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CANTON, Massachusetts – The Curtin clan did it again. For the ninth consecutive year, Sue Curtin (Boston Golf Club) has won a Division at the Mother Son Modified Scotch Tournament alongside her son James Curtin (Norfolk Golf Club). The Curtins were the Division 2 Gross Champions for sons aged 13 to 18, shooting even-par 72.
The Division 1 Gross crown belonged to Michelle Morgan (Amherst Golf Club) and Jesse Morgan (Northfield Golf Club) who shot 5-under-par 67. In Division 3, Cindy Remis (Andover Country Club) and William Remis (Andover Country Club) shot 4-over 40 across 9 holes to win both Gross and Net.
This year, the Mother Son Modified Scotch was held at Brookmeadow Country Club. Entires for mother son are open to mothers and grandmothers, as well as sons and grandsons. In modified scotch, both golfers hit a tee shot, select which drive to play, and then alternate shots until the hole is complete.
The event is broken into a Championship and Net Division. The Championship Division is regular scoring, while Net subtracts 50 percent of a combined handicap score.
Not only did Michelle Morgan (Amherst Golf Club) and Jesse Morgan (Northfield Golf Club) win their first ever Mother Son Modified Scotch title, they did so in convincing fashion. The Morgans played about as clean as they possibly could have on Wednesday.
The pair had three birdies on the front nine and two on the back nine to get into the clubhouse at 5-under-par 67 and finish four strokes lower than the next closest team.
“The win is huge for us,” said Michelle, who is the women’s golf team head coach at Amherst College. “We know the game quite well, I’ve never had the time to play in a lot of higher competition, Jesse has, but I’m also a coach so that competitive drive never goes away. We just love to compete, with and against each other. There are times we go head-to-head out on the golf course. This was really fun just to do it together and be somewhat on our games and be able to recover from a couple of errant shots and up-and-downs we needed to get. The juices were flowing well.”
Earlier this year, Jesse had intended on playing in the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, but he missed the cut by one stroke. Though he missed out on the event, that allowed him to be able to compete in the mother son alongside his mother.
“He missed qualifying for the Amateur by one stroke, so I became second fiddle,” Michelle said with his laugh.
Jokes aside, their performance on the course was serious and it paid off in the end with their win.
“My mother hit her tee ball very well and I was hitting approach shots in,” Jesse said. “With good tee balls, she left me as a partner some good approach shots and then I would hit it to the green and she would clean up or we would two-putt. We hit a lot of greens in regulation, so that was kind of the name of the game. We were zigging and zagging well.”
The Morgans previously competed in the mother son once before, but now with a win on their resumes, they can proudly be recognized for their achievement.
“In amateur golf we want to have a little clout,” Jesse said. Someone sees our name, we want them to think the Morgan’s are good players.” Wednesday was certainly a strong step towards establishing that line of thinking.
Also coming in under par and finishing in solo second for the division was the pair of Kim Grady (Haverhill Golf & Country Club) and Will Grady (Haverhill Golf & Country Club) who shot 1-under 71. Mary Jane Wagner (Nashawtuc Country Club) and Stephen Wagner (Granite Links Golf Club) finished at an ever par-72.
In the Net Division, Sarah Forbes (The Country Club) and Casey Forbes (The Country Club) shot 8-under 64 to come out on top. The Forbes had two net eagles, on the 5th hole (par-4, 346 yards) and 8th hole (par-5, 434 yards), as well as five birdies in their round.
They held off two other teams that finished at 6-under 66.
The headline of the day came out of Division 2. Sue Curtin (Boston Golf Club) and James Curtin (Norfolk Golf Club) won the Gross Division title shooting an even-par 72. Remarkably, that now marks nine consecutive years in which Curtin and her now 16-year-old son James have won a Division at Mother Son Modified Scotch.
“We had a couple of tough bogeys,” Sue said. “We bogeyed our first hole, trying to get into the alternating shot rhythm is always a little challenging, but after that we regrouped and really just played extremely consistent. Whenever we got in trouble, one of us would pull through. James made an amazing putt on hole 14 for a par save. Our goal was to keep it at even or try and get a little under par and we just kept playing really consistent golf and not letting ourselves get into too much trouble.”
The Curtin’s are very well versed in the mother son tournament, but for Sue, seeing her son improve every year is a welcome sight and also provides some relief in terms of the modified scotch format.
“The great thing is every year James comes out and is hitting the ball further and better, so it takes a little bit of pressure off me,” Sue said. “We kind of know going into it that it’s a tough format, so we don’t put a lot of pressure on ourselves on each shot. We know that pars are really and you’re going to make a couple mistakes when you’re out there, especially in that format. I think we’ve done it enough to know that if you just stay really patient and keep making pars, you’re going to have a really good outcome.”
The Curtin’s had a clean front nine, posting all pars. On the back, they were able to get in for birdies on the 11th (par-3, 134 yards) and 12th (par-5, 454 yards) holes. For James, playing alongside his mom is an opportunity he never takes for granted.
“Since we’ve been doing this so long and just seeing the tournament and playing in it multiple times, every year it’s something I look forward to getting to play with my mom,” he said.
In the Net Division, Elizabeth Archer (Country Club of Greenfield) and Dylan Archer (Country Club of Greenfield) shot 2-under 70 to finish in first place. The Archers had two net birdies, three on front and two on the back, as they earned the win.
One other team came in even for the Net Division. Margaret Hale (Rockport Golf Club) and Michael Hale (MIAA) had three net eagles and one net birdie to come in solo second.
Cindy Remis (Andover Country Club) and her son William Remis (Andover Country Club) shot 4-over 40 to win both Gross and Net Honors in Division 3. Playing just nine holes, the Remis’s had five pars in the round. Their net score came out to a mark of 6-under 30. They concluded the round with a total of six net birdies.
Will, 11, and his mother won the net division last year and this year, his mom credited Will for their performance on Wednesday. She said they played well off one another in the modified scotch format.
“It can definitely be very challenging because obviously you can get put in places you’re not used to being in other times when you’re playing your own ball,” Cindy said. “We actually dinged and donged pretty well today and he was very sweet when mom missed a shot. He handled it like a champion because he missed very few out there today and I didn’t necessarily do my part as much as I could have.”
Cindy and her son started playing more golf last year during the COVID-19 pandemic and now the sport, as well as the mother son, is something they love to share.
“There’s honestly nothing better,” Cindy said. “I look forward to playing with him in any type of tournament or just getting out there and playing and we have such a good time. He’s ultra competitive, so today the fact that he played as well as he did was really fun to watch.”
Cindy’s sentiment reinforces what parent child tournaments are all about.
“It never gets old seeing that big smile on his face, especially because he knows that he really was the reason we did so well today,” she said. “He goes out there with his mindset that he wants to win and he does everything he can to make that happen.”
As part of the festivities on Wednesday, Richard and Barbara Copeland served as honorary starters for the event. The Mother Son Modified Scotch Tournament dates all the way back to 1959 and Barbara, who will turn 90 next month, has twice won the event alongside her son Richard.
In 1984 they won at Blue Hill Country Club in Canton and in 1990 they captured a victory at Marshfield Country Club. Both times, the win came in Division 1. The Copelands are a symbol of the memories parent-child tournaments can create for families.
The Copelands were welcomed as guests as a thank you for their love of golf, family, and their support of the Mass Golf Association. They were invited as honorary starters and Barbara had planned on playing a couple of holes, but she ended up playing alongside her son for a full 18 holes.
Even more impressively, they shot a 10-over-par 82.
“It was funny because initially she didn’t want to do it and I kept pushing her and pushing her and then finally she relented,” Richard said. “She started practicing her chipping and putting and she went to the driving range a couple times. Again, especially with the weather, it got pretty hot there an hour and a half in or so and she got a little weak, but she’s a fighter. It was just a good lesson for everybody that you’ve got to keep going.”
The day was undoubtedly special for the Copelands. Richard moved to California in 1991, but he spent his youth as a member of Walpole Country Club and played in several Mass Amateurs over the years. His parents were members of Walpole and eventually The Ridge Club, and they spent a lifetime playing golf.
“We’re a golfing family,” Richard said. “My parents have traveled the world playing golf. Overall, it’s just been a huge part of our life.”
Seeing Richard and Barbara play through all 18 holes was undoubtedly the highlight of the day and something the other golfers in attendance throughly enjoyed.
“They were a couple holes ahead of us,” Sue Curtin said. “We were always kind of peeking through the trees trying to get a good look at them putting on the greens. We had the opportunity to talk to both of them in the clubhouse after the round and it was just so special to see a mother son out there. I told James if I can make it to almost 90, I’d look forward to keep playing in this thing with him.”
The Copelands have been a major part of Mass Golf for many years and it special to have them be a part of things on Wednesday.
“The day overall was fantastic,” Richard said. “We didn’t know if my mother would be able to play three holes, nine holes, or a full 18. It was just awesome to see her make it the full 18 holes. We were paired with the McGuires who couldn’t have been nicer and more fun to play with. It was just a great capstone to our golfing life.”