NEWTON, Mass – Jackson Lang began the first five holes of the 54-hole stroke-play Francis Ouimet Memorial Invitational by making consecutive birdies and that magnificent start was enough to propel him to a one-shot victory over defending champion and Mass Golf player-of-the-year Matt Parziale on July 27.
Lang, a 21-year old senior at Davidson University won the 51st edition of the Francis Ouimet Memorial Invitational by shooting rounds of 66-71-69 for as six-under par total 206. Parziale is the reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion posted rounds of 70-67-70 to lose by one.
“When you go five under in the first five holes on the first day you definitely feel like you are going to be at a good spot at the end of the week was basically how I saw it,” said Lang, who plays out of Nashawtuc Country Club and advanced to the semi-finals 2018 Mass Amateur. “So I got the 66 on the first day and was feeling great. It’s the last tournament on my summer schedule. I felt like I was moving in a great direction. You don’t win very much, so it’s really special when you do.”
Lang’s opening blitz came at Concord Country Club, where the first two rounds were played before moving to its traditional final-round venue at Woodland Golf Club (Newton, MA) – the home club of Francis Ouimet.
Lang entered the final round two strokes back of day-two leader Timothy Umphrey, also from Nashawtuc CC, after following up his day-one score of 4-under par 66 with a 1-over par 71 on July 26.
Playing in the second-to-last group on the final day, Lang bolted up the leaderboard with birdies on No. 2 and No. 4. He birdied back-to-back par 5s, no. 11 and No. 12, and took the lead with another birdie on No. 14, hitting his second shot on the par four only two feet.
On Woodland Golf Club’s 18th green, Lang calmly sank a 2-foot par putt for a 3-under par 69 that earned him the 51st Ouimet Memorial Tournament title. It marks the first major state championship for Lang, who has been a fixture in the top-10 leaderboard for Mass Golf events for two years.
“When you play in tournaments like the Mass Am, the New England Am and this tournament there are a lot of good players and you are going to play well a lot and not win,” said Lang. “It is sort of how it is and how it has been the last couple of years. It is always pretty nice to have something to show for it.”
Parziale led for a portion of the final round until a pair of bogies derailed his chances of repeating. .An even par back nine, however, proved not enough as Parziale needed to hole out from the fairway on the 365-yard, par 4 18th hole in order to force a playoff.
“I played fine today. I thought that I hit a lot of good shots that I didn’t get rewarded for especially down the stretch,” said Parziale, who finished at 5-under par 207. “I putted well to stay in it. I made a lot of par putts. I am pleased with the way I played but I was just one short.”
Frank Vana Jr, one of the Bay State’s most decorated amateurs, won the Eddie Lowery Senior Division. He posted rounds of 67-71-68, good enough for a six-under 206, and 10 shots better than runner-up Kevin Smith.Vana has won five Ouimet titles joining Jack Kearney and Kevin Carey as the only players to win championship and senior division crowns.
Jackie Eleey, of Quincy and former Georgetown University golfer, won the Women’s Division. Eleey shots 74-70-75 to finish 3-over 219, one shot ahead of Shannon Johnson.