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PEABODY, Massachusetts – Competitors headed to Salem Country Club on Monday to compete in the Cris Eaton Chapman Tournament, the first Mass Golf Women’s Tournament of the 2022 season. The field featured 52 teams of two competed in the event, which was accompanied by warm weather and blue skies.
The 18-hole, double-shotgun tournament used the Chapman format, in which teammates each hit a tee shot and proceed to play their partner’s ball as their second shot. Competitors then select a ball and alternate shots until the ball is in the hole. Low gross and net were awarded for each of two divisions.
Organized in 1895, Salem Country Club was founded by a group of distinguished citizens in Salem who were interested in learning more about the game of golf. Five national champions and 15 state champions have since been crowned on the property, which sits on the former Sanders Farm.
The 2019 champions, Megan Buck and Shannon Johnson of Thorny Lea Golf Club, returned to the Cris Eaton in grand fashion after a brief hiatus with the event being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and having not competed in the field in 2021. With the only under-par round of the day, Buck and Johnson bettered the field by 11 strokes to finish at 8-under 64.
“This is always an event that we look forward to,” said Buck. “The format is so much fun, and then this year to be able to play at Salem, which is one of the best courses in New England, it was a real treat.”
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The pair had two eagles on the card with the ultimate highlight coming on the par-4, 18th hole. After an impressive drive by Johnson, Buck stepped up to an approach that was playing close to 85-yards up to the elevated green with a difficult hole location. What felt a bit off-target for Buck, ended up rolling back down and into the cup for an eagle.
“We try and make it a priority to play in the Cris Eaton each season,” said Johnson. “The format is so different from anything we play in during the season. Winning it for a fourth time is a great feeling but the camaraderie with all the ladies is a big reason why we keep coming back.”
Barb Hecimovich (Beverly Golf & Tennis Club) and her partner Kym Pappathanasi (Renaissance) finished in second for Division 1 with a 3-over 75 just inching out in a tiebreaker over Diane Carter (Salem Country Club) and Jenny Ceppi (Bass Rocks Golf Club) who placed third.
On the net side of the Division 1, Sheryl Doherty (Indian Ridge CC) and Maureen Havern (Winchester CC) took home the low net honors with a 5-under 67.
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It was a Walpole Country Club takeover of the top three spots in Division 2, gross. Representing their club in the top spot was Mary Barry and Lisa Dolan, who finished their round with an 8-over 80. Julie Corcoran and Janet Bean placed second gross (gross bias scoring) and rounded out the top honors for Division 2 in third place gross was the team of Jill Phillips and Jennifer Brennan from Tedesco Country Club.
The low net honors for Division 2 goes to the pair from Walpole Country Club Marsha Shaw and Leslie Payne, with a net score of 9-under 63.
Congratulations to all the competitors in both shotguns today.
The Cris Eaton Chapman Tournament is one of many women’s events that Salem Country Club has hosted. Notably, the club hosted the 1954 and 1984 U.S. Women’s Open Championships, which were won by Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias and Hollis Stacey, respectively. The wins were one of 10 LPGA championship victories for Didrikson Zaharias and four for Stacey.
The club also hosted the 1932 U.S. Women’s Amateur, from which Virginia Van Wie emerged victorious — the first of three consecutive Women’s Amateur wins for the Illinois native.
For more information about Mass Golf’s women’s tournaments, click here.
In addition to teeing off the 2022 women’s tournament season, Mass Golf remains focused on growing the game of golf.
Sally DeGan, a member of Mass Golf’s Board of Directors, hopes to increase the number of participants at women’s tournaments this season and see more diversity among competitors.
DeGan enjoyed seeing several new faces at the Cris Eaton Tournament. She also did her part by partnering with a first-time Mass Golf competitor to the event, which she has done for the past several years.
“Once you bring them in, they see how friendly and welcoming and fun it is that hopefully they then go out and get another partner and another partner,” DeGan said.
She offered the following advice for anyone considering participating in a team tournament:
“Find a friend and know that all of us started without ever having played in one of these events,” DeGan said. “Don’t worry, we all know what it’s like, and everybody is very supportive. Come on out and give it a try.”
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