The forty-eighth Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament will visit two new and classic venues for 2015. It opens at Essex County Club on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, continues at Myopia Hunt Club on Thursday, July 30, and concludes at Woodland Golf Club on Friday, July 31.
“We are thrilled to announce that we’ll visit Essex and Myopia for the first time this year. These are two North Shore classics that the field should really enjoy. They are also great supporting clubs of the Ouimet Fund. We’ll finish at Woodland, as always, where Mr. Ouimet played as a member,” said Richard F. Connolly, Jr., the Ouimet Memorial Tournament Chairman who is serving in his 37th year in that role.
Essex and Myopia are two of the oldest and most prestigious clubs in the United States, and both golf architectural gems. Essex was originally built in 1893 and then became the home to Donald Ross from 1910-1913 when he was its golf professional during which he refined it greatly. Ross became a full-time architect after leaving Essex. It has hosted numerous events over the years, including the 2010 Curtis Cup and 2005 Massachusetts Open, captured by four-time OMT champ Frank Vana,. Jr. Myopia was built in 1893 and was the site for four early U.S. Open Championships. The Massachusetts Amateur was held on its layout in 2010 with 1981 OMT victor John Hadges emerging victorious.
Mr. Connolly explained that the Ouimet Memorial would, again, have three divisions in 2014 – the Championship, Eddie Lowery (seniors), and a limited field one-round Women’s group. The Ouimet Memorial is an invitational tournament played at three courses in three days, and always considered one of the premier amateur events in the Northeast. The field is cut to low 40 and ties for the final round at Woodland. Proceeds of the event benefit the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund.
Mr. Connolly went on to speak of the 2014 Championship. Jack Whelan of Myopia held on for a two shot victory over T.J. McNulty of Hatherly and his second title. The St. Lawrence University senior first won in 2012. He will be a favorite as the Tournament is being played on his home course and another (Essex) he knows well. Kevin Carey of Dennis Pines overcame a pinched nerve in his neck to capture the Eddie Lowery senior Division. Carey became only the second person to win both the Championship and Lowery Senior Division crowns. Julia Ford of Cyprian Keyes, now a senior at Shrewsbury High School, made par on the first hole of sudden death to take the women’s division over Pam Kuong of Charles River.
The Ouimet Memorial started in 1968 after the death the preceding year of its namesake. Ben Murphy of Norfolk won the inaugural Tournament. 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). All in all, three former OMT competitors have hoisted USGA trophies, with Olin Browne and Allen Doyle taking home the hardware at U.S. Senior Open Championships and Austin Eaton III punching his ticket to Augusta by way of the 2005 Mid-Amateur. Speaking of Magnolia Lane, seven former OMT competitors have teed it up at The Masters, while seven have worn the red, white and blue on Walker Cup squads and recent Ouimet Banquet Honoree Brad Faxon, the 1980 winner, played on a pair of Ryder Cup teams. In addition to Whelan, Bob Bradley (1985 & 1988), Frank Vana, Jr. (1998, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2010), Jim Renner (2003 & 2005) and John Gilmartin (2004 & 2011) and Matt Parziale (2009 and 2014) have all experienced the sweet taste of Ouimet victory on multiple occasions.