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IPSWICH, Massachusetts – Cheryl Murtagh and Janet Barbookles won the LaBonte Four-Ball tournament for the first time, taking home the title at their home course of Ipswich Country Club on Monday. Murtagh and Barbookles shot the only under-par round, a 2-under 70, edging out runners-up Barb Hecimovich (Beverly G&TC) & Joanne Catlin (Oak Hill CC) by two strokes.
The tournament was first contested in 1950, and in 1972 was renamed the “The Eleanor I. LaBonte” tournament. LaBonte served as Executive Secretary of what was formerly known as the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts for over 25 years and was Handicap Chairperson for 33 years. This year, the event became the LaBonte Four-Ball tournament.
“Today was a fitting venue for our women’s last tournament of the year,” said Naomi Nessenoff, Mass Golf’s Manager of Women’s Events & Player Development. “We’re thankful to all the players for participating in one or more of our tournaments this year. We’re so happy to be able to host these amazing events at such high-caliber facilities. We also appreciate all the volunteers and rules officials who have assisted us with all of our tournaments this season.”
In past years, Cheryl Murtagh would be in the thick of field hockey season. Murtagh, who won over 400 games as head coach at Northeastern University, has since retired, but that has allowed her to spend more time playing in competitive golf events.
“I never had time in the past,” said Murtagh, who made her Mass Golf debut at the Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy in early September at The Club at New Seabury.
“I love it,” she added. “You feel like you’re part of something that gets you nervous and play beautiful courses and play courses with great golfers.”
For her second Mass Golf event, Murtagh teamed up with Barbookles, the Ipswich CC Women’s Club Champion. The pair started on hole 13 and collected five birdies total, including on holes 16 and 17.
Murtagh said the pair never expected to be leading. Instead, they were just trying to keep pace with playing partners, Chrisann Taras (The International) and Danielle Lee (George Wright GC), who opened their round with a pair of birdies but finished 6-over.
“They were a good measure for us,” Murtagh said. “I didn’t look at the scores; I just wanted to keep playing.”
After consecutive bogeys on holes 3 and 4, Barbookles made a key birdie on the 142-yard par-3 5th as she landed her tee shot on the green and sank the putt to bring the duo back to 1-under. Murtagh added her final birdie on the 10th to help seal the victory.
“We enjoyed it,” Murtagh said. “It’s something we want to do again.”
Sally DeGan and Valerie Casella, both of the LPGA Amateur Golf Association, Boston, took home the Net title as the pair picked up eight net birdies to best the field by 1 stroke. DeGan, who serves on the Mass Golf Board of Directors, completed the 100 Hole Hike earlier this month to raise money for the Youth on Course program in Massachusetts.
Connie Hayton and Terry Durkin, both of Sagamore Spring GC, finished with net eagles on holes 3 and 12 and added six birdies en route to a net score of 6-under.
The 2020 Mass Golf Championship season will conclude Wednesday with the Mixed Four-Ball Championship for the Stone Cup at The Cape Club in Falmouth. The Stone Cup was previously a spring Team Tournament and was elevated to a Championship event open to men and women this year.
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