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GREAT BARRINGTON, Massachusetts – A dense fog covered Wyantenuck Country Club on Thursday morning, but when it finally lifted and play could begin, what resulted was one of the closer finishes in the history of the Women’s Tri-State Matches.
For the first time since 2013, the team from the Connecticut Women’s Golf Association took home the gross team title, scoring 155.5 points to edge the teams representing Mass Golf (148 points) and the Rhode Island Golf Association (128.5).
The Tri-State Matches are the final leg of the three-day women’s amateur championship competition with players from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In these matches, eight players from each state competed in two simultaneous matches against competitors from the other two associations. One (1) point was awarded for every hole won, ½ point for every hole halved and zero (0) points for any hole lost.
The remaining players played in the Eaton Cup Tri-State Handicap Matches. Mass Golf maintained its title in the event, scoring 168.5 points to beat Connecticut (139.5) and Rhode Island (124).
Christine Gagner (Bedrock GC) won the Endicott Cup, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday at Wyantenuck. The two-day stroke play championship consists of female amateur golfers from all three states.
With one match remaining, the team from Mass Golf held a slim half-point margin over Connecticut. But Connecticut’s Jill Tryon tallied 23 of a possible 36 points in her matches to put her team over the top. Jo Rasmussen also scored a team-high 26 points in her two matches, and Debbie Johnson, who finished T4 in the Endicott Cup the day prior, also won both her matches to contribute 20 points.
“Everybody who came out to play did a great job,” said Joyce Curran, the Connecticut team captain. “We had great team spirit, we love each other, and to come out with a win after that is nice. Massachusetts, it’s difficult to beat those guys, so it feels pretty good today.”
Curran said she’s hoping the victory can help grow the popularity of the championship going forward, especially with the Nutmeg state hosting next year.
“We’re trying to keep it alive,” Curran said. “We sure enjoy each other, and we try to express to others that it’s such a nice competition.”
Though the team from Mass Golf came up short of defending the title, several players had key contributions. Christine Gagner (Bedrock Golf Club) won both her matches and totaled 19.5 points, while Cheryl Krueger (Orchards Golf Club) dominated her matches with 28.5 points, including 15 against Rhode Island. Sarah Towne (Cape Cod Country Club) also won both her matches.
“It’s always wonderful when both Cup matches are close and we’re in it,” said Sally DeGan (LPGA Amateur Boston), the captain of Mass Golf. “The Mass Golf women, we enjoy rooting for each other, so we hope this event gains popularity and goes on for a long time.”
Kibbe Reilly and Laura Nesteriak led the Rhode Island squad with 19.5 points apiece.
DeGan was also proud of the Eaton Cup team for a solid performance across the board. Mass Golf won 11 of 16 matches, led by Georgia Pierce (Eastward Ho!) who had 13 points against Rhode Island and 22.5 total. Caren Althauser (LPGA Amateur Boston) also had 13 in her match against Rhode Island, contributing 22 points.
DeGan led the team with 23 points, winning both her matches, as did Val Casella (LPGA Amateur Boston), who had 22.5 points.
“We were the strongest team so we had to give up a lot of strokes,” DeGan said. “The women played incredibly well to win by the margin they won by.”
Though this was the final Women’s Championship on the Mass Golf schedule, there are still some events remaining.
The LaBonte Four-Ball will take place Tuesday, October 12 at the Country Club of Wilbraham to round out the Women’s Tournaments schedule.
The Fall Cup Championship will take place Tuesday, October 19 at Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton.
After being postponed due to rain twice, the Mass Women’s Senior Amateur Championship is in the process of being rescheduled. A date and location are still to be determined.