Owen Quinn has the chance to achieve something only another golfer has – winning the Worcester County Amateur Title for the third year in a row.
Mass Golf Hall of Famer Frank Vana, 58, from Marlboro CC has won the tournament six times, three times in a row, in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Last year he finished fourth overall and won the senior class for golfers aged 55 and over.
Nick Marrone, Co-owner and golf director at Wachusett CC in West Boylston, said he brought Quinn and Vana together for Saturday’s opening round at Kettle Brook GC in Paxton, but Vana did not attend the event this year. The 96-strong field contests the final round at the Wachusett next Sunday.
Quinn says he always enjoys playing in the same group with Vana.
“I love playing with Frank,” said Quinn. “He’s arguably, probably not even, the best amateur Massachusetts has ever come out of in terms of the awards and career he has. And he’s one of the nicest guys in all of Mass Golf. Playing with him is always something special because you know the success and the parentage that he has. “
Quinn has a good pedigree of his own. His father, Fran, won the first two Worcester County amateur titles in 1986 and 1987. Owen has won the last two and plans to make it three in a row before turning pro this fall.
“It will be a test,” said the 22-year-old Holden resident, “but I know the courses very well. I’ve played them both countless times. I just have to go out and play my game and hopefully do it again. “
Quinn repeated himself as the Worcester County’s amateur champion last year, shooting a 1-under 71 and finishing 5 under 139 in the second round on his home course from Wachusett CC. Max Ferrari from Framingham CC finished a shot behind, and Tim Umphrey from Worcester CC and Tatnuck CC two landed back. Umphrey, the 2017 Worcester County’s amateur champion, has turned pro.
Here come a couple of teammates
Quinn recruited two of his former Lehigh University teammates to play and advance the juniors the next weekend David Hurly from Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and Sam Barton from Center Tuftonboro, New Hampshire.
Kyle Tibbetts, the champion of 2018, Eddy Black, the 2016 winner who regained his amateur status, and David Holmes, the 2002 and 2005 champion, also play.
Wachusett and Kettle Brook lost their functional business last year due to the pandemic, but both courses were busy and together offered nearly 80,000 rounds, Marrone said.
Quinn’s dad was with him when he repeated himself as the Worcester County amateur champion last year, but he won’t be able to watch him try three times in a row. He’s slated to play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, a PGA Tour Champions event, next weekend.
Fran Quinn returned to the PGA Tour Champions this year after being sidelined for a year and a half with a shoulder injury.
“It’s great,” said Owen. “It’s been a long 18 months. I’ve watched him golf my whole life and seeing him on the shelf was super weird and I felt awful to him. “
The younger Quinn sank an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole and won the Amateur Invitational with a shot June 9-10 at New England CC in Bellingham.
“It was nice to do a birdie when I was 18 because I knew I had to do a birdie when I was 18,” he said.
He shot 68-70 to finish at 4 under. Sean Magarian, a former T&G Golfer of the Year at West Boylston High, was among the three golfers who tied for second place. Magarian and Assumption teammates Ryan Fillebrown captured the Walter Cosgrove Worcester County amateur on the Green Hill Municipal Golf Course June 5-6.
Magarian will also play amateur in Worcester County. His older brother Zach, recently became an Assistant Pro at TPC Boston and is a good friend of Quinn.
The Quinns both played with the Mass. Open June 14-16 at Oak Hill CC in Fitchburg. Fran split in 37th and Owen couldn’t putt well and missed the cut.
Quinn shot a 1-under 71 with his father as a caddy on June 17th in the pre-qualification to get into the Monday qualification for this week’s Travelers Championship. On Monday he shot a 2-under 70 at the Ellington Ridge CC and missed qualifying by three shots.
“It was the first Monday qualifier I played,” he said, “and there were a lot of very well-known professionals and it was great to be right there and have a chance.”
Call comes for Northeast amateur
Quinn’s disappointment in not qualifying disappeared Tuesday night when he received a call to play in the prestigious Northeast Amateur at Wannamoisett CC in Rumford, Rhode Island, starting the next day. Someone withdrew and Quinn took his place. His father carried his bag.
The day after the Worcester County Amateur, he will fly to Minnesota July 6-9 to play in the Trans-Mississippi Amateur for the first time. He will be in measure the following week. Tee off amateur at Brae Burn CC in West Newton.
Quinn graduated from Lehigh in 2020 with a GPA of 3.77 while earning a degree in accounting and finance. Due to COVID, he was eligible to return to golf for a fifth year while doing his masters degree in technical entrepreneurship online last spring. His grade point average was 3.99. An A minus in a one-credit grade cost him a perfect 4.0.
This spring he was inducted into the Academic All-Patriot League team for the third time. He was also named a fourth time on the Patriot League’s academic list of honor and was twice named a Srixon-Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar.
Quinn’s good friend, Brendan Cronin, a recent Lafayette graduate, received the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for men’s golf. Cronin, a Sutton resident and a graduate of St. John’s High School, was a medalist at the Central Mass. Division 1 tournament 2016.
Quinn isn’t just intelligent, he’s a good sport. In May he received the Sportsmanship Award from the Lehigh Athletics Department. He said he learned to become a good teammate at a young age while playing football, basketball, and baseball.
“Golf is such an individual sport,” he says, “but with a background in team sports, I was able to learn what it takes to be positive and cheer on my teammates and other people in the athletics department.”
Aside from the Quinns and Vana, the only other consecutive champion was the Worcester County amateur ester Scott Hawley 2000 and 2001. Jim Ruschioni won the event three times (1988, 1992, 1994) but not in consecutive years.
There’s always a chance both Quinns will win next Sunday.
“If that were the case, it would be a dream,” said Owen. “That would be an absolute dream. That would be movie stuff. Let’s hope that is the case. “
Quinn said to his mother Lori, will likely be at Dick’s Caddy for his father, and his sister Erin will likely be in New York too. His brother Sean studying at NYU this summer. So next weekend his next of kin will be his cousin Matt Quinn. The aspiring junior at St. John’s High recently qualified for the IMG Junior World Championship in Torrey Pines July 13-16.
Quinn believes his cousin could get him a run in the Worcester County amateur. They play at Worcester CC almost every day.
“I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks with my class and then I’ll teach him what he wants,” Quinn said with a laugh.
Column is back
I just came out of retirement to resume writing the weekly golf column. The main reason I’m back is because in my 45 years of writing about sports I’ve always found local golfers to be some of the best and most interesting people I’ve interviewed.
There are many golf stories out there, but I will need my readers’ help to find them. If you have ideas for future golf columns, please feel free to contact me at the email address below. Many Thanks.
—Contact Bill Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ BillDoyle15.