50th Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament
For Immediate Release: July 25, 2017
West Newton, MA — For the past five decades, there has been a tradition like few others here in Massachusetts.
This week, the 50th Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament will return to two old favorites as it celebrates its history and marks the end of an era in 2017.
It opens at Brae Burn Country Club on Wednesday, July 26, continues at The Country Club on Thursday, July 27, and concludes at Woodland Golf Club on Friday, July 28.
This year’s 50th edition will no doubt be one to remember as it will mark the start of a new tradition. For the first time in event history, the tournament will be co-managed by the Ouimet Fund and the Massachusetts Golf Association (MGA).
50th Ouimet Memorial Tournament Topics
- Spectator Guide
- Keeping Up With #OMT50
- Tournament History
- A Bright Future Ahead
- A History of Ouimet Past Champions
- Breaking Down the Field
- A Look Back at 2016
- Schedule of Play
“We are thrilled to be returning to Brae Burn and TCC for the 50th Ouimet Memorial,” said Richard F. Connolly, Jr., the Ouimet Memorial Tournament Co-Chairman who is serving in his 39th year in that role. “These are two classic courses and both great supporting Ouimet clubs. This is our first time at Brae Burn since 1999 and first time at TCC since we celebrated our 25th playing in 1992. We’ll finish at Woodland, as always, where Mr. Ouimet played as a member.”
He went on to say this will be the last year the Ouimet Fund manages the event but looks forward to “a new era as the Massachusetts Golf Association brings its great expertise to bringing the event to an even better level.”
The transition is one that will also allow the Ouimet Fund to focus more on its primary objective to raise funds for its successful scholarship program and the MGA to add a 54-hole stroke play event to its slate of Championships.
The future of the event is most definitely bright (see below for more details), but the focus this week will be on celebrating the 50th edition of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament on July 26-28 at Brae Burn Country Club, The Country Club & Woodland Golf Club.
Here is everything you need to know to enjoy what will be a historic week of golf
- Admission throughout the three-day event is free of charge for the general public.
- To help spectators plan ahead, starting times for Round 1 and Round 2 are now available (see links to the right). Round 2 times are accessible by using the drop-down option located at the top left of the page.
- A scoreboard area will be set up outside of the clubhouse at each host site so that all spectators and players can follow all of the action. There will also be an electronic scoreboard set up inside the clubhouse.
- Golf carts are available for rules officials only. If you need transportation or require special attention, please see the MGA’s Mobility Impaired Spectator Cart Policy
Complete coverage of the 2017 Ouimet Memorial Tournament will be available online (MGAlinks.org) and via social media.
Join the conversation and share your photos, memories and thoughts by following us on Twitter (@mgalinks #OMT50), Facebook (@ Massachusetts-Golf-Association) and Instagram @mgalinks #OMT50).
The Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament was founded in 1968, one year after the death of Francis Ouimet. The event was originally founded by a group of his friends at Woodland Golf Club, where Ouimet was a member and played much of his golf.
The first Tournament began with quite a splash. The Tournament selection committee for the prestigious invitational included many local and nationally prominent players. A special highlight at that first tournament was an exhibition at Woodland on Thursday featuring previous Honorary Chairman Gene Sarazen, U.S. Amateur champion Ted Bishop, Pennsylvania’s Bill Hyndman, and host pro Ancy Doyle. Eddie Lowery, who gained fame as Mr. Ouimet’s caddie in 1913, also used to attend the first few Tournaments, coming from Pebble Beach, California. Lowery, who also served as caddiemaster while at Woodland, always viewed this as a special homecoming.
At the beginning, the Tournament was played at Woodland, Brae Burn and Charles River and occasionally at The Country Club. For the last 30 years the first 36 holes have been played on successive days on two different fine courses in Massachusetts, but the final round, after the cut to the low 40 and ties, is always played at Woodland.
Richard F. Connolly, Sr. Trophy
Richard F. Connolly, Jr., has been the Tournament Chairman since 1979. Connolly also donated the permanent trophy for the tournament in 1990, which was named after his late father, Richard F. Connolly, Sr. The trophy is one of the most unique in American sports. The trophy is built around the clubs which were used by Francis Ouimet, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray and were contributed to The Fund by Dr. Gary Wiren, a famed golf historian. A new silver golf ball is hung every year from the shaft of one of the clubs. The ball is inscribed with the winner’s name and year and a replica is given to the winner.
Following the 49th annual edition of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament, officials from the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund and the MGA announced that the two organizations would be transitioning management responsibilities for this prestigious golf event which debuted in 1968.
Beginning with the 2017 golf season, the MGA will assume lead management of the Ouimet Memorial.
“This management change will enable the Ouimet Fund to concentrate on the Ouimet Golf Marathon, and our Club Relations and major gifts efforts which are much closer to our core mission of fund raising for our college scholarships,” said Greg Gailius, president of the Ouimet Fund, at the time of the announcement. “We are happy to have the MGA continue this great tradition.”
Come the 2018 golf season, the event will become part of the MGA Championship Proper schedule that includes marquee events such as the MGA Amateur Championship and MGA Open Championship.
“Our goal is to elevate the Ouimet Memorial, and we can’t think of a better way to accomplish that than to make it our 13th State Championship and to align it with our full Championship Schedule available to MGA competitors throughout the Commonwealth,” said Jesse Menachem, the MGA’s executive director. “By working together with the Ouimet Fund, we can ensure the vitality of this championship for many years to come.”
To that end, earlier this month the MGA announced that the 54-hole stroke play event will see the first 36 holes contested at Concord Country Club on July 25th and 26th. The final round – as it has for the past 50 years – will continue to be held at Woodland Golf Club on July 27th, the longtime home club of the event’s namesake.
The format of the event will also change from invitation only to merit and exempt based eligibility for amateur competitors who hold an active USGA/GHIN Handicap Index with an MGA Member Club.
The eligibility standards will fall in line with those of the MGA’s current slate of Championship events and include exempt categories for the Championship Division (18), Lowery (senior) Division (10) and Women’s Division (11).
Included in the list of exempt categories are past Ouimet Memorial Champions (regardless of state/club affiliation), top 10 scorers and ties from the previous year’s competition, top champions and finishers from the major MGA and WGAM Championships and top scorers from elite regional events.
“Much work has been done over the past year, and we are thrilled to be announcing these strategic and important changes beginning in 2018,” said Menachem. “Significant efforts have been made by representatives involved from both the MGA and the Ouimet Fund to ensure the success of this tournament continues for years to come.”
Ben Murphy of Norfolk won the inaugural Tournament in 1968. Champions over the years have included prominent national-level players such as Ed Tutwiler (1969) and Jerry Courville (1973). Ouimet Champions who went onto the PGA Tour include Bill Mallon (1972), Bruce Douglass (1976), Brad Faxon (1980), and Fran Quinn, Jr. (1987) and Jim Renner (2003, 2005).
All in all, three former OMT competitors have hoisted USGA trophies, with Olin Browne and Allen Doyle capturing the Francis D. Ouimet Cup at U.S. Senior Opens and Austin Eaton III winning the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.
Seven former OMT champs have been members of Walker Cup Squads and 2015 Ouimet Banquet honoree Brad Faxon, the 1980 winner, played on a pair of Ryder Cup squads. Bob Bradley (1985 & 1988), Frank Vana, Jr. (1998, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2010), Jim Renner (2003 & 2005) and John Gilmartin (2004 & 2011), Matt Parziale (2009 and 2013) and Jack Whelan (2012 and 2014) are the only Ouimet Memorial multiple victors.
The following players have been victorious at this event, which dates back to 1968, and will be competing in the 2017 Championship Proper.
- John Hadges (1981)
- Jon Fasick (1983)
- Jason Cook (1986)
- George Popp (1990)
- Bill Jenks (1991)
- Jack Kearney (1992)
- Frank Vana, Jr. (1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2010)
- Kevin Carey (2000)
- John Gilmartin (2004, 2011)
- Matt Parziale (2009, 2013)
- Matt Naumec (2016)
- Jim Ruschioni (2005)
- Doug Crawford (2006)
- Jack Kearney (2010)
- Richard King (2012, 2013)
- Kevin Carey (2014, 2015)
- Joe Walker (2016)
- Julia Ford (2014, 2016)
The 50th Ouimet Memorial Tournament will feature a strong field of competitors who hail from eight different states. Five competitors qualified through the U.S. Jr. Challenge Cup and the Francis Ouimet Junior Tournament – Dillon Brown of CC of Halifax, Davis Chatfield of Attleboro, MA, Brandon Gillis of Nashua, NH, and Chris Fosdick of Middlefield, CT. as well as Pacharada Treekul of New Britain, CT.
Here are some additional interesting facts about this year’s Championship Proper field.
- Youngest Players: Anne Walsh (15), Michael Thorbjornsen (15)
- Oldest Player: Bill Cosgrove (74)
- Average Age: 35.6
- Most Common Name in the Field: Michael (6)
- Total Number of MGA Member Clubs Represented: 63
- Most Represented MGA Member Clubs: Woodland GC (5), George Wright GC (4), The Country Club (4), Thorny Lea GC (4), Bass Rocks GC (3), Brae Burn CC (3), Charles River CC (3), Dedham Country & Polo Club (3), Dennis Pines GC (3), Marlborough CC (3).
- Region/State Breakdown: Massachusetts – 110 (Greater Boston: 38; South Shore: 18; North Shore: 17; Greater Worcester: 15; Cape Cod: 11; Greater Springfield: 8; Non-Real Estate: 3); New Hampshire – 4; Rhode Island – 3; Connecticut – 2; Vermont – 1; North Carolina – 1; Texas – 1; Florida – 1.
Matt Naumec made a tremendous downhill 20 footer for birdie on Woodland Golf Club’s treacherous 16th hole to break open a see – saw final round and went on to a three shot victory in the 4 9 th Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament on Friday. The Boston College sophomore from GreatHorse negotiated the double – breaker as Doug Clapp of Old Sandwich and Jacob Leavitt of Cattail Creek in Maryland both bogeyed for a two shot swing. Naumec finished with a 1-over par 73 and a 6-under 209 total in the prestigious 54-hole amateur invitational event played at three different courses.
In the Eddie Lowery Senior Division, Joe Walker of Dennis Pines also showed he could make up for past misfortune as he closed with a 75 for a 219 total and a three shot victory over Dave Houghton of The Captains. Julia Ford of Cyprian Keyes survived a three – hole playoff to win the Women’s Division, adding to the title she also took in 2014.
Wednesday, July 26 @ Brae Burn Country Club
Round 1 – 18 Holes (Championship & Lowery)
Thursday, July 27 @ The Country Club
Round 2 – 18 Holes (Championship & Lowery)
***The low 40 scorers and ties from the Championship Division and the low 9 scorers and ties from the Lowery Division after 36-holes will continue play on June 28.
Friday, July 28 @ Woodland Golf Club
Round 3 – 18 Holes (Championship & Lowery)
Round 1 – 18 Holes (Women’s) *
* Tee times will be available on Thursday evening. The first tee times are typically scheduled for approximately 10:00 a.m.