David Szewczul claimed multiple distinctions this week at the 113th US Amateur, none more impressive than this: He was the only player in the field of 312 who also competed the last time the tournament was held at The Country Club.
That came 31 years ago, in 1982, when Szewczul narrowly missed match play, losing in a playoff for the final spot to future PGA champion Mark Brooks. Szewczul didn’t come as close this time to advancing, shooting a 76 at The Country Club Tuesday after a 75 the day before at Charles River Country Club.
His 36-hole total of 151 was one shot better than his two rounds in 1982, but it missed this year’s playoff by seven shots. Still, the oldest player here — Szewczul is 59 — had plenty to be thankful for.
“It’s been a thrill, coming back 31 years later,” said Szewczul, who works in the packaging industry and lives in Farmington, Conn. “I said to my wife, Lisa, earlier in the year, when I saw it was at Brookline, I said it would be nostalgic if I could get back.
“I’m pleased being around the kids again, it keeps me young.”
This time he brought his own kid with him. Son David, who wasn’t born in 1982 (he’s only 18), served as caddie, which brought some amusing assumptions, considering that the US Amateur has really turned into a young player’s tournament, dominated by college players.
“Everyone’s been saying to him all week, ‘Good luck to you,’ and they think I’m the caddie,” Szewczul said. “They ask him for his player credentials and he tells them, ‘I’m the caddie,’ so they look at me and ask if I’m the player. ‘Yeah, I’m the player.’
“I think I’ve kind of taken everybody by surprise.”
Szewczul has been player of the year in Connecticut the past four years, and will be competing in next week’s US Senior Amateur.
He has played in seven US Amateurs, including the last two at The Country Club. Szewczul said that 31 years later, the course looks completely different.
“In 1982, the course was brown, it played a lot shorter, a lot faster,” Szewczul said. “To be able to experience this again, I’m proud of the longevity that I’ve had. This is all a bonus for me.
“With all the history here, having my son on the bag, it’s been a dream. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Course record set
Bo Andrews shot a course-record 7-under 63 at Charles River, a score that helped him qualify for match play after he opened with a 76 at The Country Club. His 63 was all the more impressive considering he bogeyed his first hole.
“I was actually really OK after doing that,” the Georgia Tech senior said. “There’s three par 5s out here and a ton of wedge holes. You can make a lot of birdies.”
Calm and collected, Andrews eagled No. 2, then bagged eight birdies after that.
Charles River’s previous competitive record (64) was set in 2003.
“Any chance you shoot in the low 60s, there’s a chance that anybody shoots the course record,” Andrews said. “But I had no idea that I did. That wasn’t on my mind.”
Not until Westwood resident Harry McCloskey — a member at Charles River since 1950 — approached Andrews by the 18th hole to break the news.
“He was a bit surprised,” McCloskey said. “But the look on the face was priceless.”
Andrews, playing in his first USGA championship, arrived Tuesday without a target score in mind. He kept the ball he used to putt out on the 18th hole and wrote “63” on it with a purple Sharpie. Andrews didn’t know what he would do with the ball.
“Either bring it home with me, or if the club wants it, I’d be happy to give it to them,” he said. “I’m just happy to be a part of history.”
No double eagles for Richy Werenski Tuesday — there was one double bogey — but a solid round of 73 at The Country Club has the 21-year-old from South Hadley safely into match play.
“It’s going to be my last US Am, most likely, and to have it in my home state, where all my friends and family can come out and watch, it’s pretty cool,” Werenski said.
Werenski was one of seven players from Massachusetts in the field, and the only one to advance to match play.
The others were Ben Balter (74-81) of Wellesley, Ryan Riley (78-72) of North Easton, Colin Brennan (76-74) of Andover, John Gratton (80-77) of Wellesley, Nate Pereira (81-81) of Ludlow, and Peter French (87-79) of Bellingham.
In addition to Werenski, two other players from New England will be among the final 64: Chelso Barrett (72-70) of Surry, N.H., and Blake Morris (73-69) of Waterbury, Conn.
Steven Zychowski of Mendham, N.J., who graduated from Holy Cross in May, also will be in match play after rounds of 70-73. Continued...