- Golfer Benefits
WESTPORT, Massachusetts – Five golfers, including four from Massachusetts, punched their tickets to the 2022 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at the Acoaxet Club on Tuesday. Winchester’s Tracy Welch and Canadian native Marie Therese Torti shared medalist honors.
Also earning spots in the Championship Proper were Christine Gagner (North Oxford, MA), Danielle Lee (Concord, MA) and Pamela Kuong (Wellesley Hills, MA), who all tied for third.
They’ll all head to Anchorage Golf Course in Anchorage, Alaska, at the end of next month to compete in the championship — the first USGA® championship ever contested within The Last Frontier’s borders — which takes place from July 30 to August 4.
Welch earned medalist honors in U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur qualifying for the second straight year after taking first in last year’s qualifier at Marshfield Country Club.
It’s the 22nd time she’ll compete in a USGA Championship, as well as her second time in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur after she qualified for the first time in 2021. Welch has had this year’s contest on her mind since last year’s Round of 16, in which she lost to Belgium’s Sylvie Van Molle in 22 holes.
“It’s never fun to lose but I was so disappointed that I wasn’t going to be exempt for Alaska,” she said. “It’s been my goal all summer to try to qualify for this, so I couldn’t be happier. I’m gonna head out there with my parents, so I’m really excited.”
Welch, who grew up in Winchester and has multiple Massachusetts championships to her name, said she’s proud to represent the Bay State at the national level.
“I’m thrilled to represent Massachusetts,” she said. “I understand this is the first USGA event that’s being held in Alaska so I think it’s going to be very exciting to be out there and I think the weather will be interesting.”
Welch’s mother, Jane Faxon Welch, also represented Massachusetts at the Senior Women’s Amateur in 2000 and 2006.
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Though it isn’t Torti’s first trip to the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur either, this year marks her return to the championship after fighting a battle greater than golf away from the course.
“It’s great because this year was a little more complicated,” Torti said about being in the championship again. “I sort of went through chemotherapy, so I’m really glad to be going to back to the U.S., and with COVID-19, the borders are finally open so I’m able to go, so I’m really happy about that.”
The Quebec native looks forward to joining a number of other Canadians in the championship, many of whom were exempt, to make up a “little Canadian contingency in Alaska,” she said.
Torti was also pleased with her qualifying performance at the Acoaxet Club.
“I’m glad it was the same nine because then you sort of have course knowledge on the back nine, and my back nine was really good,” Torti said. “The course was playing great. It’s a beautiful course and a very picturesque area. It’s always beautiful to come to Massachusetts.”
Both Welch and Torti finished with a 74, 2 strokes over par. Gagner, Lee and Kuong all posted a 5-over 77 to earn their spots.
Kuong and Gagner both have multiple U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur appearances to their name. Kuong, the reigning Mass Golf Women’s Senior Player of the Year, was the runner-up in 2015, playing win the final round against Karen Garcia. She was also one of five Massachusetts golfers to play in the championship last year, where she reached the Round of 32.
Lee played in her first U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur last year, also qualifying for her first U.S. Senior Women’s Open in the same year.
Temple Mitchell (Marion, MA) and Lisa McGill (Philadelphia, PA) each shot a 6-over 78 and needed to a playoff to determine the order of the two alternate spots. Playing on hole 9, Mitchell initially drove to the left side of the fairway. Yet, a strong approach shot put her solidly on the green, while McGill had to work from just off of it. A long birdie putt by Mitchell secured her spot as the first alternate.
QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Tracy Welch (Winchester, MA); (+2) 74
Marie Therese Torti (Canada); (+2) 74
Christine Gagner (North Oxford, MA); (+5) 77
Danielle Lee (Concord, MA); (+5) 77
Pamela Kuong (Wellesley Hills, MA); (+5) 77
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Temple Mitchell (Marion, MA); (+6) 78*
Lisa McGill (Philadelphia, PA); (+6) 78
*Advanced with birdie on first playoff hole
The U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur was first held in 1962 to determine the country’s top woman golfer age 50 or older. While multiple senior women’s golf organizations had been formed, there was a desire to form a unified championship that would determine a winner at the national level — paving the way for the USGA to form the annual championship.
The field consists of 132 golfers, who play in 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying before the field is cut to 64 for match play.
Carolyn Cudone of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has the most wins of any competitor with five titles, won consecutively from 1968 to 1972. Lara Tennant of Portland, Oregon, has finished on top the last three times the tournament has been contested (2018, 2019 and 2021).
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