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WILBRAHAM, Massachusetts – Mary Gale first won the LaBonte Four-Ball with future Hall of Famer Anne Marie Tobin in 1988, and they defended it in 1989. More than 30 years later, Gale stepped back into the winner’s circle, only this time with a different partner.
Gale (Bedrock Golf Club) and Mary Jane Wagner (Nashawtuc Country Club) each made a birdie in their round to finish even-par 72 and capture the 2021 LaBonte Four-Ball title on a gorgeous Tuesday at the Country Club of Wilbraham (par-72, 5,168-yards).
The tournament used the four-ball format, where players hit their own ball and the best score on the team is recorded. The event dates back to 1950, and in 1972 was renamed the “The Eleanor I. LaBonte” Tournament. LaBonte served as Executive Secretary of what was formerly known as the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM) for over 25 years and was Handicap Chairperson for 33 years. The tournament, which was renamed last year, is open to two-women teams with both players having up to 54.0 Handicap Index.
Thanks to some recent adjustments, Mary Gale had her putter rolling well Tuesday, and it came in handy for her and MJ Wagner down the stretch. Gale made a downhill breaking putt for birdie on the 16th to pull the pair to 1-under. Despite a bogey on the 17th, the team made par on the remaining three holes. Gale closed it out on the par-3 2nd by getting up-and-down from the rough and making a difficult 4-footer for par.
“Obviously, I’ve been playing a long time, but it’s a thrill right now to win and keep playing and a great group of women and have a great time,” said Gale, the 1996 Mass Women’s Amateur Champion.
Wagner picked up her birdie on the par-5 6th, as she stuck an approach shot to about a foot for a tap-in.
That shot was crucial as Wagner and Gale edged out Sally DeGan and Val Casella (LPGA Amateurs Boston) and Chelsea Curtis (The Country Club) and Katherine Tylander (Unicorn Golf Club) by a stroke. In the process, Wagner picked up her first Mass Golf tournament victory.
“I feel like all my friends have won something at Mass Golf, so it’s nice to join friends who all won one,” Wagner said.
Wagner and Gale have paired together in the Concord Invitational, but this was the first time they decided to pair up for a Mass Golf Tournament.
“She’s a calm partner, she’s so steady,” Wagner said of Gale. “You know she won’t mess up. I was honored to be her partner.”
In the Net Division, Cathie Morat (Wedgewood Pines Country Club) and Susan Kingman (Concord Country Club) also won by 1-stroke, shooting 6-under to hold off three times. Morat and Kingman, who won the Allen Bowl Four-Ball together in 2018, started well as Kingman made a birdie for a net eagle on the par-5 11th.
The Women’s Senior Amateur Championship is back on the schedule! Canceled back on September 28 due to inclement weather at Oakley Country Club, the championship will now take place a month later on Thursday, October 28 at Marshfield Country Club. Tee times will begin off of the first tee only starting at 8 a.m.
Pairings/player information will be sent out later this week/early next week.
Before that, the Full Cup Championship will take place on October 19 at Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton.
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