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SOUTHBRIDGE, Massachusetts – The sun finally came out this week and set the stage for a beautiful day of golf at Cohasse Country Club. The Mother Daughter Chapman / Member Junior Tournament, special in its own regard, received a bit of extra attention this year with the addition of a group of female First Tee participants that were paired with four volunteer leaders from Mass Golf’s Board of Directors and Committees.
The overall champions rose to the top of the leaderboard from Division 2 (14-18 years old) posting a 1-under 71. On a course that was a bit softer after days of heavy rain, Tracy Welch and daughter Amanda Adams carded five birdies on the day.
“I thought it was a beautiful golf course. I loved the layout,” Welch said. “It was a little wet in some spots but, both girls hit it so far, they hit it by me so that wasn’t an issue. We were coming in with pretty short irons most of the time. There were only a couple holes that were pretty long.”
“We had a lot of long putts that my mom sunk,” Adams said. “It was really exciting because we got on a bunch of greens in regulation and it was great because we were able to make the putts that we needed to.”
The repeat champions have enjoyed the event for many seasons now, with Welch being able to play alongside both of her daughters, Amanda and Victoria. Victoria finished solo second in Division 2 with a 3-over 75.
“This is definitely the highlight of my summer playing with both girls and having my mom, who I’ve won it with before Jane Faxon Welch, she was with us today, so it was super fun,” Welch said.
DIVISION 1 – DAUGHTERS 19 YEARS AND OLDER
Christine Casagrande & Anna Casagrande (Northampton CC)
DIVISION 2 – DAUGHTERS 14-18 YEARS OLD
Tracy Welch & Amanda Adams (Winchester CC)
DIVISION 1 – JUNIORS 14-18 YEARS OLD
Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC) & Keira Joshi (Nashawtuc CC)
DIVISION 2 JUNIORS 13 YEARS AND UNDER
Christine Veator (Ferncroft CC) & Renee Vaillancourt (Mass Golf First Tee/YOC)
Christine Veator, longtime Mass Golf Board Member, was keen on the idea to make stronger connections between the First Tee, a program supported by Mass Golf, and mentors from the volunteer leaders who could mentor the young participants in their golf journey. Joined by fellow Board of Directors members Sarah Forbes and Joanne Gagnon along with 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion Shannon Johnson, who sits on the First Tee committee, the women were paired up with four young female participants to play in the Member Junior Division of the Tournament.
“Today was a great day, and I think it exceeded our expectations,” said Kyle Harris, Director of Operations for First Tee Massachusetts. “To have four of our First Tee girls from different locations around the state pair up with some of our volunteer female leaders to get out on a beautiful course and spend some time together was extremely valuable.
“The girls had a chance to display some of the life skills that they’re learning in our classes, while also really putting their golf skills to the test and getting out of their comfort zone a little bit. Hopefully, the volunteer leaders that we paired them with enjoyed the experience as much as our girls did. It sure looked like they were having a ton of fun out there.”
First Tee Massachusetts started as a way to bring an affordable junior golf program to youth and communities that did not have them. What The First Tee soon discovered was that by blending the rules of the game with life and leadership skills, kids and teens didn’t just learn how to putt – they were learning important values. Mass Golf currently offers programming at seven program locations across the Bay State.
“It’s an ongoing goal of both first tee and Mass Golf to grow the game in all facets, but especially the female group. I can’t thank four volunteers enough for giving up their day to come out and spend this time. And a special thanks to Christine Veator who had this idea. As we go forward, we hope to create more of these types of opportunities, especially for our teenage First Tee participants who have been with the program for a while.”
The four young women from First Tee Massachusetts came from different program locations around the state and have not had the opportunity to meet one another until today. Representing their respective parts of the state, it became very evident that the skills and core values from First Tee were utilized out on the course to make for a fun and competitive day of golf.
“I definitely had a blast out there today,” said Keira Joshi, First Tee participant from the Norton location. “I got to play with Shannon Johnson, which I was really excited about and she was awesome. I certainly learned a lot from her so thank you to the First Tee for the opportunity and for bringing us out here.”
Joshi is no stranger to competitive events as she is a fixture in many of the Mass Golf Women’s Championships, but the opportunity to play alongside and learn from one of the most celebrated women’s amateur golfers in Massachusetts was something that she will remember forever. As she reflected on the day, Joshi looks to the future and how she can stay involved with the Mother Daughter Chapman / Member Junior Tournament.
“I like this tournament because it is something that I can keep playing in the future, no matter how old I get,” Josh said. “Whether I am an adult playing with a First Tee girl or an adult playing with my mom, or even with my own daughter in the future, I know I’ll have a blast at this timeless event.”
(Left to Right)
Tracy Welch and her two daughters will be taking their competitive games to the biggest stage in women’s Amateur golf in Massachusetts this August when the three of them play in the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. The occasion marks the first time that the Welch sisters will be competing in the event, and mother Tracy couldn’t be any prouder.
“They’re ready,” Welch said. “Their swings are looking really good and it will be a good experience for them.”
Both Amanda and Victoria will be competing next week in the Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship at The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley before rounding out their summer season with their first appearance in the Women’s Amateur Championship at Plymouth Country Club.
“I am excited to play there, but obviously I want to go low,” Amanda Adams said. “There are not too many expectations, but I just hope to play well.
“I just want to keep my swing in check and make sure it doesn’t get too wild. If I’m swinging well, I’ll be pretty happy at the end of the day,” added Victoria Adams.
The trip to Plymouth would not be complete without Welch’s mother Jane Faxon Welch. She will be joining her daughters and granddaughters at the Women’s Amateur as she is one of their biggest cheerleaders.
“It will be super fun,” Welch said. “The four of us, we’re gonna head down to Plymouth and stay someplace near Plymouth Rock and just play in the tournament and have a little mini-vacation.”
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