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WALPOLE, Massachusetts – Rita Bedard and Christine Gagner, of Bedrock GC, won the Eleanor I. LaBonte Tournament for the third time by shooting a 7-over-par 77 to edge two-time defending champions Mary Marengi and M.J. O’Neill by one stroke Tuesday at Walpole Country Club.
Bedard birdied twice for the duo, which also won the LaBonte back in 2013 and 2016. Marengi and O’Neill tied for second with Georgia Peirce and Robin Jervey, of Eastward Ho!, as both shot 8-over 78. Marengi and O’Neill, of GC at Turner Hill, won the event last year with a 3-under at the The Cape Club in Falmouth, and they also won the year before at Orchards GC in South Hadley. Walpole was a longer course at 5,371 yards, compared to 5,072 yards at The Cape Club last year.
Tuesday’s event was also the penultimate Women’s Tournament for 2019. The final Women’s Tournament will be the Mildred Prunaret Cup on Oct. 22-23 at Andover Country Club.
Gagner and Bedard emerged victorious in the better-ball four-ball format that drew 104 players. Gagner, who played on the Endicott Cup team for Massachusetts, began her round with par on the 1st hole in the shotgun-style start. After a bogey on the 2nd and par on the 3rd, Bedard made birdie on the par-5, 450-yard 4th hole to bring the pair back to even par.
After making the turn at 5-over 40, Gagner and Bedard made par or better on six of the final nine holes, including Bedard’s birdie on the par-4, 315-yard 14th hole. They made par on the 15th, 16th and 17th, but finished with a bogey on the 18th.
Peirce and Jervey played alongside the champions and were just one stroke back at the turn. Peirce, who also played in the Endicott Cup, made birdie on the par-3 11th and 17th holes, but the pair made bogey on the 13th-through-16th holes and trailed by two strokes when they stepped onto the 18th tee. Jervey made par, but Bedard and Gagner made bogey to hold their lead.
Marengi and O’Neill rallied back after starting their round with a triple bogey on the 12th and then bogey on the next two holes. The pair stabilized after that, getting par on the 16th-18th. Marengi made birdie on the 1st hole, the shortest par 4 (293 yards) on the course. She also birdied the par-4, 306-yard 9th hole. They finished with back-to-back pars to fall one stroke shy of a tie for first.
Carrie Loring (Hopkinton CC) and Elizbaeth Levins (Wentworth Hills GC) tied Cathy Sessons (Orchards GC) and Cheryl Kruger (Sterling National Country Club) for the low Net score at 2-under 68. Three pairs were 1-under for their Net scores.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT
The Eleanor I. LaBonte tournament originated in 1950 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of WGAM in the state. In February of 1972 it officially became the “The Eleanor I. LaBonte” tournament. Miss LaBonte served as Executive Secretary for the WGAM for over 25 years and was Handicap Chairperson for 33 years.
This year’s entries were open to amateur golfers with an active Mass Golf/GHIN Handicap Index at any public, private, semi-private, municipal or non-real estate Mass Golf member course/club not exceeding 36.0.