Kernwood Country Club junior member and reigning club champion Christian Emmerich has not allowed a broken wrist suffered in a snowboarding accident in February to disrupt his 2019 tournament season.
The recent St. Mary’s of Lynn graduate dispelled any doubts along these lines the last few weeks after pulling off a rare amateur double by qualifying for both the Massachusetts Open and Massachusetts Amateur championships.
Emmerich, headed for Holy Cross in September, in both instances shot the exact score required to advance to the main events. One stroke higher and he would have missed the cut both ways.
The 5-10, 145-pounder tied for the ninth and final spot with a 76 at the Massachusetts Open qualifier at Salem a few weeks back, recovering from what appeared to be a disastrous triple bogey six on the par-three third hole. He played the last 15 holes in one over numbers, keyed by six straight pars to close out the round.
That punched his ticket to Vesper, where he shot 72-77-149 and missed the cut Tuesday by two strokes.
Last week Emmerich traveled to Foxborough Country Club for the Massachusetts Amateur qualifier. He misjudged his travel time and arrived on site only 20 minutes prior to his tee time and 10 minutes before he was expected on the tee. “I was lucky I had time to take a few practice shots and putts and get going,” Emmerich revealed.
Worse yet, Emmerich had never seen the course, so it was no surprise that the Swampscott resident made two bogeys right off the bat and again found himself behind the eight ball. But as he had done at Salem, Christian kept his wits, played the final 16 holes in even par and made it just under the wire with a 73, the final qualifying score. He’ll now play the Massachusetts Amateur at The Country Club, site of the 2022 U.S. Open, July 15 to 19.
“I kept remembering, with those shaky starts, what my coach, Keith Busey, an assistant pro at Kernwood, always said: ‘Keep battling, forget about the bad hole and get back on track any way you can.’ That approach works for me,” said Emmerich.
Emmerich has every reason to play with confidence, lousy opening holes or not. Last fall he won his second straight Division 3 state individual title and led St. Mary’s of Lynn to its second Division 3 team title in succession. Last summer he won the prestigious Bay State Cup for top-ranked juniors, thus qualifying for the PGA Junior championship set for next month in Connecticut. He was also semifinalist at last year’s Massachusetts Junior at Belmont.
He is grateful he was simply able to play in the aforementioned qualifying rounds after his mishap on the slopes of Cranmore in New Hampshire in February.
“We were snowboarding at night with plenty of lights, though a little icy,” Emmerich explained. “We were doing some simple jumps and on one of my jumps I hit the ground hard. The board slid out from under me and I landed on my wrist.”
Luckily it was not his shoulder, which can take a year when severely in injured.
The family drove home and Christian saw Dr. Jonathan Uroskie at Sports Medicine North in Peabody. “He took good care of me,” Christian said gratefully. “I was in a cast for six weeks, then it was back to golf in April. The wrist has been fine ever since.”
Better still, he gets to play golf in the fall for noted PGA professional Steve Napoli at Holy Cross, where Kernwood head pro Frank Dully was golf captain. Napoli was one of the many assistants at Salem Country Club during the Billy Ziobro regime who went on to exemplary careers as head professionals.
Christian’s older brother Max is making news, too. He has transferred from McDaniel Collegein Maryland to Salem State, where he will play for coach Kevin Daly.
Ferncroft’s Athan Goulos was the best North Shore finisher at Vesper, where the winner, Michael Martel, of New Ipswich, N.H. shot 2-under 204. Athan shot 217 with a solid 70 start. Bass Rocks’; James Turner also shot 217 while Bass Rocks assistant pro Jake Kramer shot 222.
We mourn the passing of Ken Spellman and Ed Brown.
Some “Best Courses” lists are out for 2019, leading with Golf Digest’s “Best Golf Courses in Massachusetts” ranking. The Country Club is No. 1, followed by the Crenshaw-Coore gem Old Sandwich in Plymouth. Then the North Shore’s best gets recognized. Essex is third, followed by Myopia in fourth place and Salem in eighth. Kernwood should be in the top 20 but isn’t ... Golfweek magazine’s top 100 “Classic” list features Myopia 34th, Essex 43rd and Salem 71st. I am constantly stunned by why the course raters for these publications give so much support for courses that have retained their original design characteristics and not more voting strength for classic courses that are still capable of hosting major tournaments, like Salem.
Belated acknowledgment here on the passing of America’s greatest golf writer since Herbert Warren Wind in the blunt and irreverent Dan Jenkins. The pride of Fort Worth wrote about all the great ones during his years with Sports Illustrated and Golf Digest and authored the funniest golf novel ever with “Dead, Solid Perfect.” His likes shan’t be seen again. Same goes for our own North Shore golfing author of world repute, John Updike, who died 10 years ago at age 76, but not before enjoying all the wonderful golf that our region had to author, from Candlewood and Cape Ann on the public side to Myopia, where he was a member the last 20 years of his life on the private side. John honored me and Salem Country Club by accepting our invitation to pen an essay for the 2001 U.S. Senior Open magazine, of which I was executive editor. The piece was so well received and held up so appealingly over the years that I included it in the 2017 U.S. Senior Open magazine as well. He did the essay giving us an 80 percent discount on his standard “magazine” fee. So we got him over to Salem CC for a “thank you” round which he loved. “Quite different from Myopia,” he quipped afterward, “and now I have a new course to love,” since it was his first round at Salem.
Reading The Greens is a weekly golf on North Shore golf by Gary Larrabee, a former Salem News sportswriter from 1971-1995. He has covered golf locally and beyond for the last 50 years.