After walking more than a marathon and a half the for five days on the South Shore, Nick Maccario returned home and took a bit of a break.
Of course, the “break” was centered around golf. He was watching his girlfriend play nine holes at the Garrison Golf Center Par 3 course in Haverhill.
“It’s nice just watching,” Maccario said.
Maccario, 28, based out of Bradford Country Club, did the Merrimack Valley proud last week.
He made it to the final hole of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship at The Kittansett Club in Marion, falling just short to eventual champion Matthew Organisak of Nashawtuc County Club in Concord.
Maccario not only played 144 holes from Monday through Friday — he finished in the top 13 over the two days of stroke play to qualify for match play en route to beating three former Mass. Am champs — Steven Delisio (2019), Benjamin Spitz (2006) and Matt Parziale (2017) — to get to the final match.
Maccario was a bit tired after it all.
“When I did the math, adding up all of the walking I did, from hole to hole, it was over 40 miles,” he said.
That’s not including the mental fatigue, competing against one of the deepest and most talented fields in the Mass. Am’s rich history.
Maccario is not the typical, new-age golfer. First off, the 2014 St. Anselm graduate works a full-time job as an internal wholesaler for Fidelity.
He never had pro aspirations. His body-type would not be termed "athletic.'' And he doesn’t hit it as long as the “kids” do.
But over the last few years, if you look on the leader board on the final day, his name is typically on it. Last year, he made it to the round of 16. In 2016, he made it to the quarterfinals.
“He’s always there,” said University of Rhode Island senior Chris Francoeur, who like Maccario is a St. John’s Prep golf alum. “He won the Mid-Amateur (by 15 strokes) last year. Every tournament he plays in, his name is always on the leader board.
“Nick just doesn’t make mistakes,” said Franceour, who played with Delisio, a Duke University senior and another St. John’s Prep alum, and Maccario recently at Renassiance Golf Club in Haverhill.
After being tied with Organisak through the first 18 holes in the Mass. Am final, Maccario lost the next two holes. He was four strokes down through six holes and had to fight the rest of the way.
And fight he did.
Maccario played the last 12 holes at 3 under par, without a bogey.
But it wasn’t enough, as Organisak made two big putts — from five feet and six feet — on the 15th and 16th holes — and never gave up the lead.
Down two holes with two to go, Maccario won the 17th hole with a birdie to force another hole. But Organisak hit a perfect drive and nice approach to the green, forcing Maccario to need a birdie. Maccario’s last putt ran by the hole.
“You have to give (Organisak) credit,” said Maccario. “I threw the book at him and he responded.”
The same could be said for Maccario.
Maccario has won several smaller tournaments, including three titles in the locally-based Healey Memorial Tournament.
But this second-place showing is probably his best.
“The experience was awesome,” he said. “It was like a marathon. It was tiring mentally and physically. Usually you play 18 holes per day. But this goes from stroke play to match play, playing 36 holes each day for three days. And to draw (and beat) three straight former champs makes this special.”
Because of his success in the tournament, everything seems to have changed.
“I used to hope to qualify for the Mass. Am. Then I’d hope to qualify for match play,” said Maccario, who is playing in the New England Amateur this week and Ouimet Memorial the following week.
“Previously, I always knew I was pretty good,” said Maccario. “But to get that birdie on the 17th hole, then take a good swing on 18th tee, which ended up rolling to an unlucky place, I will draw on that ... I expect more out of myself now.”
Maccario wasn’t the only Haverhill resident who got a marathon experience, walking over 40 miles the last five days. His caddy, Mackenzie Murphy, was there for about 75 percent of it.
Mackenzie, whose family owns the Garrison Golf Center and Bradford Country Club, is entering her senior year at Haverhill High. She is also an elite golfer with aspirations to play in college.
Players in the first two medal play rounds carry their own bags. McKenzie carried for Maccario Wednesday through Friday for 36 holes per day,
Maccario worked for the Murphy family at Garrison and Bradford County Club.
“Mackenzie was great, carrying about 50 pounds, about half her weight, for all those miles,” said Maccario. “She was a big help. She always had water or a snack, a lot of behind the scenes maintenance. But I remember on the back nine that last day, she pounded me on the shoulder and said, ‘This isn’t over.’ It really helped.''