Friday, June 24th
Congratulations to Susan Cavanagh our 2016 Women's Rhode Island State Champion!
Congratulations to Rebecca Moniz and Georgia Allen our President's & Past President Flight Winners!
Friday, June 24th
Story by Paul Kenyon
LITTLE COMPTON _ Susie Cavanagh gave herself a great going away present on Friday, another state championship.
The Agawam Hunt member and former Pilgrim High three-sport star completed a big week by holding off Alpine’s Daria Delfino, 2 and 1, in the title match of the Rhode Island Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur
Championship at Sakonnet.
The crown was the second in three years for Cavanagh, who plans to begin attending school at Oregon State in the fall.
Cavanagh did not play quite as well as she did in qualifying when she won the medal with a 3-under-par 68. She also received a strong challenge from Delfino, who made a great impression in her first-ever RIGA event. But Cavanagh responded to the challenge, maintaining a one-hole lead when she matched Delfino’s deuce on the par-3 16th, then coming within 30 yards of driving the green at the 284-yard, par-4 17th, and winning that hole, and the match, with a par.
“Neither of us actually played our best golf, but that’s what happens in these kinds of matches,” Cavanagh said. “I’m just so happy to win.”
She had to feel even better because Delfino made her earn it. The two staged an interesting match beyond just the play. Both carried their own bag. The two chatted casually as they played and congratulated each other on good shots. Delfino took an early lead with a par on the second hole. Cavanagh won the fourth with a birdie and the fifth with a par, but Delfino came right back with a bird on the sixth to square it.
When Cavanagh won 7 and 9 to go 2-up, it appeared the favorite was on her way. But Delfino kept battling. She pulled back within one when she won the par-4 15th with a par while Cavanagh bogeyed after driving into a fairway bunker.
Then Delfino stepped to the tee on the 141-yard 16th and drilled a shot right at the hole. It ended up about four feet behind the cup, in great position for a bird that could pull her even. Cavanagh said she was not sure what to hit. The wind was directly at the players’ back.
”And you have to take adrenaline into account in a situation like that,” she said. She decided to hit nine iron. It was directly on line. It landed about 12 feet short and spun to a stop. Cavanagh then rolled in the putt for her birdie so that even when Delfino matched it, Cavanagh was still 1-up.
On the 284-yard dogleg 17th, Cavanagh used her advantage in distance _ she cut the corner and ended up only about 30 yards from the hole to set up a routine Par. Delfino drove straight but too far, into the rough, leading to a bogey, and Cavanagh had the title.
She will be happy to tell the people in Oregon about it. She began her college career playing hockey and golf at the University of Connecticut but left after one year.
”Once I left UConn, maybe it wasn’t in my head but it was in my parents head that I was going back to school,” she said. “I want to play golf, hopefully play pro golf some day. So I took a year off to feel it out, then I got really lucky when I went out to the (US) Amateur.” While she was at the Amateur the USGA wrote a story about her athletic exploits.
”The USGA was nice enough to write awesome article. The people at Oregon State saw it and contacted me and I decided to go there. I’m taking some classes this summer to make sure everything is set and I’m going to go there. I have two years of eligibility and will take three years to finish school. You couldn’t plan it any better.”
Delfino, who had a nice high school career at Bay View, was competing in an RIGA event for the first time. She broke a rib and was unable to play last summer. She began school at Loyola of New Orleans last September.
”I didn’t play the first match, then played in every one,” she said. She ended up making the Southeast States Conference all-freshman team.
”I love New Orleans, I can’t wait to get back,” she said. “I played pretty well this week. I beat some really
good players when I was the underdog. I kind of made a name for myself. This will really help me going forward.”
Rebecca Moniz of Potowomut edged Lisa Ferrara of Wannamosiett, 1 up, for the first division title and Georgia Allen of Wannamosiett beat Jane Lippincott of Wanumetonomy, 3 and 2, for the second division championship.
Thursday, June 23rd
Story by Paul Kenyon
LITTLE COMPTON _ Susie Cavanagh got her revenge from a year ago and Daria Delfino posted her second straight upset on Thursday in the Rhode Island Golf Association Women’s Amateur Championship at Sakonnet.
The results earned the two collegians a berth in Friday’s 18-hole title match.
Agawam Hunt’s Cavanagh, the medalist in this event and the champion in 2014, earned her spot by turning back defending champion Lisa McGill. McGill had beaten Cavanagh in last year’s semifinals.
Alpine’s Delfino continued her upset run by posting a great finish to edge Interscholastic League champion Caroline Farber, 2 up. Delfino was 2-down through 14 but won each of the last four holes to move into the title match.
Both semis showcased excellent matches. Delfino, the seventh seed, did not have a letdown after her upset over Kibbe Reilly in the quarterfinals. She and Farber, a Moses Brown grad who is headed to Bowdoin in the fall, battled evenly through 12 holes. Farber took 1-up leads three times, but each time Delfino came back to square the match.
When Farber won 13 with a birdie and 14 with a par for the first two-hole lead of the day, she appeared to have the momentum. Delfino, a Bay View grad who missed most of last summer with a shoulder injury but then had a strong freshman season for Loyola of New Orleans, had other ideas. She finished par-par-par-birdie to post the 2-up victory.
Cavanagh used a quick start to reverse the results of her match with McGill from last year. Cavanagh won 2, 3 (with a birdie) and 4 for a 3-up advantage. As she always does, McGill kept battling and drew back as close as 1-down through eight.
Both played well from there, rattling off pars. Cavanagh birdied the par-3 ninth to go back 2-up and won 14. When 15 and 16 were halved with pars, Cavanagh had the spot in the final.
Cavanagh plan to cut back a bit on her golf schedule this summer because she is taking college classes. She has accepted a scholarship offer from Oregon State beginning in the fall.
Wednesday, June 22nd
Story by Paul Kenyon
LITTLE COMPTON _ Daria Delfino, who just finished a strong freshman year at Loyola of New Orleans, registered the biggest upset yet in the Rhode Island Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur Championship on Wednesday, edging third-seeded Kibbe Reilly in 19 holes at Sakonnet.
Reilly and Delfino, the seventh seed, staged a terrific match with neither getting ahead by more than one hole. Four different times Delfino went 1-up, but each time Reilly came back to even the match. When Reilly birdied the par-5 15th, she led for the first time.
Delfino pulled back even by winning 17 with a par. When both parred the 18th the match went to extra holes where Delfino ended it in style with a birdie on the 19th. Delfino, a Bay View grad who lives in Cranston, was a regular for the Loyola Wolf Pack this season and made the Southern States Conference all-freshman team. She had four top 30 finishes.
Her match was one of two that went extra holes. Defending champion Lisa McGill had to go 20 holes before nipping another of the college stars, Mia Bartolotta.
That match was the wildest of the tournament. McGill went 2-up early. Bartolotta, who plays for Johnson & Wales Miami, won 5, 6 and 7 to go ahead. McGill then appeared to take control by winning 10, 11 and 12 for a 2-up advantage. Bartolotta not only did not quit, she won 13, 15 and 16 and suddenly was 1-up. As champions do, McGill won 17 to draw even. After 18 and 19 were halved, McGill took the par-3 20th with a par to earn her berth in the semifinal.
The top two seeds, medialist Susie Cavanagh and Interscholastic League champion Caroline Farber, both continued to play well as they moved into the semifinals. Cavanagh had four birdies on the way to a 5-and-4 decision over 14-year-old Allison Paik and Farber used a fast start, winning four of the first six holes, on the way to a 4-and-3 decision over Angel MacLeod.
Cavanagh meets McGill and Farber goes against Delfino in Thursday’s semis.
Tuesday, June 21st
Story by Paul Kenyon
LITTLE COMPTON _ Allison Paik is 14 years old, has not even begun high school yet, but already is making a name for herself as the next star golfer from Rhode Island.
Paik, a Providence resident who plays out of Ledgemont, let everyone know she is ready to make her mark on the area golf scene on Tuesday when she went even-par for the 13 holes she needed to beat fellow high schooler Courtney Breen, 6 and 5, in the first round of the 96th Rhode Island Women’s Amateur Championship at Sakonnet.
Paik, who will enter ninth grade at The Wheeler School in the fall, set up a meeting with tournament medalist Susie Cavanagh in the quarterfinals. Coming off her outstanding 3-under-par 68 in qualifying, Cavanagh was strong again, going 1-under on the way to a 7-and-6 victory over Bette DiDonato.
Most of the favorites also reached the quarterfinals, including Lisa McGill, the defending champion, who was given a stern test by Margie Foss before moving on, 3 and 2. Interscholastic League champion Caroline Farber, Potowomut’s Mia Bartolotta, who plays for Johnson & Wales of Florida, Alpine’s Daria Delfino and frequent contender Kibbe Reilly also won.
The only lower seed to win was 10th seeded Angel MacLeod who turned back seventh-seeded Lauren Parziale. It was hard to call that an upset, though, because MacLeod has played well in the past and was only three strokes higher than Parziale, 83-80, in qualifying.
As much as the competition, one of the big stories of the day was that play was able to be held. It began one hour later than scheduled. It might come as a surprise to those in other parts of Rhode Island, but the Sakonnet area was hit by a major thunder storm between 5 and 7 a.m.
``It poured. It was really bad. There was hail on the greens,’’ said Katie DeCosta, the RIGA’s director of women’s golf.
``There was water in the bunkers. They had to pump them out,’’ noted Joe Pieranunzi, the tournament starter.
``They have good equipment here. They got it done.’’
DeCosta spoke with Bill Curtin, the club pro, and Kirk Whiting, the superintendent, at about 6:30 a.m. as the storm was still happening.
``It was like a mini-burst,’’ Whiting related. ``From about 5:30 to quarter-past six it really came down. Bunkers got washed out and look at this.’’ Whiting took out his phone and displayed a picture of hail on the practice putting green and the 18th green.’’
With the knowledge that the storm was winding down, Whiting told DeCosta that delaying the start of play from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. would be best for all involved.
``My guys come in at 6,’’ Whiting related. ``I’ve got a veteran crew. They’re great. They went right to work.’’ By the time play began at nine, the course was ready to go.
``It’s in great shape, fantastic condition, said Delfino.
``The greens were still rolling really nice,’’ Cavanagh said.
Perhaps the best match of the day was the contest between Reilly and Field. Field, playing on her home course, was even with Reilly at the turn and the match went back and forth throughout. Reilly was happy to survive.
``Janet never hits a bad shot and this is her home course,’’ Reilly said. ``I would love to know how feet of putts she made. She made everything. She putted great.’’ The two were still even through 12 before Reilly won 13 with a birdie and 14 with a par.
MacLeod became the only lower seed to win when she built a 5-up advantage over Parziale through eight, saw her lead cut to two holes through 12, but then took 13 and 16 for the 4-and-2 decision.
Monday, June 20th
Story by Paul Kenyon
LITTLE COMPTON _ Rarely in the 101 years since the first Rhode Island Women’s Amateur Championship was first held has the word albatross come up in conversation around the tournament scoring table. Until Monday, that is.
Susie Cavanagh, the talented young player who won the tournament two years ago, nearly recorded an albatross, the rarest of feats in golf, a double-eagle two on a par-5. As it was, she tapped in from about two feet for eagle, which started her on the way to easily winning the tournament medal.
Cavanagh added five birdies after her eagle on the third hole and finished with a 3-under-par 68 at Sakonnet. That was five strokes better than Interscholastic League champion Caroline Brown Farber. Kibbe Reilly earned the third seed for match play with a 75 and defending champion Lisa Griffin McGill was fourth with a 79.
A beautiful day at one of the state’s most beautiful courses came very close to making history, thanks to Cavanagh. She began with pars on the first two holes. On the 460-yard par-5 third, she drilled one of her typically long drives, leaving her with about 185 yards to the hole. She did not take full credit for what she did with her second shot.
``I got kind of lucky,’’ she related. ``It was to the right of where I wanted. But it landed on one of the elevated banks on the bunker they have there and kicked toward the left.’’
Suddenly, it was rolling right at the hole.
``I thought it had a chance to go in,’’ she said.
It ended up about two feel right behind the hole for a tap-in eagle.
Cavanagh had a few problems from there, mostly on the par-3s. Three of her four bogies came on par-3s. But she also birdied 5, 11, 14, 15 and 18, all par-4s, to post one of the best scores seen in the tournament since Anna Grzebien was playing more than a decade ago.
Like a lot of the players in the field, Cavanagh was playing the 117-year-old course for the first time. The course was finalized by famed architect Donald Ross 90 years ago. Ross not only designed the course but, as a small monument notes on the first tee, also was a member. His summer home was in Little Compton, around the corner from the course.
``It’s beautiful,’’ Cavanagh said. ``I was able to play a practice round and it was a little tough at first figuring out where everything went. But it is pretty wide open so it wasn’t that hard to learn.’’
Competitors in the event had a bit of an unusual welcome as they began their day. They were greeted by RIGA president Dr. Vincent Cavallaro on the first tee. Cavallaro gave the players a bit of a pep talk.
``This place is so beautiful,’’ he said. ``Just getting here (the course is about a half mile from land’s end) makes you feel good. You take that drive after you get off the highway and everything is so serene. You can’t help but feel good. You can’t help but get relaxed.
``I told the players, just think of that drive getting here, how good you felt, and carry it on the course. Feel the same way while you are out there. It could help you,’’ he said.
It took a score of 89 to earn a spot in the championship division. Cavanagh will face Bette DiDonato, who posted a qualifying 89, in the round of 16.