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GRAFTON, Massachusetts – On Wednesday at Highfields Golf & Country Club, all eyes were on the team of Joanne Catlin (Oak Hill CC) and Kylie Ruschioni (Bedrock GC), as the three-time champions were back in the Mass Golf Mother & Daughter / Member & Junior Team Tournament field looking to find similar success to what they have enjoyed over the course of the past two decades.
The mother-daughter duo, who first won the second division together in 1999 when daughter Kylie was only a teenager, didn’t disappoint as the two combined to shoot a 4-over 76 in 18-holes to clinch their fourth overall title together and their first since 2010. Joanne, who lives in Ashburnham, and Kylie, who resides in North Reading, also won the overall title in 2004.
“We played great on the front, where we were even par,” said Ruschioni, who works for JDJ Family Office Services in Boston . “We struggled more on the back, where it was really wet.”
After making the turn at even-par 36, thanks in part to a birdie on the par-3 fifth hole to counter a bogey on the par-7 seventh, the mother-daughter duo added another birdie on the par-4 13th hole, which was playing at just over 300 yards for the day. Because of the wet conditions from the past two days, caused by heavy rains, the two did struggle on the back side, tallying five bogeys. Part of that was due to three-three putts that they had to battle back from.
Their ascension to the top of the leaderboard, however, was due in large part to the dynamic team work that the two displayed when it mattered most, whether it was from one of their two birdies in the round, or saving par when it was needed most.
On their aforementioned birdie on the par-3 fifth hole, for example, Catlin and Ruschioni were able to save key strokes as they bounced back from an erroneous shot and not only saved par, but actually got back a stroke on the leaderboard – one of the highlights of their round.
“My mom had a really amazing chip in on a par 3 fifth hole, where she was blocked out by a tree and then she had to go over a bunker,” recalled Ruschioni. “She was kind of dead and she would have been lucky to be able to get it on the green. She nicked the tree a little bit, just landed short and it went right in.
Mom added, “I was hoping just to get it on because she was on the back fringe.”
With their 4-over 76 performance, the team was able to best the 12 teams in the field, including a 13-stroke margin of victory over the second place team of Debbie Sullivan & Eileen Picariello.
SECOND DIVISION & NINE HOLE DIVISION
For the Welch & Adams family of Winchester, today will be a day that they will remember for a long time. Mother Tracy and her daughter Mandy captured the Mother & Daughter nine-hole title, shooting a 5-over 41 on the front nine on their victory, including an eagle on the final hole.
“On the seventh hole with Mandy, the key shot was when I hit it wide right into the trees and Mandy bombed her drive right on the hazard line, so I couldn’t ground my club, said Tracy, an 11-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship qualifier. “I was able to get it on and then she rolled it up really close. So, it was good, a lot of excitement.”
While one division title may be good enough for some families, this family was able to capture another title later on in the day. Playing with her older daughter Torey, the Welch/Adams duo was crowned the winners of the 18-Hole Division Flight 2, besting the second place team of Alia and Pina Godek, winners of the past two second division titles, by eight strokes.
While typical highlights of a round usually comes from golf shots, it was very different for the Welch family, as the highlight of the day came from something that couldn’t be controlled by the swing of a club.
“I guess for us, the excitement was on the 10th tee, Torey got stung by a bee and her back swelled up. We were just hoping that she was not allergic for it” said Welch following their round. “So we double bogeyed that hole, but then pulled together with a par on the next hole and then on the 12th hole, we both hit it in the water, so we took a drop. From 140 yards out, Torey put in on the green and we two putted to save five.
While winning with both daughters was a special experience for Welch, she was also thankful she could pass on the experience she had enjoyed with her mother down to her daughters.
“It was super fun because my mom was with us and I won this event when it was the South Shore Tournament with my mom and then when it became run by the [former] WGAM, I won this with her in 1998 and 2000. It was a great family event out there.”
Additionally, the duo of Fiona Zimmer (MIAA) and Terry Wappel (Foxborough CC) secured the 9-Hole Member Junior division.