Christine Gagner Captures Third Endicott Cup Title - MASSGOLF

Gagner Sinks Birdie Putt In Playoff, leads mass golf in first leg of Tri-State Championship

For Immediate Release: October 6, 2021

GREAT BARRINGTON, Massachusetts – Christine Gagner (Bedrock Golf Club) said Wyantenuck Country Club has a special place in her heart. Back in 2002, she made her first-ever ace on the par-3 9th during the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship.

She made another special memory at the course Wednesday when she sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3, 11th hole to edge two-time champion Mercedese Large, of Connecticut, in a playoff and capture the Endicott Cup for the third time (2012, 2016, 2021).

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The Endicott Cup is the opening leg of the final Women’s Championship of the season. The two-day stroke play championship consists of female amateur golfers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Round 1 was reduced to 13 holes due to heavy rains that made holes 13-17 unplayable.

The Tri-State Matches take place Thursday with the low seven players plus one alternate competing in two simultaneous matches against competitors from the other two associations. One (1) point will be awarded for every hole won, ½ point for every hole halved and zero (0) points for any hole lost. The remaining players will compete in the Eaton Cup Tri-State Handicap Matches.

Christine Gagner holds up the Endicott Cup on the 11th green at Wyantenuck Country Club, where she clinched the title for the third time. (Mass Golf)

WHAT HAPPENED

Christine Gagner entered Wednesday tied with fellow Mass Golfers Kristen Henderson (Bedrock Golf Club) and Jenny Ceppi (Bass Rocks Golf Club) after all three shot 56 in the 13-hole opening round.

Gagner and Ceppi were paired together and remained close, as Gagner shot 77 to Ceppi’s 79. Gagner shot even-par on the front nine and made a near carbon copy of her playoff birdie on the 11th, but double-bogeys on 12 and 15 and a three-putt bogey on the 16th put her share of the top spot in jeopardy.

However, she salvaged her chances with a clutch birdie on the 17th, hitting a perfect approach with an 8-iron into the bowl-shaped green atop the hill to set up a 10-foot birdie putt.

“I had laid it back with an iron off the tee, and I just hit it as solid as I could,” Gagner said. “And again I had a 10-footer and I got lucky.”

Gagner said she was a little nervous heading into a playoff with Mercedese Large, a two-time Endicott Cup champion and the low scorer Wednesday (3-over 75). However, she found some comfort in the 11th, where she made a similar birdie early in the day.

Large hit first and ended up sailing the ball into a greenside bunker. After hitting out, her par bid just lipped out, but it didn’t matter as Gagner hit a beautifully paced putt to win the playoff.

“It was just a nice easy pitching wedge down the hill, and my caddy [and playing partner] Jenny Ceppi read the putt and it went in,” Gagner recalled.

Large, who began the day two strokes back, made 11 straight pars and added birdies on the 14th and 17th to move into the top spot.  Though she came up short of a third title, she said getting to a playoff made it fun.

“I’m not disappointed,” Large said. “There’s no reason to be. I have a great time. This is the best tournament of the year. These are friends you get to see this time of year. How can you feel bad?”

Mercedese Large hits her tee shot on the 17th hole Wednesday at Wyantenuck Country Club. (Mass Golf)

Gagner echoed her appreciation of the Endicott Cup.

“I’ve said all along ever since I started playing in this that the Endicott cup is my favorite tournament,” Gagner said. “Getting to play with the excellent golfers from Connecticut and Rhode Island, actually getting to know them, getting friendly with them year after year is just invaluable, and the Mass Golf Team we have always comes together, and we just have a blast.”

Henderson made birdie on the 18th to finish solo third and lock up her spot on the Tri-State team.

Ceppi, who earlier this year club championships at Salem Country Club and Bass Rocks Golf Club on the same day, earned the Net title, going 1-under 123 over two days to edge out Elizabeth Derwin (Brookmeadow Country Club-MA) by a stroke.

“It’s nice to do a team event,” said Ceppi, reflecting on tomorrow’s competition. “All the ladies are still fun to play with and every time I get the opportunity to play in it, I like to.”

Jenny Ceppi won the Net Division title in the Endicott Cup, finishing T4 with Connecticut’s Debbie Johnson in Gross scoring. (Mass Golf)

EVENT HISTORY

In 1926, the first Endicott Cup tournament was held at Hartford Golf Club (CT) as a 36-hole stroke play competition between members of the Connecticut and Massachusetts Women’s Golf Associations. The Endicott Cup was presented by Priscilla Maxwell Endicott as the winner of the competition. The plan was that the first person to win the trophy three times would retire the cup.

Edith Baker won the Cup in 1926 and 1928 and requested that the trophy be perpetual, with the winner keeping it in her possession for the year. In 1929, Massachusetts (whose membership included Rhode Island) and Connecticut played the Kittredge Cup as the third day match play competition for the nine low gross players from each team. In 1930, Rhode Island joined as a third team and the Kittredge Cup was retired and replaced with the Tri-State Trophy.

Today, Endicott Cup competitors play two rounds of stroke play over the first two days. The seven low gross and seven low net players (plus an alternate from each state for the gross and net teams) compete in the Tri-State Matches (Gross) and the Eaton Cup (Net) on the third and final day.

“The Endicott Cup is truly a fun tournament which not only provides a great format for excellent golf but good competition against one another in an effort to make the match play teams as well as keen competition with the other states,” said former Massachusetts Endicott Cup captain, Marie Butera (2000). “More importantly, it provides an excellent opportunity for camaraderie and to develop friendships with golfers from Connecticut and Rhode Island.”

ABOUT WYANTENUCK COUNTRY CLUB

For more than a century, Wyantenuck Country Club has been considered a hidden gem for golf in the Berkshires.

Founded in 1896, the club has always been located in the southwest corner of Massachusetts. However, the club was settled at its current site in 1912 when farmland was purchased from the Baldwin family to expand the club’s recreational and social offerings. In addition to golf, Wyantenuck was also home to top-tier tennis facilities, plus clay pigeon shooting and archery.

Wyantenuck features a 6,500-yard parkland golf course that climbs up and down a hillside through the first 11 holes. Hole 12-18 are across the road and play to a more flat, parkland style. Designed in 1913 by Robert Pryde, a noted course architect from New Haven, Connecticut, the original layout is largely the same today. Charles H. Banks made some alterations including the signature 17th hole, with a bowl-shaped green guarded by a pot bunker and an entrance which must thread up between two steep embankments on either side.

The Green River also winds through the back half of the course, forcing several shots to carry over the water.

Famous individuals who have played the course over time include Babe Ruth, President Richard Nixon, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, and Rocky Graziano.

A view from the front of the Wyantenuck Country Club clubhouse. (Mass Golf)
A bridge goes over the river between the 16th green and 17th tee. (Mass Golf)