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ACUSHNET, Massachusetts – The first of two days of the 2018 Massachusetts Women’s Senior Amateur Championship was held on Monday at Acushnet River Valley Golf Course. Champions from two divisions – Classes A & B – as well as the Legends Division, for those 70 years and older, were crowned on this day.
See below for complete divisional highlights from Monday’s action.
On Tuesday, a field of competitors from Classes C, D & E (i.e. those with an active Mass Golf/GHIN Handicap Index between 18.1 and 36.0) will travel to Acushnet to compete for divisional titles at Acushnet River Valley Golf Course.
The Massachusetts Women’s Senior Amateur Championship was introduced in 1946 when Margaret and Harriot Curtis presented what was then known as the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM) with the “Senior Bowl”. In 1958, a second trophy was added, presented by M.E. Philbrick, to the Senior Championship low net scorer (now known as the Philbrick Trophy).
In 1980, the age of eligibility was raised from 50 to 55 years of age. In 2010, the Gerry Baker Legend’s Trophy was introduced to recognize the overall low gross and overall low net for players age 70 or older. Beginning in 2016, the event format was changed to feature two independent tournaments – one for Classes A & B and another for Classes C, D & E.
In her Massachusetts Women’s Senior Amateur Championship debut, Natalie Galligan (Pocasset GC) delivered a message to never give up.
After making a triple bogey on her very first hole of the day at Acushnet River Valley Golf Course, Galligan responded by making two birdies and an eagle on her very next three holes to set the stage for her third career state individual title and her first since winning the 2001 Edith Baker Noblit Trophy.
“It feels great,” said Galligan, who was also victorious at the 1990 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. “Not to get too historical but most of my victories have been come-from-behind wins.”
On this day, Galligan finished with a score of 1-under par 71, which was one shot better than Christine Gagner (Bedrock GC).
Galligan, who became eligible for this event in February after turning 55 years old, will now have her name etched on the Senior Bowl, the permanent trophy which was first presented to the overall gross winner by Margaret and Harriot Curtis back in 1946.
“It’s just great to be here and to play with these women,” said Galligan. “I had a great playing partner today in Joanne Catlin. We have known each other for years, and we just had a great time all day just talking about our families. It was a great time.”
The road to this most recent victory is one that Galligan won’t soon forget given the rocky start and highs and lows that followed.
“I didn’t think that I was going to be mentally strong enough,” said Galligan. “I hit my tee shot into the hazard, but at that point I figured it was a nice day and I would just continue on and have fun.”
After that round-starting miscue, Galligan righted herself quickly. She first hit her approach on the 289-yard, par 4 2nd hole to 12 feet and then left herself with a four-foot birdie putt on the very next hole.
“After the first birdie I tried to tell myself that everything would be OK and that I was just two over at that point,” said Galligan.
The 30-foot eagle putt made on the very next hole – the 402-yard, par 5 4th hole – made the idea of a comeback win even that more real.
“This course gives you a lot of birdie opportunities where I can hit wedges and short irons into the greens,” said Galligan. “When I made that birdie, I was saying that this is really fun.”
She made the turn at even par 36 and was just one stroke off the overall lead at that time. She quickly took control by making birdie on the 10th and 12th holes and was 2-under par through 12 holes before suffering a double bogey on the 361-yard, par 4 13th hole.
“I was really angry about that because I hit my tee shot into the hazard,” said Galligan. “That was a lack of concentration on my part.”
While frustrating at the moment, that would be the final mistake of the day for Galligan. She would play her final five holes at 1-under par including a key – and what proved to be a championship winning – birdie on the 145-yard, par 3 17th hole.
It was a birdie that came unexpectedly and from the green-side bunker.
“It flew up and hit the flag stick and dropped right in,” said Galligan. “It is one of those shots when you start to think that maybe it was meant to be and fortune was on my side.”
Wagner, who was 1-under par through 16 holes, carded bogey on the 17th hole which opened the door for Galligan. Wagner finished at even par 72.
Finishing T3 and one stroke back of Wagner were MJ Wagner (Nashawtuc CC), Robyn St. Clair (Woodland GC) and Joanne Catlin (Oak Hill CC).
During the presentation ceremony, Carmen Madore (Beverly G&TC) was presented with the Hilbrick Trophy, which is awarded to the overall low net winner for Classes A & B. Madore, who also won the Class B Gross Division title, finished with a net score of 7-under par 65.
At the age of 75, Carmen Madore (Beverly G&TC) proved that victory can come at any age.
On Monday, the Beverly resident posted a score of 8-over par 80 at Acushnet River Valley Golf Course to capture the Class B Gross Division title which features competitors who are 55 years or older and who have an active Mass Golf/GHIN Handicap Index between 14.1 to 18.0.
“I am amazed,” said Madore, who bested a field of more than 15 Class B competitors. “I think that someone was in my body that wasn’t me. I enjoyed the course, and for some reason I was just swinging and doing fine and was comfortable out there.”
After making bogey on her first two holes of the day, Madore found her rhythm and carded par on five of her next six holes.
“I did feel calm,” said Madore. “I only had two holes that I thought I should have done better.”
Madore was solid on the back nine as she registered par on six out of her first seven holes after making the turn at 5-over par 41. She secured her divisional win by three strokes over Mary Barry (Norwood CC), who finished at 11-over par 83.
Sue Canavan (Presidents GC) captured third place, while Glenna Goodnow (South Shore CC) and Carolyn Urban (Wedgewood Pines CC) finished fourth and fifth overall, respectively.
For Madore, today’s victory represents the greatest win of her career.
“I didn’t start golf until I was 45, so I am pleased,” said Madore. “It is wonderful that women our age are still playing, and it’s wonderful to be with them. I enjoy it.”
And her advice for other women thinking about playing competitive golf over the age of 55?
“Take it up any time,” said Madore. “It is a great sport, and it’s great socializing. You meet people from everywhere, and it’s really nice.”
At the age of 71, Linda Goulet (Presidents GC) is enjoying golf more than ever before.
Goulet, who will turn 72 next month, posted a score of 7-over par 79 to capture the Legends Gross Division title for Classes A & B, which is a division reserved for those competitors who are 70 years or older.
As a result of her victory, Goulet will have her named etched on the Gerry Baker Legends Trophy.
“It is great to just be out here playing and enjoying the camaraderie,” said Goulet. “I am fortunate to be able to play a lot of golf now that I am retired.”
After making the turn at 5-over par 41, Goulet registered five straight pars on the back nine. It was a sensational back nine which featured seven pars and just two bogies.
Her stellar finish assured her of the top spot as she edged Carmen Madore (Beverly G&TC) – the Class B Gross Division winner – by just one stroke.
Finishing in third place overall in Legends play was Penny Locke (Marshfield CC) at 9-over par 81. Karen Richardson (Ould Newbury GC) and Mary Ahlander (Whaling City GC) were fourth and fifth, respectively.
In addition to Goulet, Madore will also have her name added to Gerry Baker Legends Trophy after winning the net title for those who are 70 years and older.
Madore’s net score of 7-under par 65 was six better than Locke’s score of 1-under par 71.