Aug 3, 2022

Competition corner

Amateurs: The Western is under way

While defending champion Michael Thorbjornsen got off to a solid start – a 2-under 69 – and Amesbury’s Chris Francoeur posted one of nine 68s to seize a share of sixth place, a small parade of New Englanders has its work cut out for them at arguably the most grueling amateur championships in the country.

The Western Amateur starts with two rounds of stroke play and by the end of Wednesday will be trimmed to the low 44 and ties at Exmoor CC in Highland Park, Ill.

After Round 1, the cut at low 44 and ties falls at level par and only Francoeur and Thorbjornsen (from Wellesley) were inside of that.

Patrick Welch, the Oklahoma fifth-year senior who spent much of his childhood in Providence, opened with 1-over 72. Ben James of Milford, Conn., the top-ranked junior in the country, shot 73, while Cole Anderson of Camden, Maine, and Florida State, posted 74. Davis Chatfield of Attleboro and Caleb Manuel of Topsham, Maine, each recorded 77s.

Thursday, the low 44 and ties will play 36 holes, after which only the low 16 scores will get into match play. The Rounds of 16 and 8 will be contested Friday. The semifinals and final will be held Saturday.

Women amateurs: Alaska happening

Tracy Welch of Winchester and Pam Kuong of Wellesley Hills both earned spots into the match play portion of the U.S. Women’s Amateur. They had tied for 26th in medal play with aggregate totals of 157 for 36 holes at Anchorage Golf Course. In Round 1, Welch defeated Gigi Higgins of Florida, 2 and 1, but in the Round of 32 her run came to an end with a 2 and 1 loss to Sherry Wright of Oxnard, Calif. Welch led, 1 up, through 11, but lost the 12th, 15th, and 17thholes. Kuong was ousted, 1 up, by Sara Ingram of Nashville, Tenn., in the Round of 64. Christine Gagner of North Oxford shot 164 and did not make match play. With this visit to Alaska, the USGA has now conducted a championship in every state.

The championship trophies are positive proof that Susan and James Curtin make a formidable Mother-Son tandem.

Local: That’s 10, count ‘em, 10 

Last Friday, James Curtin did an admirable job as caddie, helping his mother, Susan, in the final 18 holes of the annual Ouimet Memorial Tournament at Woodland GC. Susan Curtis conceded it would have been easy to lose focus, but James wasn’t about to let that happen. All he had to do was remind her about what was on deck – the Mass Golf Mother-Son Championship. His efforts paid off twofold; Susan finished with a 77 at Woodland last Friday and the duo from Boston Golf Club and Norfolk GC combined for a 2-under 70 in the Modified Scotch format to win Division 2 (18-and-younger) at Acushnet River Valley. It is the 10th consecutive year that Susan and James have won their respective division in this annual competition. That’s some serious material for a grand trophy case at home. In Division 1, Judy and Will Frodigh (Dedham Country & Polo Club) shot a 70 to win.