LONGMEADOW — Flynt Lincoln is more than just the sentimental favorite at this week’s 105th Massachusetts Amateur. With an estimated 1,500 rounds logged at Longmeadow Country Club, the longtime member might be the smart money, because none of the other 15 players remaining knows the course better than Lincoln.
Local knowledge is one thing. But he’s had success here, too. The last time the Mass Am was played at Longmeadow, in 1992, Lincoln advanced to the championship match, losing to Trevor Gliwski. Now he’s three wins from putting himself back in the final, after a long Wednesday that included three weather delays. The last one, which began at 6:47 p.m., suspended play for the day, with all eight matches still on the course.
“They’re great, because I know that I can do it,” Lincoln said, when asked for his memories from the 1992 Mass Am. “To make it to the finals . . . it was close, down to the wire, could have gone either way. Is it nice to win? Yeah, but you have to be very fortunate to win. I was very fortunate the next year.”
Lincoln followed his 1992 runner-up with a victory in 1993. Now, at 55, he’s put himself in position for a run at a second title. Lincoln, who was the No. 17 seed among the 32 match-play qualifiers, needed 22 holes to beat Jordan Burke on Wednesday morning. He was 1 up on Ian Thimble after nine holes in the afternoon at the time of the final weather delay. Play will resume, weather permitting, on Thursday at 7:30 a.m.
Thimble took out top-seeded Colin Brennan in his Round of 32 match, which also went extra holes. With a par on the 20th hole, Thimble advanced, the biggest upset, at least according to seed, on a day that saw five of the top six seeds lose in the first round. Second-seeded Andy Drohen, No. 3 Daniel Woodbury, No. 5 Steven Burak, and No. 6 Joe Harney all were sent home.
Did Thimble — who survived a seven-for-five playoff in Tuesday’s twilight just to make match play — consider himself the underdog?
“Definitely. Playing a big name like Colin, I knew he was going to play well, and I knew that I was going to play well,” said Thimble, a 23-year-old from Hyde Park. “I just had to compete. That’s what I’m good at.”
Of the five players who advanced from Tuesday’s playoff, four are still playing. All four are trailing in their matches, though. Nick McLaughlin is 1 down to Doug Clapp through eight holes, as is D.J. Hynes to Mark Donnellan. William Trainor is 2 down to defending champion Mike Calef through six holes.
Two matches are square (Herbie Aikens vs. Peter French, Matt Parziale vs. Brian Higgins), and two others have 1-hole leads (Sean Gaudette on John Gratton, Daniel Falcucci on Jason Steele). Parziale, at No. 4, is the highest seed remaining.
The schedule calls for the completion of second-round matches, then quarterfinals and semifinals, both listed for Thursday. The 36-hole championship match is supposed to be Friday.