EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — It has been a storied collegiate career for Attleboro golfer Davis Chatfield, including An NCAA Division 1 All-America selection and an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection.
On Wednesday, the recent University of Notre Dame graduate strode to the No. 1 tee at Wannamoisett Country Club for the 60th Northeast Amateur golf tournament after having concluded his career in South Bend as one of the best-ever student athletes to represent the Fighting Irish on the golf course.
Chatfield came in with a 1-over-par first round of 70, scoring 15 pars to go with bogeys at No. 2 (pushing his drive into the rough) and at No. 9 (a 7-foot par putt sliding by the cup) along with one birdie, when he dropped in a one-foot putt on the 585-yard, par-5 No. 17 hole.
“I’ve been playing great,” Chatfield said of his first round on his home course. “With that wind in the afternoon, I didn’t want to get too aggressive. You could make some bad bogeys and be out of it.”
Chatfield is making his sixth Northeast Amateur appearance, coming off of a career-best fourth-place finish in 2021. Last year, Chatfield broke 70 during three of the four rounds and finished just five shots behind the champion.
The No. 92-ranked amateur in the world, and a former Bishop Feehan High golf standout, Chatfield is also a two-time (2015-16) winner of the Marc Forbes Trophy as champion of the Attleboro Area Golf Association Open.
Chatfield had a trio of frontside birdie chances and eight on the backside to start this year’s Northeast Amateur, but saved his best putt for the par-3 No. 12 hole, hitting over the green with his drive and then nailing a 15-foot put for par from above the cup.
“I hit a great shot in there and it went over (the green), I got a little too greedy really,” Chatfield said. “That putt was huge for me going forward. I knew that I had some opportunities coming up, but I didn’t capitalize on all of them,” he said of having a 25-foot birdie put at No. 13 from above the up, a 22-footer at No. 15 from below the cup (leaving it one inch wide), a 30-footer at No. 16 and an 8-footer from below the cup at No. 18.
Chatfield’s Notre Dame teammate and Irish senior golfer Andrew O’Leary of Norfolk came in with a 4-over-par 73. He finished with with 10 pars, but also had a trio of costly frontside bogeys to go with birdies at No. 5 and at No. 14.
“It’s nice warming up with Andrew, being teammates — it felt like college again,” Chatfield said of playing in a twosome just behind O’Leary. “It felt like any other college tournament.”
The Fighting Irish duo is well behind Pepperdine’s Dylan Menante, the defending Northeast Amateur champion, who toured the course during non-blustery morning conditions with a 7-under-par 62.
“I hit it well, but I didn’t get too much out of it,” Chatfield said of the course and afternoon weather. “The scores were a lot different in the morning than they were in the afternoon. I missed some putts early – honestly, the whole day. I didn’t get it in the hole.”
Chatfield concluded his Notre Dame career at the NCAA Regional Tournament held in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where he shot a 2-over-par 218 to lead the Fighting Irish with rounds of 72, 69 and 77. He finished in a tie for 16th place individually while Notre Dame came in ninth as a team. O’Leary closed at 246.
Chatfield took home NCAA Division 1 All-Regional honors this season, just the second Notre Dame golfer to earn such honors for three consecutive seasons. He also posted seven top-10 individual finishes during the 2021-22 competitive calendar year for Notre Dame and missed qualifying for the U.S. Open in Ohio by one shot in a playoff.
“I could have finished (at Notre Dame) in four years and gone on my merry way, but the way that I finished last year, I didn’t think that I was ready for professional golf,” Chatfield said. “That whole (NCAA pandemic-granted extra year of eligibility) gave you a full schedule, we traveled a ton, played in a lot of good tournaments – it was kind of a no-brainer in my eyes.
“That extra year goes a long way. It (his game) kind of kick-started last year here (at the Northeast Amateur) and since then I really feel like I belong, I feel like I’ve shown it. I feel more confident, you feel like you can beat anyone.”
Earlier during the spring 2022 season, Chatfield captured the No. 10 spot at the ACC Championship Tournament in Panama City, Fl.and was the runner-up at the North Carolina State-hosted Stitch Tournament in Raleigh, N.C.
At the regular season closing Stitch Tournament Chatfield shot a 3-under-par score of 213 (71, 70, 72) for his best individual showing ever, creating a run of six consecutive sub-par rounds in tournaments.
Then at the Shark’s Tooth Golf Course in Panama City for the ACC Tournament, Chatfield shot a 6-under-par score of 210 (71, 71, 68). Chatfield moved from the 24 th spot after two rounds into the top 10 to become the first Notre Dame student-athlete to record three top-30 placements, improving from a No. 28 spot in 2017 to a No. 12 spot in 2018.
Chatfield finished the season with a 71.27 stroke average in 12 events, which places him No. 4 on the Notre Dame single season list. Chatfield reduced his career stroke average from 71.79 to 71.63 which ranks second on the all-time list at Notre Dame.
“I’m hoping for the same exact (non-windy) weather in the morning (Thursday) so that we can go low,” Chatfield said of his second round. “I know that I played well enough to shoot a number. I played smart.”