Northeast Amateur Preview – The Local 7

Some of the best amateurs and mid-amateurs in the world have descended on Wannamoisett Country Club for the 60th Northeast Amateur Invitational. 

This year’s Amateur features seven players that are either from Rhode Island or have strong ties to the state. 

With that as the focus, here is preview of the Rhode Island contenders.

Davis Chatfield 

Chatfield’s collegiate career has come to an end and now he begins a critical run through the Amateur circuit this summer. 

Last week, Chatfield finished inside the top 20 at the Sunnehanna Amateur after getting off to a slow start in the first round. 

Prior to that, he finished 15th at the NCAA Regionals, but Notre Dame missed the NCAA Championship cut. 

Davis Chatfield PHOTO: Notre Dame

Despite that, Chatfield had an incredible spring season for the Irish, moving up the PGA Tour U rankings at a rapid pace, nearly making it into the top 15. 

He was named to the PING All-Region team and received ACC Honors. 

Last year, Chatfield finished fifth at the Northeast Amateur and had a real chance to win it right up until the last several holes. 

He will look to finish a few spots higher this season. 

Joe Tucker 

Valley Country Club’s Joe Tucker earned his way into the Northeast Amateur field by winning the 2021 Stroke Play Championship at Alpine. 

Tucker posted a three-round score of 7-under par 209 to win the title by four shots over Moses Brown star Harry Dessel.  

Joe Tucker PHOTO: Joe Calabro/GolfNewsRI

Prior to his big victory, Tucker had contended in plenty of state tournaments in previous years including runs in the Rhode Island Amateur. 

It will be fun to watch Tucker compete on the big stage this week at Wannamoisett. 

Billy Forcier 

Rhode Island’s Billy Forcier might know Wannamoisett as good as anyone in the field. 

He is the defending Wannamoisett club champion. 

Forcier also qualified for last year’s U.S. Mid-Am held in Cape Cod, where he missed the cut.

He also missed the cut at last year’s Northeast Amateur, shooting 24-over par.  

He will look for a better outing this time around.

Chris Francoeur 

After missing the cut at the Sunnehanna Amateur last week, the former University of Rhode Island star will look for a bounce back performance this week. 

Francoeur is coming off the end of his collegiate career where he helped lead Louisville to the NCAA Tournament. 

Chris Francoeur PHOTO: Louisville

The Cardinals did not get out of the Regional round. 

With the Northeast Am, and other top Amateur tournaments, now being part of the Elite Amateur Series, Francoeur still has a lot to play for at the amateur level this summer. 

A bounce back performance at the Northeast Am will be key. 

Andrew O’Leary 

The 2019 Rhode Island Amateur Champ, and two time runner up, returns to the Northeast Amateur after making the cut last year. 

He even got a hole-in-one in the process.

O’Leary got off to a great start this past college season, even clinching the Stephens Cup for Notre Dame in the fall. 

Andrew O’Leary PHOTO: Joe Calabro/GolfNewsRI

However, in the spring season, particularly in the NCAA Tournament he struggled. 

O’Leary finished near the bottom of the pack in both the ACC Championship (which Notre Dame missed the match play cut), and the NCAA Tournament Regional. 

In the NCAAs, O’Leary finished 67th overall. 

He will look to right the ship with a good showing at the Northeast Amateur this week. 

Bobby Leopold

One of the best amateur players ever to come out of Rhode Island, Bobby Leopold is back in the field at the Northeast Amateur looking for another run. 

Leopold is the defending Rhode Island Amateur Champion and will look to make another run at the Northeast Amateur. 

Bobby Leopold PHOTO: Joe Calabro/GolfNewsRI

Leopold finished in a tie for 34th in 2019 at the Northeast Amateur, with his highest ever finishing coming in 2010 when he finished 13th. 

He did not make the cut last year. 

This year, Leopold has been on a roll.

Back in February, he finished second at the Gasparilla Invitational down in Florida and most recently, he and brother-in-law Tyler Cooke won the Rhode Island Four-Ball Championship. 

Patrick Welch

A few weeks ago, the former Classical star formerly announced that he was returning to Oklahoma for his final season of eligibility. 

GolfNewsRI had previously reported that he was likely returning to school after he pulled his name out of the PGA Tour University rankings when he was on the cusp of a top 15 spot. 

Patrick Welch PHOTO: Oklahoma

Overall, Welch had a good college season. 

He won the Southern Highlands Collegiate and earned a start on the PGA Tour coming in October. 

Welch also went low a couple of times, shooting 62 in Puerto Rico, which is an Oklahoma record. 

Oklahoma won the Big 12 Championship, but suffered a stunning upset in the NCAA Championship, losing to Arizona State in the first round.  

Welch lost his match. 

Last week, Welch finished 57th at the Sunnehanna Amateur. 

Last year at the Northeast Amateur, Welch didn’t make the cut. 

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