MASSACHUSETTS FATHER AND DAUGHTER CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS
Sandwich, MA — While most of the country and the world will remember August 21, 2017 as the day of the total solar eclipse, the first such event in 38 years and the last until 2024, 50 father and daughter pairs will remember Monday for a different reason. That same date marked the 35th playing of the Massachusetts Father and Daughter Championship, where those father and daughter pairs took to The Ridge Club on Cape Cod for a great day of competition and camaraderie.
For Gene and Jackie Gonzalez, Monday marked the day they took home an MGA Championship, their first trophy together in an MGA event. Shooting an impressive 4-under par 67 in 18-holes of play, the father daughter duo from Charles River Country Club made birdie on four of their last five holes and captured the Championship division by a one-stroke margin over Thorny Lea Golf Club’s John and Tate Hadges.
“It means an opportunity to spend some time with my daughter,” said Gene on winning Monday’s Championship Proper. “She played fantastic. We kept things going. We had some laughs and had a great time, so it means a lot, obviously, to win something with your daughter in a championship with the MGA. We’ve been playing in MGA events for years so it’s an honor.”
After making the turn at 1-under par, one stroke behind Team Hadges, Gonzalez and Gonzalez bounced back from a rare bogey on the par-5 12th hole, the longest hole of the day, and then played their best golf of the day, shooting under par on four of the final six holes, two of which came on par-5’s.
As to what the difference was on the final holes, daughter Jackie, a rising sophomore at the College of Holy Cross and the reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Year, said it best. “We started to play better.”
For the father and daughter pair, who play so often together that they say it could even be considered irregular, Monday’s Championship Proper was a continuation of the type of golf they’ve been playing all summer. Monday’s victory follows their win in the Charles River Country Club Father-Daughter Championship, an event they captured earlier this month.
“A couple things started to happen during that end,” added Gene. “Jackie made a couple of great putts. On 17, I hit an eight iron that I thought was going to be okay that ended up about 15 feet. She rolled that.”
On the par-5 18th hole, the second longest hole at roughly 520 yards, a solid finish helped seal the victory for the team from West Roxbury.
“We had a good tee shot and good second shot on 18,” explained Gene. “Had an eagle putt of about 18 feet that [Jackie] almost made and then we just knocked that in. We just hit good shots coming in. We weren’t even thinking about birdies in a row. We were just thinking about the next shot.”
Monday’s birdie finish was particularly special for Gene and Jackie as it has been the final hole that has been their biggest point of frustration in previous Massachusetts Father & Daughter Championships. In each of the past three Championships, the pair have placed T2 after their spot on the leaderboard were decided on the final shots.
“The motivation was we’ve three-putted 18 twice to lose by one,” explained Gene. “Driving down here, that was our motivation. We’ve three putted twice on 18 and the last one, the putt almost dropped, so that was the one. Motivation was the last couple years where we three-putted the last hole.”
SMITH DUO PREVAILS IN A FOUR-HOLE PLAYOFF TO WIN FORWARD DIVISION
In the Forward division, which saw 10 father and daughter duos compete, Monday’s champion was decided in a playoff for the second straight year.
The team of Phil and Morgan Smith (Vesper CC) edged out Eduardo and Madeline Cordeiro (Belmont CC) in a four-hole sudden-death playoff to claim the title.
This was the fourth year that the Massachusetts Father & Daughter Championship has featured the forward division and the third time that the Smith family has been victorious.
Phil Smith previously won the championship with daughter Morgan in 2015 when the event was contested at LeBaron Hills Country Club, while he and his daughter Molly won in 2014 at Wellesley Country Club.
After both finishing at 4-over par 75 in 18-hole regulation play, the two groups matched each other’s play for the first three holes of the playoff before the deciding fourth hole, a hole the Smith’s made par to finish atop the leaderboard.
On the final hole, Phil was at 101 yards and Morgan was at 66 yards and it was decided between the two of them that Morgan would hit the next shot off their respective drives.
“Morgan said she wanted to hit the ball,” explained Phil. “She hit it in about 10 feet and I lipped out and she tapped it in.”
It was that decision that led them to par the hole and finalize the contest. “It was a hard fought one.”
The playoff was made possible on the 18th hole when the duo made birdie on the final hole of regulation, their third of the day.
“For me, this is the highlight of the summer,” said Phil, who rotates which of his three daughters gets to play in the annual tournament with him.
In addition to winning Monday’s Massachusetts Father & Daughter Championship, Morgan also won the Ladies Club Championship at Longmeadow Golf Club earlier this summer and just last week, advanced to the Drive, Chip and Putt Regional Qualifier from Renaissance Golf Club.