NORTH CONWAY, New Hampshire – Sixty-four talented women golfers, 54-holes, three days, one magnificent golf course and all with one goal: 2020 New England Women’s Amateur Champion.
The 63rd edition of one of New England’s most cherished female golf competions has been settled and the winner is a name that’s finished near the top of many tournaments. Now, after a supperb 54-hole performance, she has earned the prestigious title as the best amateur female golfer in New England.
Megan Buck, of Thorny Lea Golf Club, won her first New England Golf Association title by following up back-to-back 72s with a 1-under-par 70 on July 1 in the third and final round at North Conway Country Club. She held off fellow Thorny Lea member Shannon Johnson, the two-time defending champion, by one stroke.
“I always enjoy playing in this event, and I’m just so happy I could pull off this win to start the competitive season,” Buck said.
Buck grew up in Glendale, Arizona, and attended Northern Arizona University. She has since moved to North Easton and has placed highly in past Mass Golf, regional and national championship events, even making the quarterfinals of the 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. But she said the New England Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur is the first individual event she’s won since high school.
After taking a one-stroke lead through Round 1, Buck began the final round three strokes behind Johnson and one behind Columbia University-bound Alison Paik (Ledgmont CC; RI). Buck saved her best round for last, pulling ahead with a birdie on the 9th hole and then sinking birdie putts on the 13th and 14th.
Johnson, who entered the final round with a two-stroke lead, finished 3-over on the front nine but pulled within a stroke with a birdie on the 17th. However, Buck made par on the final four holes to keep the lead.
“It’s always tough competing against Shannon and Alison, so I knew consistency was key down the backstretch,” Buck said.
Paik, who played in the final group with Johnson and Buck, was also in contention but fell behind early with a double bogey on the first hole. She made birdie on the 11th but finished four strokes back of Buck with a 5-over 218. Still, she took home the Kathy Albright Junior Trophy.
As was the case during the first two days, seven players who finished in the top 10 were playing out of Massachusetts. In addition to Johnson and Buck, Susan Curtin (Boston GC) finished fourth at 10-over 223 and took home the Carol Patton Senior Trophy. Morgan Smith (224) and Molly Smith (227), both teenage sisters from Vesper CC, finished T5 and 10th, respectively. Meanwhile, Jennifer Keim (Dennis Pines GC) closed with a 75 to place T7 (225), while Krystal Knight (Bradford CC) closed with a 74 but finished one stroke back (226) to place ninth.
Donna DiIeso (Meadow at Peabody) won the Legends Division (Sydney Arnold Legend Trophy), placing fourth overall in the Tournament Division (Gross). Theresa Durkin (Sagamore Spring GC) finished runner-up in the Tournament Division (Net), with a score of 5-over 218.
Established in 1956, and originally known as the NEWGA Championship, 2020 is the first year the event has been merged with the New England Golf Association. The NEGA Women’s amateur is a 54-hole event contested annually in one of the six New England states, with hosting duties rotating among the states.
“Being entrusted to carry on the legacy of such a prominent women’s event in New England was important for us this season,” said Greg Howell, Manager of Operations for the NEGA. “We’re glad that with everyone’s hard work and dedication, including those at North Conway CC, we were able to get this event played.”
(Content from Mass Golf was used in this report.)
(Photo Credit: David Colt Photography)