MARBLEHEAD -- Four players remain at the 104th Massachusetts Amateur, with semifinal matches at Tedesco Country Club about to commence.
The first semifinal will see Ben Spitz, the 2006 Massachusetts Amateur champion who plays out of George Wright Golf Course, against Mark Souliotis of Haverhill Country Club. The second semifinal has Mike Calef (Brockton Country Club) against Jack Whelan (Myopia Hunt). Other than Spitz, none of the other three semifinalists has ever advanced this far in the Massachusetts Amateur.
Spitz moved on with a 1 up victory over Colin Brennan this morning in the quarterfinals, a match he never trailed. The first eight holes were halved with pars, with Spitz winning No. 9 with a birdie. He lost the 10th, but then won the next two holes -- both with pars -- to take a two-hole lead after the 12th. Brennan cut the lead in half by winning the 16th, but two closing pars gave Spitz the victory.
Souliotis had never won a match before at the Massachusetts Amateur before this week. Now he's won three, after coming from behind to beat Mark Purrington of Allendale Country Club, 2 and 1. Purrington was three holes up through five holes, still three up through eight, and was two holes ahead after the 10th. That's when Souliotis made his move, winning the next four holes to go from two down to two up through 14. He won the 11th hole with a par, then birdied the next three holes to assume control.
Calef beat Josh Salah of Bass Rocks, 2 and 1. He never trailed, going two holes up through four, won the sixth to go 3 up, then birdied the 10th to take a four-hole lead. Salah cut into the lead, winning the 12th, 13th, 15th, and 16th to trail by one hole. But Calef ended the match by winning the 17th hole when Salah made a double bogey.
In a match pitting college standouts, Whelan beat Ricky Stimets, 1 up. The Saint Lawrence student birdied the first three holes, and was 1 up at the turn. He won the 12th to take a two-hole lead, but Stimets, a North Alabama senior-to-be who made nine birdies in his match on Wednesday afternoon, birdied the 16th to trail by one. Both players bogeyed No. 17, and both made par on the 18th, ending the match in Whelan's favor.
This afternoon's semifinal matches will determine which two players move on to Friday's 36-hole championship.