PLYMOUTH, MA – The prestigious 54th Hornblower Memorial Tournament tees off June 1-2 at Plymouth Country Club in “America’s Hometown.” A total of 159 participants, including the first two women ever in this event, Jacquelyn Eleey and Shannon Johnson, will be teeing it up and will be doing their best to thwart frontrunners Davis Chatfield, Brandon Gillis, and reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt Parziale.
The field represents some of the best golfers from New England and beyond. Plymouth Country Club is a Donald Ross-designed par-69, which superintendent Ben Whiting keeps in great shape all season long. With sloping terrain and gradual elevation changes, the course will challenge the competitors during their 36 holes to keep their drives in play, their second shots on the greens, and their putts on line and at the precise pace. The 54 th edition is sure-to-be one of the most competitive Hornblowers yet.
“Two of the more diabolical holes at Plymouth Country Club are the par 4 seventh and par 3 eighth,” warns head pro Mike Roy. “A slight mistake on either one of those severely sloped greens can quickly crush the hopes of a good round.”
Last year, Billy Walthouse, a 2017 URI graduate and a member of Longmeadow CC, knocked in a 15-foot birdie on the final hole for a three-under 66 and a 136 total to defeat Davis Chatfield of Attleboro, MA, by one shot. Unfortunately, his schedule does not allow him to defend his title. However, in 2016, New Hampshire native Brandon Gillis, who also made a birdie on the last hole to defeat Chatfield by one to win his title, shot a disappointing 76 in the final round last year for a 148 and is determined to make amends this year. Chatfield and Gillis, who both shot 65’s for the course record in 2016, are 19 years old and have completed their freshmen years, Chatfield at Notre Dame and Gillis at Wake Forest.
Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt Parziale is the best-known name in the field and certainly one of the most accomplished players. The ’09, ’14, ’16, and ’17 Mass Golf Association Player of the Year, defending Mass Amateur champ, and former Hornblower title owner, Parziale is the 30-year old Brockton fireman and Thorny Lea GC member who captured the attention of the golf world this past April during his appearance at the Masters. His USGA win also secured him a spot at this year’s U.S. Open scheduled June 14 – 17 at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island (N.Y.) and U.S. Amateur scheduled August 13 – 19 at Pebble Beach.
Joining this select field and making Hornblower history will be Jacquelyn Eleey of Quincy and Shannon Johnson of Norton, the first women to compete in the event. Eleey, a senior at Georgetown, has an impressive resume: Big East Player of the Year, Big East Individual Champion, All Big East Team, Princeton Invitational Individual Champion, and Battle at Boulder Creek Champion. Johnson is the WGAM Anne Marie Tobin Player of the Year, runner up in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur for the last two years, and frequent participant in other USGA events, including four U.S. Women’s Amateur championships.
“We are thrilled to have Jacquelyn Eleey and Shannon Johnson participating in this year’s tournament,” said Tournament Chairman Mike Ellis. “There has never been a gender requirement in the tournament but up until this year no female has ever applied. Jackie’s ‘in-it-to-win-it attitude’ will serve her well as she navigates our Donald Ross track.”
Notable golfers include: 2018 Mass Fourball Champions Tim Umphrey of Tatnuck C.C. and Jimmy Hervol of Hopkinton C.C. Club; U.S. Challenge Cup Junior Player Ricky Angelo of Potowomut G.C. (R.I); 2017 Hornblower Junior Champion, senior at Silver Lake Regional HS, and Halifax CC member Dillon Brown; Michael Thorbjornsen from George Wright G.C.; and David Rogers from Willowbend G.C.
Familiar Hornblower contenders include Herbie Aikens, Mike Arter, Owen Elliott, Sean Fitzpatrick, John Hadges, Jack Kearny, Stephen Kuhn, Steve Tasho, Frank Vana, and Jared Winiarz.
The last five championships have been decided on the 18th hole through a playoff, a chip-in birdie, and three crucial birdie putts to avoid playoffs. Once again, the course is in absolutely magnificent condition, with pristine fairways and oh-so-true and oh-so-undulating and oh-so-fast greens that will Stimp around 11 or more. Above the hole, above par—players, be forewarned!
The public is invited to attend the tournament. Admission is free and all clubhouse amenities will be available throughout the two days. Spectators are welcome to stroll the course with players or select locations on the golf course from which to watch the action. The public will be the guests of Tournament Chairman Mike Ellis, Club President Tom Mayer, Director of Golf Mike Roy, Superintendent Ben Whiting, the Hornblower Committee, and Plymouth CC members.
Visit the Hornblower Memorial website at: HornblowerMemorial.com