the field to finish in red numbers, as the club hosted a qualifier for the 39th Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship. Lesenski set the pace with a 2-under par round of 70, capturing medalist honors and earning a spot in the championship, set to be played Aug. 10-11 at Gannon Golf Club in Lynn.

“It was a pretty steady round,” offered Lesenski of Tuesday’s qualifier. “I didn’t really make any crazy saves for par or anything out of the ordinary. Just standard, down the middle, on the green and two-putt golf. The goal going in was to put up a solid number and just get on to the next round.”

Lesenski recorded three birdies on his front nine, taking the turn at 2-under before moving to 3-under with a birdie at the par 5 14th. He gave one shot back with a bogey on 15, but made par on his final three holes of the round to shoot 70.

“Coming into the qualifier, I was playing pretty well so I figured I could shoot a few under,” he said. “I had two goals: to break 70 and win medalist. I missed breaking 70 by one shot but it still feels like a really solid round. I went out and did everything according to plan. I knew a couple under would absolutely guarantee I’d get in, so there’s less pressure when you’re around that position and you can ease up to make some free swings down the stretch.”

Two Crumpin-Fox Club members were among four players who tied for second place, three shots behind Lesenski at 1-over 73. Michael Mertes used a late flurry, going 2-under over his final six holes, to shoot 73 and earn a spot in the APL, as did Mark Waskiewicz, who recorded two birdies and three bogeys en route to his 73.

Bedrock Golf Club’s Justin Ducharme and Doug Hutcheson of Ledges Golf Club also shot 73 to make it a four-way tie for the runner-up spot.

The qualifying tournament took the top 12 and ties to August’s championship, and the cut wound up at 75.

Greenfield High School rising junior Ryan Cote played his way into the APL field thanks to a fine performance at Tuesday’s qualifier. Cote, a CCG member, shot 3-over 75, overcoming a triple-bogey on No. 3 to play even golf the rest of the day and finish in a tie for eighth place. Cote dropped birdies on Nos. 8, 13 and 16.

CCG member Jason Kelton joined Cote in eighth place, as he also carded a round of 3-over 75 on Tuesday. Kelton was 3-over through seven holes, but battled from there. He recorded birdies on Nos. 8 and 17, and punched his ticket to August’s tournament.

Other locals who finished outside the cut line during Tuesday’s round included CCG’s Thomas Herzig (77), Nate Burdick (77), Mike Duclos (77), Jake Willis (78) and Chris Bourbeau (82), as well as Crumpin-Fox’s Justin McCloud (83).

Lesenski said he’s actually played quite a bit of golf so far this season, despite the late start due to COVID-19.

“The company I work for shut down and we haven’t gone back to work so I’ve had extra time to put in and get to the course,” he said. “It’s definitely paid off. It’s made the golf club feel second nature, it feels good in my hand right now.”

Competing on his home course played to Lesenski’s advantage, he said, particularly because while the course is playing faster than it normally is in late June, the conditions are still plenty familiar to him.

“It’s unusually firm and fast for this time of year but I’ve definitely experienced the course in the condition it is right now,” he began. “It’s beautiful, and the greens are amazing — it looks like a true links experience. I was able to take advantage in the form the course is in right now. Guys in my group were hitting long, over the green, because the ball bounds more than they’re used to. But having that experience in these conditions definitely helped me.”

Four more qualifiers remain for the APL, which has been a successful tournament for Franklin County golfers over the years. Several locals were given exemptions into August’s field, including Jacob Zaranek, Cody Booska and Jesse Morgan. Booska is a two-time runner-up in the event, finishing second in both 2016 and 2017. Zaranek was third in last year’s tournament, and Morgan finished fourth in 2019. That trio is also in the field for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship next month.


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