HAMPDEN, MA — John Hayes and Reese McFarlane made the trek to GreatHorse in western Massachusetts yesterday hoping to qualify for the 8th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship against a stacked field with players from across the country. Playing in the morning wave, the duo of Purpoodock Club members fired an impressive 66 (-6) post an early number at the top of the leaderboard, a score that ended up holding all day as teams continued to finish their rounds.
This qualifier had three spots available to the low scoring teams, and after a five hour wait for the afternoon wave to finish, Hayes, 32, and McFarlane, 25, were one of four teams to finish at -6 after regulation. With sunlight waning in the late summer hours and the balance of the qualifier hanging in the balance in the 4-for-3 playoff, Hayes made a lengthy birdie on the second playoff hole to move the team into the national championship to be contested next May at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina.
Both players grew up in Cape Elizabeth and have played golf together for years, but this was the first time the two have teamed up in the Four-Ball. They came out firing, with Hayes making birdie on the first hole, followed by an eagle at the 585-yard par 5 2nd. Despite dropping two shots on the day, including on the 18th hole while at -7, their score of 66 was good enough to get to the playoff that finished with the aid of fading sun and golf cart headlights.
This will be the first USGA championship for McFarlane, who most notably won the 2018 New England Amateur Championship at Portland CC in front of a home crowd on Casco Bay.
Hayes is no stranger to big wins on the Maine stage, previously winning the Junior Championship, Maine Amateur, and two Mid-Amateur titles. The Four-Ball at Kiawah Island will be his fourth USGA championship, having competed in the U.S. Amateur (2016) and U.S. Mid-Amateur (2017, 2021).