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SPRINGFIELD, Pennsylvania – Starting Thursday, a team of nine Bay State golfers began play in Springfield, Pennsylvania to take part in the 2018 Griscom Cup Intercity Matches, one of the most historic golf events hosted in the United States.
The team of Megan Buck (Thorny Lea GC), Chelsea Curtis (George Wright GC), Mary Gale (Bedrock GC), Hannah Ghelfi (Pocasset GC), Jennifer Keim (Cranberry Valley GC), Pam Kuong (Charles River CC), Tracy Martin (Tewksbury CC), Emily Nash (Settlers Crossing GC) and Claire Sheldon (The Country Club) are representing Team Massachusetts at the Griscom Cup, which is being held over two days at Rolling Green Golf Club.
This annual event made its debut in 1898, but 1902 marked the first year that teams from three states – Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania – competed in this inter-city challenge. The event was named after Frances Griscom of Pennsylvania and has been conducted every year with the exception of the World War II period (1942-1945) and in 1984 due to inclement weather.
“Most people, even those who are involved in women’s golf, don’t realize how steeped in history the Griscom Cup is,” said Cathleen Beach, Mass Golf’s director of women’s golf & player development who will be accompanying the Bay State contingent to Springfield. “We are fortunate to be a part of one of the longest running competitive amateur women’s golf events in the country.”
One member of Team Massachusetts – Mary Gale – has a unique perspective on the significance and the importance of the upcoming Griscom Cup.
“An event that has lasted that long has to have substance and this one certainly does,” said Gale, a Worcester resident who is the most senior member of the team at 67 years old. “It is a great honor to be on this team. Everyone looks forward to it, and it’s very competitive. It has had different formats over the years and now has a Ryder Cup style, but the history is felt throughout from the competition to the team dinner.”
Through the years, Gale has experienced golf at nearly every level.
A 10-time USGA Championship qualifier, Gale has collected countless women’s state amateur titles over the years including the Women’s Amateur Championship (1996), Grace Keyes Cup (1986), Edith Noblit Baker Trophy (1994) and Senior Amateur Championship (2010). She also holds the record for most Mother & Son Championships won, which stands at 14. She currently serves as club manager at Bedrock Golf Club in Rutland.
Although Gale can’t recall exactly how many Griscom Cups she has competed in, she does recall the first one back when she was in college.
“I am pretty sure that I was not on the initial team, but they needed someone and I played that year when it was held locally in Boston,” said Gale. “It was such an incredible honor to be called upon, and it’s a fabulous event.”
Best of luck to our 9⃣ Bay State competitors who begin play in the Griscom Cup Intercity matches against @MGA1897 & the Women's Golf Association of Philadelphia!
— #MassGolf (@PlayMassGolf) May 31, 2018
Another veteran on this year’s team is Pam Kuong of Charles River Country Club who has been a Griscom Cup team member dating back to 2008. Kuong is a four-time USGA Women’s State Team member who earned national headlines in 2015 when she advanced to the finals of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
“Being selected to play on the Griscom Cup team is my number one goal each year,” said Kuong. “The history of this tournament is amazing, the players who have played this tournament is impressive, and the golf courses we get to play is unmatched.”
Joining the senior amateur veterans Gale and Kuong will be Tracy Martin, Chelsea Curtis and Claire Sheldon who have a combined 12 years of Griscom Cup experience.
Martin, a three-time Women’s Amateur Championship finalist and the 2008 Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Champion, previously competed for Team Massachusetts in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Curtis, the 2005 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur and Edith Noblit Baker Trophy champion who enjoyed a successful collegiate career at Georgetown University, was part of the Griscom Cup teams in 2006-09 and again in 2014.
Sheldon, who will be making her fourth career appearance at this event, was a three-time All- Ivy League golfer at Harvard University and most recently qualified for and competed at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Hannah Ghelfi, the reigning Massachusetts Women’s Amateur champion, and Jennifer Keim are both standout collegiate competitors who will be making their second consecutive appearance at the Griscom Cup this week. Ghelfi, of Pocasset, is coming off a sophomore season at the University of Michigan where she made her first NCAA Team Championship appearance. Keim resides in South Yarmouth and just completed her sophomore campaign at Florida Atlantic University.
“This is a unique opportunity to represent Massachusetts in one of the oldest amateur events in the country,” said Sally DeGan, a longtime women’s competitor from Winchester who will – for the second straight season – serve as captain for Team Massachusetts. “It doesn’t sink in until after you arrive at the first tee. It is then when the honor of being part of this event becomes real.”
Experiencing that special moment for the first time this week will be Megan Buck, Chelsea Curtis and Emily Nash. All three of those competitors were – like Sheldon – part of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship field earlier this season.
Nash also represents the youngest competitor on Team Massachusetts at the age of 17. Her addition to the team roster highlights one of the most unique features of the Griscom Cup is that the format allows teams of golfers from a range of backgrounds to compete together and against other states over two days during the early summer months.
“How often can you talk about a golf event that includes a 67-year-old and a 17-year-old on the same team?” Beach. “We have assembled a team that truly represents the incredible depth of talent that we have in our state from the senior to junior levels.”
Earlier this season, Nash made her USGA Championship debut at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship and this month she will make another inaugural appearance, this time at the Griscom Cup in Pennsylvania.
“It is a great testament that golf can is a lifetime sport,” said DeGan. “This year we have a strong roster of players with Griscom experience who are excited to bring the trophy home to Massachusetts again.”
As for the veteran Gale, she concurs that this week will be special no matter what the scorecard says at the end of the day.
“I think speaks to the game of golf,” said Gale of the unique format and draw of the Griscom Cup. “I don’t hit it nearly as far as the younger players, but you play your own ball and we can still play the same game. I think that for the young people there is so much for them to play in these days, and I am thrilled that they were available to add this to their schedule. Hopefully they will embrace the significance of this great event and are excited as we are.”
The teams will compete in foursomes matches on May 31 and then take part in singles matches on Friday.
Mass Golf will provide coverage of the Griscom Cup at MassGolf.org and across its social media platforms. Follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information.