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MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, Massachusetts – New England Women’s Amateur champion Megan Buck (Thorny Lea Golf Club) shot her second consecutive under-par round Wednesday to lead the 32 players advancing to match play at the 117th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship at Essex County Club.
At the conclusion of 36 holes of stroke play over the past two days, the low 16 scorers now advance to the Championship Flight of match play. Players who finished 17-32 will move on to the President’s Cup Flight. The Round of 16 and Quarterfinals will begin Thursday, followed by the Semifinals and Finals on Friday.
The Championship Flight matches will begin at 7:30 a.m. followed by the start of the President’s Cup at 8:50 a.m. All match play matchups with be 18-hole matches. In the event of a tied match, the winner shall be decided immediately by a hole-by-hole play-off.
Megan Buck said finishing at the top of the leaderboard was “icing on the cake” following the first two days of the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. Buck shot her second consecutive under-par round, finishing 3-under overall with a 72-71–143.
In the process, she became the first person to shoot the low gross score and win the Osgood Memorial Cup, given to the Low Net player, since Mass Golf took over the event in 2018. If Buck wins the Championship, she’ll be the third consecutive medalist to win the championship flight.
“I take a lot of confidence from the first two days of stroke play,” said Buck the 2020 New England Women’s Amateur Champion. “I really do like the course, and it’s in great shape. I feel pretty comfortable on the tee, and I guess guessing it’s leaving me good numbers.”
Buck set herself up nicely with five birdies, including three on the back nine. She said strong approach shots with her irons helped her make par or better on her last seven holes.
“I did have a couple of good looks at birdie, which makes it for a relaxing day,” Buck said. “If you’re just tapping in for par make it stress-free.”
Despite the early success, Buck knows it’ll take much more to emerge as the champion. In 2018, she made it to the quarterfinals and last year was eliminated in the opening round, despite finishing sixth overall.
In the opener, she’ll face Mary Chamberlain (Cummaquid Golf Club), who got the final spot by shooting a 3-over 76 in the second round, nine strokes better than the day prior.
“It’s great to play well in the stroke, but we’re really the goal is to make it to match play,” Buck said. “Now it’s just a full reset.”
Buck’s clubmate Shannon Johnson, the 2018 Mass Women’s Amateur champion, finished second overall going 73-72–145 over two days. Though she finished with a bogey, she said she’s confident her game is heading in the right direction entering match play.
“I enjoy match play a lot,” said Johnson, who will play Molly Smith (Vesper CC) in the Round of 16. “I think it frees you up as a player just to go out there and you can be a little more aggressive at times. I think this golf course sets up really well for some great match play holes.”
Rebecca Skoler (Pine Brook Country Club), an incoming freshman at the University of Virginia, finished third in stroke play, matching Buck with a second-round score of 2-under to finish 2-over for the tournament. She finished one seed over defending champion Angela Garvin (The Ranch Golf Club), who shot even-par 73 on Wednesday.
Skoler has put herself in a good position to follow in Garvin’s footsteps by winning the Girls’ Junior Amateur and the Women’s Amateur in the same year.
“It’s been the goal after last week,” Skoler said.
WATCH: ROUND 2 VIDEO RECAP
Jacquelyn Stiles (Nashawtuc Country Club), of Merrimack College, has the No. 1 seed in the President’s Cup, finishing 16-over overall. She matches the next two seeds Jacquelyn Gonzalez (Charles River Country Club) and Sue Curtin (Boston Golf Club). Gonzalez won the President’s Cup in 2013.
Also in the President’s Cup Flight are Pam Kuong (Charles River Country Club), the 2008 and 2010 Women’s Amateur champion, along with 2009 President’s Cup winner Lindsay Muse (Bas Ridge GC). Tracy Welch (Winchester CC), who won the 1998 Championship Proper, is also in the Presidents Cup.
Miriam Pearlstein (KOHR Golf Center) took the 32nd spot overall, shooting 86-83–169.
Many words come to mind after taking on the scenic, historic and very challenging Essex County Club. We asked some of today’s players to give us a one-word answer on what they thought of the course.
Lindsay Cone (Granite Links Golf Club) was once one of the most distinctive two-sport athletes in the country. Cone helped lead the University of Denver to a national championship in skiing, but she was also a member of the Denver women’s golf team.
Born and raised in Killington, Vermont, Cone naturally gravitated to skiing, but she also started playing golf at age 7 as a summer sport to stay active. Skiing typically won out as the primary sport, though, as Cone was a two-time All-American at Denver who went on to compete around the world for Team USA at World Cup events from 2010-2013.
“It is a rare combination,” said Cone, who splits time living in Vermont and Boston. “I found that the better my golf game got during the summer, the better I was able to compete the next year in skiing. I found that they correlate really well mentally.”
Injuries forced Cone to cut her skiing career short, but she said golf was always there when she needed it.
“Golf was a little bit more relaxed and allowed me to come back to when I was healing and recovering,” Cone said.
At 32, Cone has been trying to elevate her golf game as a mid-amateur. She finished T6 at the Vermont Women’s Amateur last week and this week is making her debut in the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur.
“The last couple it’s been a goldmine the last couple years to get back into it,” Cone said. “For me personally, it takes a lot of time and dedication to get my game back to the level that I want it to be.”
While golf isn’t quite the same high-adrenaline sport as skiing is, she still gets her fix outside of golf. Cone is into all sorts of athletic pursuits – everything from cycling to kite surfing. She also made news in 2011 when she had to hike out of her hometown on a trail to catch her flight to Denver. At that time, Hurricane Irene had damaged or washed out all the roads leading out of Killington.
Cone studied finance in college and has turned that into a career working as Senior Director of Global Finance for Spartan Race, Inc, which hosts a series of obstacle races over varying distances. Cone said the company has been supportive of Cone’s pursuits going forward, especially if she can begin to really excel at golf.
“It’s fun to have that as the culture and get outdoors,” Cone said. “There’s supportive of my adventure.”
And now the only question is: Where will that adventure take her next?
Maureen Haynes (Blackstone GC) likes to keep things fresh, especially when it comes to making pasta. Haynes and her husband Jon started their pasta business, Auntie Dalie’s, in 2017, as a way to save money for a camper.
On top of expanding the business and playing golf, there hasn’t been much time for camping.
“We just sold our camper because we’ve been camping three times in three years,” said Haynes, who shot 86-88 over the past two days at Essex.
The company is named after Haynes’ great aunt, who taught the women in her family how to make cappelletti, which is hat-shaped stuffed pasta.
“When she passed away, nobody would make it,” Haynes said. “I said, we’re smart enough, we can run a business. I did some research, I got the machine from Italy and in a month we were in business.”
She started selling pasta on the side at events and eventually began to distribute her supplies at local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. The couple runs their business out of Hopedale and now sells 17 different shapes, from long cut to short cut, gluten-free to organic, and all things in between. Their recipes use Italian flours and water and is naturally air-dried. There are no preservatives or additives, just the way her Aunt Dalie would’ve made it.
Haynes said during the pandemic, people have flocked to smaller stores. The mom & pop business has already made $55,000 in sales this year, matching last year’s total sales.
Going forward, Haynes said the goal now is to hire somebody else to help expand the company and hire some outside help.
Welcome back: There are 10 players who are playing in the Championship Flight of the bracket for the second consecutive year: Megan Buck, Morgan Mitchell, Krystal Knight, Gabrielle Shieh, Morgan Smith, Molly Smith, Rebecca Skoler, Anne Walsh, Shannon Johnson and Catie Scheernecker.
Quoting: “Match play is match play. Anything can happen.” — Angela Garvin, 2019 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur champion.
Most Improved: While Mary Chamberlain’s nine-stroke improvement got her into match play, Abigail Taney (Meadow at Peabody) followed up her 110 on Tuesday with an 89 on Wednesday.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13: Round Of 16 and Quarterfinals
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14: Semifinals and Championship Match
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Per the State’s (EEA) guidelines surrounding outdoor competitors and tournaments, NO SPECTATORS WILL BE PERMITTED at any point of the championship (stroke or match play). This includes family members, relatives, members of the same household, general spectators, etc.
To help individuals follow along, Click Here to view the Match Play brackets and starting times.