- Golfer Benefits
MIDDLETON, Massachusetts – Megan Buck and Shannon Johnson of Thorny Lea Golf Club have yet again laid claim to the Townshend Cup, but it was not without drama. The decorated duo outlasted Victoria Veator (Plymouth Country Club) and Grace Farland (Marlborough Country Club) in a two-hole playoff on a sweltering day at Ferncroft Country Club. The 2023 Women’s Four-Ball Championship marks their fourth consecutive win as a team, and Buck’s seventh straight win overall.
Tara O’Donnell (Concord Country Club) and Laura Hasenfus (Needham Golf Club) took home the net title with a seven-under 66.
Johnson/Buck and Veator/Farland both birdied the par-5 18th hole to post three-under 70 and advance to the playoff, one shot clear of Mary Chamberlain (Cummaquid Golf Club) and Tara Connelly (Bay Club). The team of Mya Murphy (Student Member) and Jillian Johnson (Hatherly Country Club) needed birdie at the last to join the playoff, but settled for bogey and solo 4th.
“I think for sure this is the toughest win, obviously going to a playoff. We knew we needed a birdie at the 18th hole, Megan was able to make a birdie, knock a second shot up close and hit an awesome chip and hit a great putt. And obviously then in the playoff it was pretty exciting,” said Johnson.
Play returned to the par-4 first for the opening playoff hole, where only Johnson found the green in regulation. However, her severely downhill birdie bid ran well beyond the hole. Farland’s chip from high above the sloping green ran past the flag and settled 12 feet from the hole in the fringe. From there, she drained a curling par putt to flip the pressure on her opponents. Buck was up to the task, cooly holing her six footer after a well-played bunker shot.
They moved on to the second playoff hole, the par-5 ninth. Buck and Johnson each hit solid drives, followed by well struck second shots, Buck’s through the green into the rough, and Johnson’s settling on the back of the putting surface. Farland found the right trees with her tee shot, forcing a punched lay up to 160 yards out. From there, she proceeded to stuff her approach to six feet, again flipping the pressure back on her opponents.
This time, it was Johnson who rose to the occasion. After her eagle putt came up about 10 feet short, she knocked in the next for birdie. Farland’s birdie try caught the lip and spun out of the hole, keeping the Buck and Johnson dynasty intact.
Buck credited her friendship with Johnson for their on-course success: “We’re best friends off the course, so that makes it easy on the course. When you’re comfortable with each other, somebody’s getting down, it’s easy to pick them back up…our golf games even are fairly similar, so that makes it easy too.”
While Buck and Johnson continue to enjoy unprecedented success in this event, they are well aware that victory is not a given. “I feel like the competition has been getting…I mean it has always been good, but every year it’s the young girls getting better and better. So we definitely had our hands full today,” said Buck.
Indeed, the young competition was nipping at their heels throughout the afternoon. Veator and Farland went out in +1 37, but came on strong down the stretch, shooting -4 33 on the back nine. Veator, a recent high school graduate who will head to Flagler College in the fall, knocked it tight on the par-3 16th, then casually rolled in the birdie putt to get to -2.
Farland, who plays for the University of Hartford golf team, hit several clutch putts down the stretch. First a key par save on 17, followed by a birdie putt to force the playoff, and the aforementioned par putt that helped push the playoff to a second hole.
Like Buck, Farland pointed to her friendship with her partner as a key to their second place finish: “We just had fun together. We’ve been friends awhile now. I’ve played against Tori for like five years now. We always love battling it out together and she’s an awesome friend, competitor and golfer.”
Veator agreed, “We’ve known each other for so long that we know each of our struggles, but we know how to get each other back on track too, which helps a lot.”
The team of Tara O’Donnell and Laura Hasenfus tied for first place net with Connie Hayton (The Tour) and Sally DeGan (LPGA Amateurs Boston). O’Donnell and Hasenfus were awarded the title based on a card off. Both teams shot seven-under 66, two strokes clear of the next closest team. O’Donnell and Hasenfus tallied seven net birdies and a net eagle, while Hayton and DeGan combined for 8 net birdies.
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