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HYDE PARK, Massachusetts – Fifteen minutes before play officially began at the 115th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship, a crowd of spectators, competitors, participants from The First Tee of Massachusetts and representatives from Mass Golf and the City of Boston gathered around the first tee for a historic moment.
Anne Marie Tobin, a seven-time winner of the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship, was on hand Monday to strike what was the first-ever ceremonial first drive to kick off the 115th playing of the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship.
“Anne Marie Tobin has been a trailblazer for Mass Golf,” said Jesse Menachem, Mass Golf’s Executive Director/CEO during the opening ceremonies. “She has done so much in many different ways and her impact has been realized both on and off the course. We consider ourselves so fortunate to have her as part of the Bay State golf scene and to be a part of this historic week.”
Despite not having played golf – competitive or recreational – in more than 10 years, time appeared to stand still at 7:45 a.m. when Tobin struck a perfect drive down the fairway which drew huge applause from the crowd that had made its way to Hyde Park this morning.
“I hit a couple of balls over there earlier and I don’t think that they went 20 yards combined, so you all brought me good luck,” said the always humble Tobin, who stands as the winningest female golfer in Massachusetts history.”
In addition to capturing the Women’s Amateur Championship a record seven times (1988, ’91, ’92, ’93, ’94, ’95 and 2000), including a string of five-straight victories from 1991 to 1995, Tobin claimed seven Grace Keyes Cup titles over a span of 18 years and was the Women’s Player of the Year in 1994, 1995 and 2000. She was officially inducted into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame in 2016.
While her performance on the golf course has been unmatched, her advocacy for the game off the course has been equally impactful. She stands as the first woman elected outright to what was formerly called the MGA Executive Committee and also was the first woman to complete a full two-year term as president of the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund. In 2008, she was bestowed the Ouimet Fund’s Richard F. Connolly, Jr. Distinguished Service Award.
During the opening ceremonies on Monday, Tobin reflected on the work that was done by a small group of women nearly 25 years ago. At that time, what was then called the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM) began talks about merging with the Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA). Although the efforts at that time did not lead to any major change, it no doubt set the stage for what transpired on January 1, 2018 when the two organizations were merged as one as Mass Golf.
“I know that on January 1st when the merger was official it was a big day for a lot of us,” said Tobin. “I want to congratulate Mass Golf for doing what they are doing. This is such an innovative concept to come to one of the best courses in Massachusetts and have these women have the treat of playing such a beautiful Donald Ross golf course.”
On hand to witness the ceremonial first drive were Dennis Roache, the Director of Administration of Boston Parks & Recreation Department at the City of Boston, as well as Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George.