- Golfer Benefits
NORTH SCITUATE, Massachusetts – A mix of rookies and veterans from every corner of the state made Tuesday a day of fun in the fog (and some sun) as 97 golfers competed on the first day of the 76th playing of the Massachusetts Women’s Senior Amateur Championship, which made its return to the coastal Hatherly Country Club for the first time in 30 years.
Three-time reigning champion Pamela Kuong (Charles River Country Club) and Sue Curtin (Boston Golf Club) set the pace in Division 1, each shooting 5-over 75. First-time competitor Mercedese Large (Taconic Golf Club) is one back at 76.
In the early afternoon, Caren Althauser (LPGA Amateurs) took home the Division 2 overall title, and Nancy Eaton (South Shore Country Club) was the Legends Division 2 winner.
The championship is contested over 36 holes of stroke play in Division 1 (Handicap Index® not exceeding 18.0) and over 18 holes (Tuesday only) in Division 2 (Handicap Index® between 18.1 – 36.0). Legends (age 70+) winners and low-net winners are also recognized in both divisions.
Growing up in Southern California, Sue Curtin feels at home playing a golf course cloaked in a marine layer.
“We called it June Gloom, so I felt home in the fog,” said Curtin, the senior winner at the New England Women’s Amateur champion a year ago.
Enlisting the support from Hatherly member Mary Mulcahy, Curtin made her lone birdie on the par-3 8th and had some key par saves (including on the 17th) as she tries to take home the state senior amateur for the first time and take the lead in the race for Mass Golf’s Women’s Senior Player of the Year Award.
“When you enter a golf tournament, you’re here to win,” said Curtin, who’s currently second in the Player of the Year standings. “[Mary] was great. She knows my game. She gave me a number and told me where to hit it, and I got into robot mode. I made a few mistakes with pace on the greens, but other than that, I kept the ball in front of me.”
Pamela Kuong also had just one birdie (par-4 13th) in her pursuit to join the late Nancy Black, the only person to win four consecutive titles (1981-84) in this championship. Fresh off her appearance in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in Portland, Oregon, Hatherly was a familiar place for Kuong, who has played the course frequently.
Following close behind the leaders is first-time participant Mercedese “Ellie” Large, a Connecticut resident who joined Taconic Golf Club this year. Large made birdie on holes 8 and 10 to get to even par around the midpoint and hopes to set herself up for an even better round Wednesday.
“There’s more to do, but I’m excited,” said Large when reflecting on the opening round. “I look forward to playing senior events. I’ve gone a little mad because I try to play in every Mass Golf event. I have not been successful, but I’ve done everything.”
Large ran into some trouble down the stretch, including a lost ball on the 17th, which led to a triple-bogey. “I’ll dream about it tonight,” she said. “Tomorrow I’ll have a new plan. Each shot was a good shot, other than that one, but the ones I made, I was happy with them.”
Large also found herself fascinated with playing in the fog. “It adds character to the course, and I really enjoyed it,” she said.
Barb Hecimovich (The Tour) capped her round off with the lone birdie on the challenging uphill par-3 18th to finish three off the lead.
Karen Althauser entered Tuesday with a sense of determination. She said as much before teeing off was successful as the Charlestown resident shot 88 to win the honors by three strokes.
“My plan was I have to win, and I felt good about my score,” said Althauser, a frequent volunteer at Mass Golf championship. “You just have to go out and do what you can. It was such a cool day out here with the fog, the clouds, and the mist.”
Althauser serves as president of the Boston Chapter of the LPGA Amateur Golf Association and was encouraged to see more than a dozen of its members in the field.
“I’m excited to see them play tournament golf,” Althauser said of her clubmates. “You get a great course and a great tournament run by Mass Golf, and it’s a really fun experience. We have a couple women that this is their first time they came out to play in a championship. You have to manage your nerves a little differently than our social events, and yet you see so many familiar faces out here. That makes it a nice day.”
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Vittoria (Vicki) Malatesta (Sagamore Spring Golf Club) won the tiebreaker for the Low Net score at 1-under 69 as she made par (net birdie) on the 16th and shot the better back nine score to edge out Laura Rooney (Ludlow Country Club).
In the Legends category, Nancy Eaton (South Shore Country Club) earned shot 100 for the gross title, while Marilyn Miller (Fairway Ladies of Franklin Park) won Net with a 7-over 76.
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While it may have been shrouded with fog most of the day, Hatherly Country Club is home to sweeping views of the coast along the South Shore. The club was founded in 1899 and next year will celebrate its 125th anniversary.
While the identities of the original course designers were not recorded, Hatherly was founded by a few prominent members of the North Scituate Beach Improvement Association. The club has seen several redesigns, including those by noted golf course architects Sam Mitchell and Brian Silva, but in recent years, Bruce Hepner has been involved in helping make on-course changes.
In addition to tree removal, many of the greens have runoff areas, with the fourth green similar to those found at the famed Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.
The club hosted U.S. Senior Open Qualifying last year and in 2020 held the Girls’ Junior Championship. Many college golfers competed, including Rebecca Skoler (Univ. of Virginia), this year’s Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Champion, who shot 3-under 69 in the final round.
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