- Golfer Benefits
GREAT BARRINGTON, Massachusetts – It was a hot and sunny two days in Western Massachusetts as 18 girls from Philadelphia, New York and Massachusetts gathered for the 82nd edition of the Girls’ Junior Inter-City Matches at Wyantenuck Country Club. The race for the Enos Cup on Wednesday was a close contest, but in the end, the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia (WGAP) emerged victorious with 25.5 points.
The Junior Inter-City Match was first contested in 1934 and has been held every year since except for 1942-1948 during the World War II period and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Host sites rotate between courses in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey.
The teams competed for the Enos Cup on Wednesday using a Nassau format. Each three-person group featured one player from each state, where 1 point is awarded for winning the first nine holes, 1 point for winning the second nine holes, and 1 point for winning the 18-hole match. If any matches are halved, then a half-point is awarded. The team that accumulates the greatest amount of points is declared the winner.
WGAP successfully defended its 2022 title with Mary Dunigan (WGAP) leading the way with six out of the 25.5 point total. Team Massachusetts scored 19.5 points, its second highest total since 1999, to claim runner-up honors. Rounding out the trio of golf associations was the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association (WMGA), which finished in third with nine total points.
Champa Visetsin (Youth on Course), who has competed in Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals, led Team Mass Golf with a perfect six points, bettering her already impressive five point tally from last year’s effort. Finishing right behind her were teammates Abby Zhu (Indian Ridge Country Club) and Maddie Smith (Vesper Country Club) who each notched 3.5 points.
Piper Jordan (Boston GC) played some good golf of her own, including a birdie on the uphill par-5 fourth. After almost knocking her second shot on the green in two, Jordan calmly analyzed her chip shot and hit a beauty to within five feet of the hole, which she converted for birdie. She ended the day with a solid three points for Team Mass Golf and enjoyed the entire experience.
“It was a lot of fun. I got to play with some of my best golf friends and meet people from other states,” said Jordan, the Middlebury College commit. “I thought it was really cool to play with other really accomplished golfers at a really nice course.”
Competitors played in the Sweepstakes Round on the first day of the event on Tuesday. Each golfer was grouped with one member from WGAP and one member from WMGA, receiving individual scores and group best-ball scores. Special contests included a long drive competition as well as a closest to the pin.
Dunigan fired the lone under par round (1-under 71) on Tuesday to win the individual competition by one shot over fellow teammate Rhianna Gooneratne (WGAP), who posted even-par 72. There was a two way tie for third featuring Mass Golf’s Jordan and Smith, who both shot 2-over 74.
Amy Lyons (Winchester CC), whose group included WMGA’s Sophia Travlos and WGAP’s Gooneratne, fired an 8-under 64 best-ball score to win the best-ball competition by one shot.
Along with winning the best-ball competition, Gooneratne also won the long-drive competition with a 275-yard bomb on the par-4 18th that finished 15 feet from the pin. She ended up converting the eagle, which vaulted her into solo second in the individual competition.
The 135-yard par-3 11th was used for the closest to the pin competition, where Lauren Patullo (WGAP) fired a dart that finished 8 ft. 3 in. from the hole to claim the prize.
As players sat down for dinner Tuesday, little did they know who was eating right besides them. After a long day of walking the parkland course in the afternoon sun, the players felt exhausted. That changed within minutes as Catherine Carmignani, Assistant Executive Director of Mass Golf, took one of two empty seats in front of the dining room.
Players were in awe as Carmignani began to list off the accolades of guest speaker and Massachusetts native Alison Walshe. The former full-time LPGA Tour player played her collegiate golf at the University of Arizona, where she was a three-time All-American with 10 individual wins. She’s recorded five top tens on the LPGA Tour and represented Team USA in the 2008 Curtis Cup, where she went an outstanding 4-0 alongside Stacy Lewis. Along with that, she was also victorious at the esteemed North & South Women’s Amateur in 2007 at Pinehurst.
Prior to her time at the University of Arizona and playing on the LPGA Tour, Walshe remembers when she was in the shoes of the junior golfers in front of her. She competed in numerous Mass Golf events (WGAM at the time), including winning the 2003 Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship. Walshe also remembers competing in the Inter-City Matches, which she credits for increasing her desire to play more competitive golf and launch her amateur career.
“It’s really important to develop peers from the team aspect,” Walshe said. “I know that really drove my desire to continue to play different tournaments. That helped me grow my game naturally by playing with friends over peers.”
Walshe now boasts the title of Associate Vice President at Marsh McLennan Agency, a Boston based insurance company. Although her full-time playing days are behind her, she still competes on occasion, and sits on the Mass Golf committees where she offers insights and strategies that help make Mass Golf a prominent allied golf association.
When asked about the importance of an event like the inter-city matches she said, “It’s only a positive.”
“It grows the game in every positive way,” Walshe added. “It gives something for the younger girls to be apart of and something for Massachusetts to rally and support.”
Hometown: Hingham, MA
Member Club: Boston Golf Club
Hometown: Winchester, MA
Member Club: Winchester Country Club
Hometown: Hingham, MA
Member Club: Hatherly Country Club
Hometown: Andover, MA
Member Club: Indian Ridge Country Club
Hometown: Westford, MA
Member Club: Vesper Country Club
Hometown: Sudbury, MA
Member Club: Youth on Course
The 2023 Junior Inter-City Team Matches marked the first time that Wyantenuck has hosted the competition. It was last held in Massachusetts in 2017 at Concord Country Club in Concord, Massachusetts.