Kathy Duguay played in her first Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts championship event on Wednesday at Wyantenuck Country Club.
"I really didn’t have any idea how I’d do," said Duguay of how she would fare in WGAM’s Senior Championship against a state-level field. "I had no expectations."
And after a double bogey, double bogey, bogey start?
"I just figured whatever was going to happen, was going to happen," the Taconic Golf Club member said.
Amazingly, 15 holes later, she was the Class A and overall WGAM senior champion.
Duguay, a dominant force in women’s golf in the Berkshires for years, made birdies on Nos. 5 and 7, a single bogey on the long, par-5 13th hole, and 12 pars to finish with a 4-over 76 to edge Mary Harris, of Elinwood Country Club, by a single shot. Mary Gale, of Bedrock Golf Course, finished two shots back.
"The runner-up was in a different group and Mary Gale was in ours," Duguay said. "I knew I was in the group with the lowest handicaps and that there were other good players, but I wasn’t paying attention to the other scores. I was just focused on my game."
Duguay pointed to her favorite club and her second-favorite golf course as big reasons for her comeback.
"My chipper is a very old club, but it is my favorite club in the world," Duguay said. "I was on the fringe on a lot of holes and I like to use it from the fringe.
And then there is Wyantenuck.
"Next to Taconic, it is my favorite course," she said. "The greens are very similar those at Taconic and it’s in beautiful shape. Knowing the course gave me a bit of an edge."
Which is only fair considering the disadvantage Berkshire golfers -- both men and women -- face when trying to compete at a state level. Most of the events are held in the east, which is why Duguay was playing in her first WGAM event.
"I don’t want to drive three hours to play in tournaments," she said.
The timing of the WGAM’S visit to the Berkshires was just right -- this was the first year Duguay was eligible to play in the senior event (ages 55 and older).
Duguay’s rally should come as no surprise to those who have watched her determination in her successful battle against breast cancer over the past few years.
"My health is good, everything is good," the East Stroudsburg University professor said.
The biggest downside currently, she said, is medication she takes as part of ongoing treatment.
"It gives you joint and muscle pain," she said. "Someone described it as instantly plunging you into old age."
In terms of the medication impacting her golf game, Duguay said she hasn’t noticed a major loss of distance, but isn’t satisfied with her iron play.
"I don’t seem to be able to hit my irons solid. It’s changed my game some, but I hope to get the irons back on track with the help of Kay [McMahon]," she said.
"Her determination and her mental game are remarkable," said LPGA Hall of Fame instructor McMahon of eduKaytiongolf, who wasn’t surprised to hear of Duguay’s rally. "She’s a very gentle soul with a braveest of hearts."
The win came eight days after a strange finish to the Women’s Allied Championship in which she finished second, sort of. Duguay shot a 77 to tie Kathy Sullivan. However, instead of a playoff, Sullivan was given the win in a match of cards (Sullivan had the lower score on the back nine).
"They use to have a playoff," Duguay said. "They had one the last time we played at Skyline. I don’t know when or why they changed the rule."
Sullivan, the wife of Wyantenuck head professional Tom Sullivan, also expressed disappointment in the lack of a playoff and actually came out to see Duguay on Wednesday.
Still, the state championship more than made up for that and provided a happy conclusion to Duguay’s golfing summer in the Berkshires.
"It was a really nice experience," she said on Saturday. "I’m headed back to East Stroudsburg. Classes begin on Monday."
Last week, I reported that Scott Hurley won his first club championship at Wahconah Country Club. I misunderstood information that had been relayed to me.
Actually, Hurley’s story is remarkable. It was actually his first Wahconah title since winning it previously 30 years ago. But that’s only part of the story as he explains.
"I won the club championship at Berkshire Hills in 1981," Hurley said. "I also won the city and county championship. In 1984, I won the Wahconah club championship and the county championship. I moved to Florida after that. I now come back in the summers and love getting to play the courses I grew up on. In 2011, I won the club championship at Berkshire Hills 30 years after winning in 1981 and this year I won at Wahconah 30 years after winning in 1984."
Amazing but true.
And just to add an exclamation point, Hurley and partner Jamie Cimini captured the first division in last weekend’s Little Brown Jug with a 3-under 210 total over 54 holes.
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