A Look Back

Amateur golf in 1960 was a very different game than we find it in 2011, as this
historical reflection on the Southeastern Amateur Championship takes place,
and Southeasternam.com is born.

In our neck of the woods, there was the Massachusetts Amateur, and New
England Amateur, both match play events with a stroke play qualifying component.
Of course, there was the US Amateur, with local qualifying to get through to the
championship, which was also match play. That was about it.

Fordie Pitts, Jr. was the most prominent player in Southeastern Massachusetts at
the time, and recognized as among the best amateurs in New England. 

Roger Barry was the nationally reknown Golf writer and columnist for
The Patriot Ledger.

On a larger scale, it was the era of The Big Three - Arnold Palmer, Gary Player,
and Jack Nicklaus.  Paul Harney was the pride of New England on the PGA Tour.
And, we had a native son in The White House, JFK, who played some at Hyannisport.

With this as a backdrop, Fordie and Roger came up with the idea of a 3-day weekend
golf tournament, over 3 courses, the first weekend in October. Roger dubbed it the
“working man’s” tournament, as it was played  over the weekend to allow participants
to miss as little work as possible.  Fordie won the inaugural, and would ultimately win
four times.

Backed by The Patriot Ledger, and promoted by Roger’s writing, the tournament
was an immediate success, with full fields annually on wonderful golf courses all
across Southeastern Massachusetts.  Some highlights of the first 50 years follow:

1961 David Marad of Wollaston wins in a walk. He would go on to a PGA Tour career,
losing a play-off at The Robinson Open to Grier Jones.

1970 Fordie Pitts, Jr. wins his fourth title. 

1971 Allen Doyle of Ponkapoag prevails in a final round shoot-out at Plymouth CC
over Fordie Pitts, Jr. and John Tosca, Jr. Allen has gone on to fame and fortune in
golf, with two US Senior Opens the crowning jewels.

1973 Bill Mallon's victory is just one of many in a stellar amateur career. He would
hold a PGA Tour card for a number of years, some of which were injury-plagued.
Today he is Dr. Bill Mallon, a highly regarded Orthopedist in Durham, North Carolina.

1976 David O'Kelly of Marshfield Country Club fires a final round 68 at Braintree
Municipal Golf Course to win. David went on to turn professional, and held a PGA
Tour card for a year.

1978 Peter Teravanien of Duxbury Yacht Club wins his second title, back-to-back.
Peter went on to play both the PGA Tour and the European PGA Tour, winning
twice in Europe.

1982 John Hadges breaks through. Then the floodgates opened. By 2008 he would
win seven (yes, 7) times.

1986 David Cronin wins. His father, John, was a leading figure in administering the
tournament, along with Dick Lambert and Ray Bump.

1991 Kevin Carey, the affable southpaw from the Cape, wins his first of three titles.

1999 Paul Murphy of Charles River wins for the third time.

2009 Steve Tasho of Thorny Lea shoots a 66 at South Shore Country Club to win
the 50th Anniversary event. Win number five for Steve. At the conclusion of play
all past champions and our founders are honored at a gala celebration.

Looking back, the tournament’s early years were dominated by the players at Wollaston,
but before long both Ponkapoag and Thorny Lea came to prominence.  Thorny Lea has
produced 16 champions.

In recent years, the tournament has added both a Senior Division (Dick Lambert Cup),
and Super Senior  Division (Fordie Pitts Cup).  The popular 3 man club team division is
named after Ray Bump. Our champion earns the Roger Barry Patriot Ledger Trophy.

The Massachusetts Golf Association recognizes the significance of the event by awarding
Player of the Year points to high finishes.

51 years of achievement by great players, and fun participation by all, thanks to
Fordie and Roger’s brainstorm in 1960.