The Massachusetts Division 1 state championship field is set to compete at GreatHorse in Hampden on Monday. Teams from around the state teed it up in their sectional championships to earn berths into the state final. There will also be a cadre of individual competitors who played well enough on their own to earn a spot at GreatHorse without their team.
Last year's winner, Ryan Downes, competed as an individual, but he won't this year, as his Longmeadow team took home the West Sectional and he earned medalist honors.
For Downes, this is yet another opportunity to compete at his home course. His father, Billy Downes, is the head pro at the club. The 2022 Ouimet Memorial had its first two rounds at GreatHorse. Downes won the event. Downes was beaten in the semifinal of the Mass Junior Championship this past summer at GreatHorse by Carson Erick.
The course is one of the most challenging in Massachusetts. It straddles two sides of Wilbraham Road. One side has seven holes that are built on heaving hills with severe slopes. The other side has flatter land. The entire course is covered with deep bunkers that will surely help decide both the individual and team champion. The slick greens, which can be tough to read, will also play a big part in the action.
Let's meet the teams that qualified.