- Golfer Benefits
BREWSTER, Massachusetts – Blue skies and sunshine were battling to break through, but ultimately it was the clouds and rain that dominated day one of the Massachusetts Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship for the Keyes Cup at Cape Cod National Golf Club.
In the Championship Division, the top of the leaderboard is again populated with familiar names. Two years ago at this championship, the top of the leaderboard after Round 1 read: Pamela Kuong (Charles River CC), Megan Buck (Thorny Lea GC), & Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea GC). This year, the same three are at the top, with Mary Chamberlain (Cummaquid GC) tagging along.
The Keyes brings together the best Massachusetts female golfers over the age of 25 annually. The Championship Division identifies a winner over 36 holes of play, the Tournament Division does as well for players with a Handicap Index up to 18.0. The event also includes an 18-hole Flighted Division for players H.I. 14.0 and higher.
Shannon Johnson is a four-time champion of this event, so it was a surprise to no one to see her tied for the lead after one round of play. Battling on-and-off rain throughout the round, Johnson credited plenty of practice with the rain slicks this summer for her comfort in the elements.
“Anytime we have to put this rain gear on, it’s kind of a pain, but we should be used to it at this point with all the rain we’ve had, which I think I am,” said Johnson, who won this same championship in similarly rainy conditions in 2021 at Berkshire Hills Country Club. “It’ll be nice to see the sunshine [tomorrow].”
In shooting an opening round 75, Johnson made a healthy mix of birdies, pars, and bogeys. Most important, she managed to keep big numbers off the card. After a beautiful drive on 18, Johnson hit an approach with her unmistakably tempo, that’s enough to make any golfer jealous. The shot set up one final birdie look. And while the putt didn’t fall, Johnson is getting more comfortable by the minute at Cape Cod National.
“I hit the ball pretty well today, much better than I did last week at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur,” she said. “There were just a couple of silly mistakes I keep making. Hopefully, we can clean that up tomorrow.
Shooting a matching 75 was Pamela Kuong who also managed to avoid any big numbers. While many view Kuong as one of the top competitors in the field, she was honored and excited to be competing alongside the other big names in the field.
“[Winning] It would be amazing, especially when you look at the depth of the field,” Kuong said. “Any time Shannon, Megan, Mary Chamberlain, Natalie, and all those guys are here, it’s always tough. I think my goal is that I just want to hit good shots and feel good about my putting and my game leading into next week.”
With good friend Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich GC) caddying for her, Kuong feels like her game is in a good spot, just one week ahead of next week’s U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur Championship — an event Kuong will be competing in.
“There’s no pressure when Doug’s there. He helps me out a lot,” Kuong said.
Defending champion Megan Buck shot 78 in the opening round and trails the leaders by just three. Talking post-round, Buck put to bed any thoughts of added pressure coming with last year’s championship.
“I don’t think I had any more nerves,” Buck said. “I think it gave me confidence knowing that I can do it. I was able to do it last year, so I came in feeling pretty confident.”
Anyone making their first trip around Cape Cod National can easily get tripped up by the many penalty areas, ones both visible and hidden. With Monday being Buck’s first time around, she’s excited to attack on Tuesday with more knowledge about the course.
“This was the first time I played the course, I didn’t get a practice round or anything. So it’s definitely tricky to believe some of the lines off the tee. Now I’m excited to play it tomorrow.”
Cape Cod native Mary Chamberlain rounds out the top four. Her opening round 78 matched Buck and also kept her just three back of the lead.
Chamberlain’s opening nine was a bit of a rollercoaster, but it certainly didn’t lack excitement.
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) September 18, 2023
After an impressive opening round 80, Cheryl Krueger (Orchards GC) holds a three-shot lead in the Tournament Division over Barb Hecimovich (The Tour). Krueger was the only player in the Tournament Division to make a birdie on the 15th hole. That paired with another birdie on 7, and seven pars, helped Krueger build the 3-shot lead after one round of play.
Three others are on their heels, as Sharon Hayes (Oakley CC), Irene Haley (Ferncroft CC), and Cathy Flatley (Presidents GC) all shot matching 84s.
The Tournament Division players will tee it up again on Tuesday in the Final Round at Cape Cod National.
Year after year the Flighted Division brings the women’s golfing community together for a day of late summer fun. This year was no different on the Cape, as 17 players teed it up. While they were forced to battle the rain on Monday, they did so with smiles on their faces.
Cathy Burgess (Indian Ridge CC) made a pair of pars to start and close her opening nine, shooting an impressive 42. Burgess started play on the back nine the same way, with another couple of pars. After battling the difficult stretch of holes 12-15, she steadied the ship closing with two more pars and a final bogey.
With a score of 89, Burgess easily captured the Gross Division of the Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, edging out Kate Collins (LPGA Amateurs Boston) and Christine Veator (Ferncroft CC).
“It feels amazing. I’m shocked!” Burgess said. “I had a really good front nine. I felt good with a 42 and ran into some trouble on the back nine. I don’t know what happened. I had four really bad holes and then I felt better about the fact that I was able to get a couple of pars before I finished.”
In the Flighted Division (Net) competition, this year’s winner is Vicki Malatesta (Sagamore Spring GC), who shot a net score of 78.
Now celebrating its 25th year, Cape Cod National is an 18-hole championship golf course located in Brewster, Massachusetts. The club retained the services of the well known New England-based architectural firm of Cornish, Silva, & Mungeam with Brian Silva being the lead designer and opened for play in 1998.
Some notable events previously held at Cape Cod National include:
2021 Tri-State Matches – Won by Massachusetts
2018 U.S. Women’s Open Qualifying – Celeste Dao* (Canada) & Celine Herbin (France)
2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur Qualifying – Qualifiers included Matt Parziale
2013 U.S. Amateur Qualifying – Qualifiers included Richy Werenski
*Of note – In 2018, Celeste Dao was 1 of just 15 amateurs to tee it up in the U.S. Women’s Open that year.
Dao has found success qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open in Massachusetts. Earlier this year at Duxbury Yacht Club, she advanced to the National Championship through Massachusetts for a third time. She also advanced via the TPC Boston Qualifier in 2019.
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