Childhood Friends Martin & Pleat Capture Massachusetts Mixed Four-Ball Title - MASSGOLF

Tracy Martin & James Pleat earn three-stroke victory In Championship Opener at Granite Links

By Steve Derderian

QUINCY, Massachusetts (April 23, 2024) – Tracy Martin and James Pleat have been right on the doorstep of winning the Massachusetts Mixed Four-Ball Championship for the Stone Cup together, with top-five finishes each of the past three years. With the wind swirling in all directions on a blustery Tuesday at Granite Links Golf Club, overlooking the city skyline, the childhood friends from the Greater Lowell area withstood the oscillating conditions the best and capped off the day with a birdie to finish at 6-under-par 65.

“This one is special,” said Martin, a former standout at the University of Richmond. “James and I have been playing golf forever together. When we played junior golf, we drove up in his mom’s minivan. He was one of my best friends growing up and still is. It’s a real honor to play with him. We don’t get to do it as much as we like. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s great to have another win.”

A total of 76 teams (152 players) competed in the 101st contest for the Stone Cup. The one-day, 18-hole championship is a mixed-team event, with side-by-side teams of men and women competing in a four-ball stroke play format. The players competed using the Milton & Quincy courses (front & back nine, respectively), with tees set at 6,082 yards for men and 5,292 yards for women.

Frances Rush & Jack Moran, of nearby Presidents Golf Course, earned the Net Division title with a score of 5-under 66.

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Martin, a member at Vesper Country Club, made birdie to start the round as the pair made the turn at 3-under. A former Dartmouth College standout and New Hampshire Amateur champion, Pleat made the decisive surge by driving the green and making a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-4 5th (14th hole of the day) on the Milton Course.

“We were fortunate because it was significantly downwind on that hole, so I figured throw a driver up there in the wind, let it take it, and fortunately, I got some good bounces, and I made the putt,” Pleat said.

Leading by two strokes on the 17th, Pleat executed a nervy two-putt with Martin out of the hole to save par. That gave them plenty of breathing room playing back up toward the clubhouse on the final hole, where he knocked home the team’s fifth and final birdie putt.

“Those short ones are difficult, especially in the wind and especially when you know you’re in the lead,” Pleat said. “We both made a few of those today, and I think that definitely made the difference.”

Tracy Martin, who won the Mass Girls’ Junior Amateur back in 2008, captured the Mixed Four-Ball title with James Pleat. (David Colt)

When he’s working, Erik Robinson is often in the air hovering above Granite Links as a flight attendant for United. On Tuesday, however, the parade of planes flew above Robinson and his wife Patra Duangpakot, who turned in the best round of the morning wave.

“They’re up there, and I’m on the golf course,” Robinson said. “I always like these days better,”

That was especially the case Tuesday as the couple made birdie on the 7th and 8th (Quincy course) and cleaned up a par on the final hole to finish as runners-up at 3-under 68. Robinson and Duangpakot played throughout the winter at Sandwich Hollows Golf Course on the Cape and were well adapted to playing in these elements after battling cold, rainy conditions earlier this year.

“We love playing in this event and the [Sheeran Modified Scotch], and this is probably the best day we’ve had in any of those,” Robinson said. “It’s fun to get some putts rolling and make some birdies. It was a great way to kick off the golf season.” 


Marion Maney has been away from competitive golf for nearly a decade, but when she took a drive up to Granite Links on Monday to practice chipping and putting, the pre-event nerves came rushing back.

“If I didn’t have the tingles, then that means I didn’t care, so I like that feeling,” Maney, 61, said before making a long-awaited return to the Mass Golf stage on Tuesday at the Mixed Four-Ball Championship.

Maney, feted for her 1992 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur championship win plus eight Mass Golf championship victories, is one of the most accomplished women in the state’s history. Sporting a pink sweater and flashy red visor from the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open at Newport, Maney’s return Tuesday is one she thought may not have been possible.

For several years, she was sidelined with chronic shoulder and hip injuries, all while caring for her ailing parents, who adopted her and three siblings at age 3. She turned 60 in the fall of 2022 and grew tired of waking up and not feeling her best self. So she began her return journey, nearly 18 months in the making. Beginning Thanksgiving 2022, she started a series of stretches and exercises with the simple goal of just trying to feel better. Eventually, she decided maybe a casual round was in the cards. She played 10 rounds last year, most at New England Country Club in Bellingham.

On Tuesday, the pair started with a birdie but later withdrew due to the elements. In the months ahead, however, she hopes for opportunities to tee it up in competition. 

“I stretch every morning for 20 minutes, and I feel fantastic in my hips and my waist,” Maney said. “I love the game, but it does take time to do it and participate. But it will always be my favorite passion.”

Competition Notables

  • Tara Joy-Connelly, a 2021 inductee into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame, turned in a 72 (T9) alongside Michael Boden, who played in the 2022 U.S. Senior Amateur at The Kittansett Club.
  • In 2023, former UConn hockey standout Liz Gallinaro was among the state’s most improved players by Handicap Index and qualified to compete in the Mass Women’s Amateur. On Tuesday, she launched the new season with a 2-under finish alongside Victor Galvani. Originally slated to play with her brother, Andrew, fellow Framingham member Galvani stepped in despite having never set foot on the course previously. Galvani made four birdies down the stretch, including a 15-footer on the 8th to bring the pair to 2-under.
  • With a tee-set reaching back to 483 yards, the par-4 opening hole on the Milton Course is one of the state’s longest par-4s at courses open to the public. See Full List > While competitors played it at much shorter distances, the hole yielded just two birdies and was the second most difficult for the field on Tuesday.

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About Granite Links

While “The Big Dig” changed the landscape of Boston’s infrastructure, the megaproject also provided an opportunity for Granite Links Golf Club to be built.  Located on a 540-acre parcel of land, the site of former landfills and quarries, the semi-private club became a repository for the 900,000 truckloads of 13 million tons of material that was excavated for “The Big Dig.”

Designed by John Stafford, each of its championship 9-hole layouts — Milton (2003), Granite (2004), and Quincy (2006) — feature varying elevations and unique designs and command a stunning view of the distant Boston skylines. The wide fairways and shorter holes, paired with steep mounding, gives it a European feel. The club also offers a massive driving range with 40 bays open to the general public. 

While the course itself has received numerous recognition, Granite Links has also become an entertainment hub within the Greater Boston area. In addition to a well-stocked practice range, its restaurants and service feature award-winning cuisine and atmosphere with cozy dining rooms and outdoor patios. The Tavern is open year round for lunch and dinner, and two seasonal patio bars — Crossing Nines and the Links — are open spring through fall.

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