- Golfer Benefits
HINGHAM, Massachusetts – Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) felt her first-round lead slipping away after making the turn Wednesday, so she decided to give herself a little pep talk.
“I think we all have to have a little golf talk every once in a while with ourselves when things aren’t going right,” Johnson said. “I was able to kind of slow my swing down a little bit … and got it back together.”
Johnson responded to the three-hole bogey skid by making birdie twice and bogey just once over the final eight holes to finish 1-under 141 overall and capture the Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship for the Keyes Cup title at Black Rock Country Club (par-71, 5,644 yards).
Buoyed by her first-round of 5-over 66 on Tuesday, she finished 1-under overall (141), and in the process locked up the No. 1 spot in the Anne Marie Tobin Women’s Player of the Year points race.
The Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship began in 1950 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of what was formerly known as the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts. It was named after Grace B. Keyes, the winner of the inaugural Mass Women’s Amateur Championship in 1900 and a co-founder of the WGAM.
Though Tuesday was the first time Johnson played the course, she had more trouble the second time around. After a double-bogey on the seventh, she hooked her next tee shot left and missed a saving par putt.
Following some self-motivation after the 10th, Johnson battled back with her short game, making birdie on the final two par-3s.
The year, I think my putting and chipping improved a ton,” Johnson said. “Now I’m hitting it better and my ball striking is way better than it kind of has been in the last two years. If I can hit some good shots, hit it somewhat close I know with my putting being pretty good, I’ve got a good chance to make it.”
Johnson also set another personal milestone, sweeping the Women’s Stroke Play Championship and Women’s Mid-Amateur in the same year. She did so in 2016 when she first won Women’s Player of the Year honors. Before Johnson, Tara Joy-Connelly swept both events in 2013 and 2014, and also went on to win POY honors.
“It’s a little tough to kind of start peaking in the in the fall, knowing that there’s not much coming up for tournaments,” Johnson said. “But it’ll just be fun to play a little more casual golf with my friends and tee it up with the ladies at Thorny [Lea].”
Tracy Welch (Winchester CC) knew she had a tall task trying to catch up to Johnson, but she certainly made it interesting. After making birdie yesterday on the 441-yard, par-5 4th, she was able to eagle the hole following pretty much the same path.
“I hit a really good drive, almost in the same place where I was yesterday,” Welch said. “Yesterday, I hit a seven wood because I wanted the height to get over the hill. And so I hit the seven wood again, and it just I guess it just rolled down really close.”
Welch was even-par 36 on the front nine, but hit a rough patch on the back, finishing with one birdie and five bogeys to match Johnson’s final round score of 75.
“I had some chips that weren’t exactly as good as I would have liked but other than that, all in all I was happy with how I played and finishing with the par on 18 was nice because I did not play it well yesterday.”
Welch, the 2006 Mass Women’s Amateur champion, said she hasn’t been able to play in many Mass Golf events in recent years due to a full-time job and family commitments.
“I always wanted to play Black Rock, and this is a really good event,” Welch said. “Some of our summer plans because of COVID got canceled, so I decided I would use a couple of vacation days and come out and play. I’m excited that I did because I feel like a lot of parts of my game have been improving and it was nice to just to kind of put it together over two days.”
Defending champion Sue Curtin (Boston Golf Club) finished third overall after shooting an 80 on Wednesday to finish 10-over 152. Chelsea Curtis (George Wright GC), Curtin’s Four-Ball playing partner, finished one stroke back for fourth but made a 15 footer for par to close out her round.
Kym Pappathanasi (Tedesco GC) finished with a stat that would make most golfers jealous. On the back nine, she hit just 12 putts to finish with a two-day total of 165 and capture the Tournament Division title by one stroke.
“I just was trying to putt as well as I did yesterday,” said Pappathanasi, who won Mass Golf’s Curtis Bowl Scotch in 2019. “The greens ran fast and true.”
Pappathanasi, who also won the 2019 and 2020 Tedesco Ladies Club Championship, edged out a hard-charging Meg Watson (Crumpin-Fox Club), who made birdie three times in the final round.
With the players dead even on the final hole, Pappathanasi was able to get up and down for par on the 18th, while Watson made bogey.
For Pappathanasi, she said the real honors for her was getting to play her first two rounds at Black Rock and to be able to play in the final group at an event.
“That was a real treat,” she said.
Four past winners of the Keyes Cup competed in this year’s Championship Proper.
Karen Richardson (’03, ’04) – 25th
Diane Carter (’06) – T4
Sue Curtin (’17, ’19) – 3rd
Shannon Johnson (’16, ’18, ’20) – Winner
The final Mass Golf Women’s Championship on the schedule is the Mixed Four-Ball Championship for the Stone Cup, taking place October 21 at The Cape Club in Falmouth.
Before that, several players in the Mid-Amateur field will compete for the spot in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at the Sept. 29 qualifier at Scituate CC. Sue Curtin and Chelsea Curtis qualified last year, but the event was canceled due to COVID-19. In addition, Shannon Johnson will play with Megan Buck (Thorny Lea GC); Courtney Lee (Thorny Lea GC) will play with Mary Mulcahy; and Kim Walecka will play with Nicki Demakis.
“We’re pretty disappointed last year with kind of how we played,” Johnson said. “Megan and I are going to do our best to keep it together and, you know, hopefully kind of ding-and-dong well.”
To see Tuesday’s starting times, CLICK HERE