There is nothing sweeter for a hosting membership than the chance to root for a local standard bearer in a major tournament. Just ask Frank Dully, the long-time head professional at Kernwood Country Club in Salem. He will never forget the membership support he got when Kernwood hosted the 2007 Massachusetts Open and battled eventual winner Geoff Sisk head-to-head (they were paired all three days) from start to finish, highlighted when each talented player fired course-record 64s in the second round.
Now Kernwood members have the chance to do the same for youthful member Matthew Bullock, who will be the club’s lone representative when Kernwood hosts the 106th Massachusetts Amateur July 14-18.
“I’m just glad we’ll have someone from the club in the field,” says Bullock, a senior-to-be at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut. “That it’s me, well, I’m proud to have the opportunity.”
Bullock, a former two-year player at St. John’s Prep before transferring to Loomis-Chaffee, shot a 74 at Bass Rocks to earn a spot in the 131 contestant field that competes in stroke play rounds Monday and Tuesday to determine the 32 players who advance to match play on Wednesday. The champion will be crowned after a 36-hole title match on Friday. (See tee times/pairings at mgalinks.org.)
Bullock, 18, had to overcome seeming disaster during his qualifier to make the grade (75 was the cutoff score). When he made a nine on the par-five seventh hole, capped by a four-putt from 40 feet, Bullock appeared to be in trouble, though he was only three over par at the time.
“I’d played well the first six holes (one under), so I just told myself after the nine to keep positive and make a birdie as fast as I can,” Bullock said. The Marblehead resident made two birdies after that, most important a 15-footer on the 240-yard 17th, and played the last 11 holes in steady two-over numbers.