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PHILADELPHIA – Following a one-year hiatus, the Intercity-Matches for the Clement A. Griscom Cup returned Monday, and this year’s site is The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale in Philadelphia. After the completion of the first of two days of competition, the team of eight women representing Mass Golf will need to rally in order to defend the title.
The Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association (New York) is the current leader with 17.5 points; the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) has tallied 9.5 points, and Team Mass Golf has 9 points.
This year, the first round of competition featured a three-way, Nassau-style match-play competition. In this format, two players from each team played foursomes (alternate shot) and were awarded one point for winning the front nine, one point for the back nine, and one point for the 18-hole round. In the event of halved matches, half points were awarded.
Tracy Welch (Winchester CC) and Melissa Hem (Dedham C&PC) led the eight-player squad for Team Mass Golf in the afternoon by defeating their WGAP pairing, 3-0, and totaling 4.5 points overall for the group. For Welch, the Griscom Cup is a family-oriented competition that she’s thrilled to return to this year.
“The last time I played in the Griscom Cup was 2006, so it’s been 15 years, although I’ve played in a bunch of them before,” she said. “My mom, Jane Welch, had played in the Griscom Cup, I think that was probably in the 1980s, so it’s fun. Mother and daughter have both played in different Griscom Cups, and hopefully, my daughters, Victoria and Amanda Adams, will play some year in the future too.”
Krystal Knight (Bradford CC) and her partner Jennifer Keim (Bayberry Hills GC), both returners from the 2019 squad, were able to score a 3-0 match victory over the WGAP as part of their 4 points for the team. Team captain Chelsea Curtis (The Country Club) and her partner Allison Paik (Ledgemont CC), the defending Massachusetts Women’s Amateur champion, added a half-point to finish out the scoring for the Bay State women.
New York’s pair of Kaitlyn Lee and Ami Gianchandani captured all six of a potential six points during day one as part of the WMGA’s 17.5 total points. For New York, both pairs of Noelle Maertz and Alexis Hios, as well as Emily Montagnino and LeeAnn Lewis had 4.5 points.
The competition will continue Tuesday morning with singles matches.
Monday’s events began with the Sweepstakes Practice Round in the morning, and though Team Mass Golf is trailing in the battle for the Griscom Cup, there was a positive to start the day. Chelsea Curtis helped her team finish first place in the practice round, which featured a net-best ball foursome with players from all three teams mixed together.
Curtis joined Katie Li (WMGA), Lori Anne Cerullo (WMGA) and Liddie McCook (WGAP) for a score of 64, edging out two teams by one stroke. Jennifer Keim helped her team finish second, and Danielle Lee and her team placed third.
The top-performing teams in the Sweepstakes Round earned pro shop credit.
The history of the Griscom Cup dates all the way back to 1898 when the competition was first held and Pennsylvania won the event. Since then, the Cup has been contested every year with the exception of World War II (1942-1945), weather complications (1984) and COVID-19 (2020).
Team Massachusetts did not win their first Griscom Cup until 1902 when they entered the competition for the first time. After that, the event remained a three-team competition between Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. The overall results of the Cup have been close with New York winning 44 times, Pennsylvania winning 43 and Massachusetts capturing 27 victories.
The Bay State team is looking to defend their 2019 victory and if they are able to do so, it would be the fifth time since the turn of the century the team has won the event (2008, 2009, 2016 and 2019). The longest winning streak Team Massachusetts has held for the Cup came after their debut in 1902 when they won three straight years from 1902-1904. There have been five instances in which Team Massachusetts has won back-to-back Griscom Cups (1907-1908, 1910-1911, 1989-1990, 1994-1995, 2008-2009).
The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale in Philadelphia was newly renovated, which makes it an ideal site for the Griscom Cup to be held this year. Formerly, the course had been known as the Torresdale Frankford Country Club. On April 16, 2014, league membership voted to turn the course over to a new LLC in the Union League of Philadelphia and the League went on to invest $14 million into golf course and facility renovations.
The course was renamed The Union League Golf Club at Torresdale, and 2015 was the first season it was open for golf under the new ownership. The 18-hole course was designed by the legendary Donald Ross. For this year’s event, play is occurring on a combined set of tees with a yardage total of 5,747 with a par of 71.
Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport. Made up of 90,000 golfers statewide, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Presently, more than two-thirds of the 360-member clubs are public-access facilities, while nearly one-half of member golfers are enrolled at public facilities. Mass Golf offers its member’s services including handicapping, event access, youth programming and exciting golf content.