South Deerfield’s Jonathan Elkins in hunt after opening round of Mass. Junior Amateur

  • South Deerfield’s Jonathan Elkins watches his putt during opening round of the 101st Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship, Monday at Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston. Elkins shot a 3-over 75. DAVID COLT/MASSGOLF

Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2019 9:28:31 PM

BERNARDSTON — Jonathan Elkins knows titles are not won on the opening day of competition. But they can be lost.

The 18-year-old South Deerfield resident did enough to put himself in contention during Monday’s opening round of the 101st Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship at Crumpin-Fox Club. Elkins shook off a triple bogey on No. 10 and posted a 3-over 75, which tied him for 20th place.

“I’ve been struggling the last couple of weeks in first rounds so I’ve been going by the motto, ‘You can’t win it in the first round but you can lose it,’” Elkins said. “I worked on keeping the ball in play. The goal was not to get ahead of ourselves. Unfortunately, the 10th hole gave me a little trouble. But that was really my only big blemish.”

Winchester Country Club’s Trevor Lopez fired a 2-under 70 to sit alone in first place. Weston GC’s Max Hutter is one shot back at 1-under. The two were the only golfers to break par during a sweltering first round.

“I think all the top-20 players in the state for our junior scoreboard ranking are here,” Elkins said. “A lot of D-I commits, bunch of Mass. Am players. It’s just a strong field, year in and year out. It’s a tough test.”

Elkins is playing on a very familiar course. The Villanova commit first started playing competitive golf at Crumpin-Fox Club as a sixth grader at Eaglebrook School.

“I know the golf course better than anyone in the field,” he said. “It just helps knowing where not to miss, more than anything. If I can keep the ball out of bad spots, I’m going to put up a good round no matter what.”

Elkins made the turn at 1-over before running into the triple bogey on No. 10. He rallied with birdies on Nos. 15 and 17, and closed with a bogey on 18.

“(No. 10) is a tough hole. I got out of my game plan and unfortunately I made triple there,” he said. “I rebounded really well, I thought. My game plan is to be conservative off the tee and aggressive into the greens.”

Elkins is slated to tee off No. 10 for his second round at 1:25 p.m. on Tuesday. Following the 36-hole stroke play portion of the tournament the field will be cut down to 16 for single-elimination match play, which begins Wednesday.

“Every mistake is amplified here because there’s so many people for so few spots,” Elkins said.

Defending champion James Imai, of Brookline, is tied for third after an even-par 72. Beverly’s Michael Papamechail and Hopkinton’s Matt Epstein also shot 72s.

Elkins said originally he thought 7- or 9-over par might be enough to get to Wednesday, but with recent wet weather, scoring has been lower than expected. He thinks 4- or 5-over par might be the number needed to advance.

“There’s been so much rain the past two days that it’s a literal dartboard out there and people are scoring low,” Elkins said. “The greens are perfect.”

The champion, runner-up & Pre-Junior Division champions will receive exemptions (pending the submission of a completed registration) into the 2019 HJGT National Championship in Orlando, Florida. in December.

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