- Golfer Benefits
POCASSET, Massachusetts – The first Mass Golf Women’s Championship of the season officially kicked off on Monday with the playing of the first round of the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy at Pocasset Country Club. The two-day, 36-hole event features both a Championship and Tournament Division.
A morning shotgun on Monday will be followed by a final 18 holes on Tuesday to determine the overall and divisional champions. Hannah Ghelfi, A member of Pocasset Golf Club, currently leads the Championship Division with a first-round score of 1-over par 73 along with Shannon Johnson of Thorny Lea Golf Club, the reigning Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Champion and U.S. Women’s MidAm Champion.
The low gross winner from the Championship and Tournament Division will have their names engraved on the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy.
Highlights from the first round of competition are below.
Coming off of a tough field of competition at the Connecticut Open earlier this month, Hannah Ghelfi feels right at home this week as she competes for the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy.
Ghelfi, a rising senior at the University of Michigan, felt confident and comfortable heading into the first 18-holes of the Championship. “I’ve been out here everyday so it’s been nice to practice on the course that you will be playing on” said Ghelfi.
With the course being in true championship condition, Ghelfi along with fellow competitors will be looking to tighten up on the greens. “The greens have been rolling really nice and the key will be putting, that will be the difference maker.”
Ghelfi finished with a score of 1-over par 73 which included a birdie on the 110-yard, par 3 12th hole giving her a share of the lead in the first round.
Following Monday’s round, the field was re-paired according to score which means that Ghelfi and Johnson will be paired together on Tuesday along with Pam Kuong who stands in third place overall.
After touching down in Boston at 1:00 AM on early Sunday morning on her way back from the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Johnson did not have much time to prepare for the Championship. “I tried to sleep as long as possible and had to get caught up on work all day so resting up was the best way for me to get ready given the travel schedule” said Johnson.
Johnson, the defending and four-time winner of this event, had not been able to get to Pocasset for a practice round prior to Edith Noblit Baker Championship. That did not prevent Johnson from shooting 2-under par 34 on the front nine making birdies on the first and sixth holes. A few miscues on Johnson’s scorecard on the backside with bogies on the 10th, 12th, and 16th holes would bring her to par-39 and opening the door for Ghlefi to step in and share the lead.
“My short game was a little off but I’ve only played twice since the U. S. Open so things are going to be a bit rusty” said Johnson who looks to improve on her first 18-holes. “Coming out to a golf course that you haven’t played before and having not played much lately… finishing at 1-over is something that I would take all day” said Johnson.
“This is our kickoff event and we look forward to coming out to the Baker every year. Who wouldn’t want to play in a great event with your friends out on the Cape” said Johnson who looks to become the first to win the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy for a fifth time.
Competitors may affectionately call it “The Baker”, but those familiar with golf history understand that the formal name of Edith Noblit Baker Trophy has a deep and important meaning here in the Bay State.
Its namesake was a visionary who found a way to bring the camaraderie of golf together with its competitive spirit.
This annual two-day event, which dates back to 1950, was the brainchild of Edith Noblit Baker, who was one of the state’s most elite competitors who stands as one of only two competitors in Mass Golf history to have won more than two straight Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championships.
A five-time winner of the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship, Baker first won the title in 1925 before capturing three-straight titles from 1927 to 1929. Her final championship win came in 1932. It would be 18 years later when Baker would make another mark on golf history.
During the summer of 1950, Baker, who served as president of what was then known as the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM), officially introduced a new tournament called the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy with the clear purpose of “advancing the sociability of the game and a renewal of acquaintance.”
Baker’s vision coupled with hard work and a keen organizational and business sense help accomplished just that and the event has grown into one of the most competitive and popular stroke-play events on the Mass Golf calendar.
Contested during the early summer months, the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy continues to feature the state’s top competitive female golfers who participate in two days of 18-hole stroke play. The list of past champions looks like a “who’s who” of the top players to ever come out of Massachusetts.
Joanne Goodwin, who was inducted into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, holds the record for most titles. She captured the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy seven times from 1955-59 and then in 1971 and 1972. The only other competitor to match that mark was Tara Joy Connelly, a former member of Cohasset Golf Club who now resides in Florida. Joy Connelly won this event in 1997, 2006-08, 2010 and 2013-14.
Other notable past champions include: Jeanne-Marie Boylan (1975, 1978), Noreen Friel-Uihlein (1979, 1981), Anne Marie Tobin (1989), and Marion McInerney(1995). Most recently, Johnson has won the past three titles, including the one in 2016 which was the same year that she was the runner-up to Julia Potter in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
The timing of the event – always held in the summer – allows for those college players to return home to compete. Accessibility for players during the summer months was one of Baker’s priorities along with the traditional post-golf meal.
One of the unique features of the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy is that it features Championship and Tournament divisions. At the time of registration, competitors are able to select which division they would prefer to compete in for the 36-hole event.
Here is a summary from the Tournament Division.
Following 18 holes, the top six competitors in the Tournament Division are separated by just three strokes.
Barb Hecimovich (Beverly G & TC) was low scorer at 6-over par 78. Lisa Heaps (Olde Barnstable) 8-over par 80, and Diana Olney (The Country Club) 9-over 81 sits in third.