- Golfer Benefits
HARVARD, Massachusetts – Before Tuesday, no golfer had won the Massachusetts Women’s Senior Amateur Championship three consecutive times in more than 30 years.
Pam Kuong (Charles River Country Club) brought that streak to a close during the final round of competition at Shaker Hills Country Club with a 3-stroke victory to add to her 2019 and 2020 wins. Before Kuong, the most recent three-in-a-row came from storied senior golfer Nancy Black in 1986-1988.
“Anytime you can win a Mass Golf event, especially with the quality of the field, you feel pretty fortunate,” Kuong said.
Mary Gale (Bedrock Golf Club) took home the Legends title by a double-digit margin. Cheryl Krueger (Orchards Golf Club) posted the low net overall score, while Glenna Goodnow (South Shore Country Club) posted the low net score among Legends players.
Though she led practically wire-to-wire, Kuong said she surprised herself with the victory after two knee replacement surgeries and a new job took away some of her usual playing time.
“I haven’t been playing as much, so this is unexpected I would say,” Kuong said. “I definitely didn’t have an expectation to win.”
Kuong entered the round with a slim margin for error with a 1-stroke lead after Day 1 and three competitors just behind her in a tie for second place. The Wellesley Hills native quickly increased her lead on the front nine by playing a relatively error-free first half to her round, shooting above par on just one hole. She also gained an early leg up on fellow final group members Krueger and Natalie Galligan (Pocasset Golf Club).
She remained steady throughout the rest of the round, recovering from a bogey on 16 to make par on 17 and make birdie on the final hole to end with a 4-over 148.
“Today I just saw the pin sheet and the pins were not accessible, so I kind of went middle of the green to not get into trouble, and that’s the key on this golf course,” Kuong said. “You have to have good course management because there were times I might have gotten more aggressive than I thought “Why?” because the pins were not accessible anyway. So, just tried to play parred golf and if a putt went in, great, if it didn’t, that’s OK.”
Kuong also spoke highly of her groupings for both days and of the camaraderie she said she typically finds at senior events.
“It’s just great to see friends,” she said. “I was so happy I got to play with Natalie [Galligan] both days and then I hadn’t played with Georgia [Peirce], Cheryl [Krueger] in probably five, six years, so the fact I got to play with them, we had a lot of fun, a lot of cheering for each other and I think that’s what a lot of senior golf is and and everyone supports each other. But that definitely made it very enjoyable.”
Sue Curtin (Boston Golf Club) made a late push to challenge Kuong, shooting a 3-under 69 in the final round. Her 13-stroke improvement between the first and second rounds was the largest of any golfer in the tournament, and she was the only golfer to record a below-par score in either round.
Curtin made two birdies on the front nine to make the turn at even-par. She then eagled the 410-yard, par-5 15th hole and birdied 17 to finish at 151, which matched Krueger for second place.
Galligan, a self-proclaimed come-from-behind golfer, made a significant improvement of her own between the first and second halves of her round to finish in fourth. After shooting a front-nine 43, she paced herself on the back nine and moved up the leaderboard with a birdie on hole 15. She capped off the turnaround with a triumphant eagle on the par-5 18th hole, for which she received a loud round of applause from her peers.
Kym Pappathanasi (Renaissance) ended the championship in fifth place with a 158, which included a birdie on the par-3 hole 13.
Gale, a two-time Women’s Senior Amateur Champion in her own right, cruised to a 19-stroke victory in the Legends Division. It was the 2010 and 2012 Champion’s first time competing in the Legends Division after turning 70 last year.
“It feels great,” Gale said. “I didn’t play as well as I would have liked to for the state seniors, but it’s kind of been nice to come in and find out I won the Legends.”
She began the final round with a 7-stroke lead, which she increased rapidly by firing a clean front nine. She later finished with a 169, a 1-stroke improvement from her Day 1 score, to capture the divisional trophy.
While she felt she could have improved her putting, she said she enjoyed her return to the Women’s Senior Amateur overall.
“Yesterday I had three birdies, so that was good, kind of offset the other holes which I won’t talk about,” Gale joked, “but today was a putting problem. I just could not judge the speed of the greens, so a few too many three putts, but always enjoy playing, had a great group, had a great time.”
Goodnow finished in second, while Denise Dragonas (Rockport Golf Club) finished in third after shooting 10 strokes better during the final round.
Competitors paid tribute to Linda Goulet, the 2018 Women’s Senior Amateur Champion in the Legends Division, who passed away earlier this month after an eight-year battle with cancer. A longtime member of Presidents Golf Course, Goulet was an avid golfer who played in numerous championships through Mass Golf, the USGA and the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts. She also won seven Presidents Club Championships and played nearly 300 rounds of golf per year in retirement.
Goulet, a teacher at Dedham High School for 30 years, spread her love of the game through teaching golf at Curry College. She also coached volleyball at DHS and coached a women’s softball team.
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