ANDOVER, Mass – No one was surprised that Megan Buck was crowned the 2022 Massachusetts Women’s Mid-Amatuer champion Sept. 8 in the 72nd edition in one of the Bay State’s most prestigious female amateur titles.
In recent years, Megan Buck has been a familiar name on many Mass Golf leaderboards, as well as regional and national competitions. In fact, the surprise here was how she dominated the field for 36-holes enroute to her first win in this event.
At Indian Ridge CC, Buck blistered the hilly par 74 layout with 71-75-146 two-day total of 2-under par. After 18 holes, the popular Thorny Lea GC member, got into a rhythm early on and was the only under-par round, shooting a 3-under 71. It featured four birdies and one bogey and she built a commanding 7-shot lead over closest competitor and Thorny Lea clubmate Shannon Johnson and 9-shot advantage over Lindsay Cone, of Granite Links GC.
A final round 75 was good enough the beat Johnson who posted 78-70-148 for even par total and runner-up finish.
After the victory Buck told Mass Golf that her confidence and ball striking ability over the two days of competition was back after some overtime practice sessions recently.
“It feels really nice,” Buck said. “I like I mentioned yesterday this this hasn’t been the best year golf wise so far. So I feel like I’m trending in the right direction with putting two good rounds together and get a win.”
Entering the final round three-time winner Johnson offered up some competition to keep the leader on her game. She shot the best round of the championship with her 4-under-par 70, and gave Buck a little concern toward the end.
“Shannon just played really great today and kept putting the pressure on, and that’s where it’s tough,” Buck said of her friend and clubmate. “You don’t want to think about it as a match play and I was just trying to focus on my game and just do what I can do. It is tough when you’re playing with someone like Shannon, who can go and shoot really low. It was definitely a battle all day.”
Having to stay locked in on posting a good score to capture the victory, Buck felt like she set herself up to win with a great up-and-down on hole 16, a short 128-yard par-3.
“I was definitely feeling the pressure on 16 because Shannon had just made an eagle and a couple of birdies,” Buck said. “So that was a great up-and-down because chipping is not usually my strength. That built a lot of confidence and calmed me down a little bit. I knew if I just played steady the last couple holes, I could get it done.”
Followed in by several competitors who had finished their rounds earlier in the day, the lead group could tell that their level of play was celebrated by their peers. During the trophy presentation many women approached Buck to congratulate her and let her know that they were impressed with her dominant and outstanding play.
“That’s why I love all the Mass Golf events,” she said. “When the competitors were finishing their rounds and some of them came out on the course and watched, it’s always just so great to see them. To hear them say ‘I’m cheering for you’ and then finishing and so many saying how they follow along when we’re away at the USGA events, it is just really cool. You’re out there by yourself, and you kind of forget that there’s so many people that do follow along and might be inspired by it.”
Next on the schedule for Buck and Johnson and five more ladies from Massachusetts (Sue Curtin (Boston GC), Mary Mulcahy (Hatherly CC), Mary Chamberlain (Cummaquid GC), Tracy Martin (Vesper CC) and Tracy Welch (Winchester CC) in the biggest tournament of the year. All seven will travel this week to Ft. Myers, Florida to compete in the US> Women’s Mid-Amateur championship at Fiddlesticks CC www.fiddlestickscc.com Sept. 17-22. Shannon Johnson won the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
There was no stopping Gina Gallagher, of Marlborough CC, as her impressive round of 2-over 76, propelled her to the top of the Tournament Division leaderboard and secured her the divisional win.
“I couldn’t even believe it,” said a happy Gallagher after signing her card. “It was like I was Cinderella. Do I get to go to Disney World?”
Gallagher’s round was highlighted by two birdies, but more notably by 11 consecutive pars. That streak kept her in the hunt with a handful of other competitors at the top of the leaderboard after a disappointing first round.
“I left here yesterday and I felt like I didn’t play badly, but I just felt like I left a lot out there and it bothered me,” Gallagher said. “So I came back today and I was like, ‘you know what, just get revenge.’ So I came here with revenge in mind [and] just get those holes that got you yesterday.”
Taking the same sentiment as Kris Henderson, of Bedrock GC, who finished tied for second in the division, Gallagher credited her playing partners for keeping things enjoyable out there.
“My playing partners, Diane Carter, of Salem CC, and Elizabeth Darwin, of The Tour, were just so great to play with. We all went on streaks of great holes. It was just incredible.”
PHOTO CREDIT: David Colt Photography