Women’s Golf Season Off to an Exciting Start

Thanks to the world’s top-ranked amateur, Jennifer Kupcho of Colorado, and Maria Fassi of Mexico, the women’s golf season started strong, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Kupcho became the first champion of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur the weekend before the Masters. She did it in incredible fashion, playing the final six holes in 5 under par, including an eagle on the par-5 13th, to outduel Fassi. The clutch play and sportsmanship by the top finishers was a huge boost for golf.

Meanwhile, the Symetra Tour, featuring many aspiring and some former LPGA players, is coming back to the Capital Region thanks to a new sponsor. And it’s a Solheim Cup year for the U.S. women, who travel to Scotland for the team event against Europe’s best players in September.

The impact of national events on the Capital Region golf scene is tough to measure, but one chapter of a national organization is flourishing: LPGA Amateurs.

Jane Geddes, executive director of the national LPGA Amateur Golf Association, took the stage in January at the PGA Merchandise Show as part of a “We Are Golf” women’s task force.

“Part of the reason people join LPGA Amateur Golf Association is to be in a warm, comfortable environment,” Geddes said at the annual conference I attended in January.

I joined the Capital Region LPGA Amateur for the 2019 season and can vouch for the organization’s welcoming atmosphere.

At the local orientation meeting for new members in April, LPGA Amateur officers mingled with newbies, and all shared reasons for joining the game of golf. Many who attended needed to find an activity after their children went off to college. Some needed a new challenge and new friends after retiring from the workplace or moving to the Capital Region.

Women executives join for the extensive networking opportunities and who suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) in the workplace. Become a golfer and you won’t be missing those “meetings” on the golf course, women in business have discovered.

Formerly known as the Executive Women’s Golf Association, the group has an affiliation with the LPGA, which is what inspired me — as a golf writer and fanatic — to join.

The efforts are working. The Capital Region chapter is the 10th-largest chapter in the country, with 230 members. Offerings include leagues, “PlayARounds” at country clubs, qualifiers for national competitions and social events.

It’s not too late to sign up and be a part of the LPGA Amateurs for this season. Contact the organization online through this link.

Pepper in latest Trump book

I’m a big fan of sportswriter and golf writer Rick Reilly and read his new book “Commander in Cheat” during a four-hour airplane trip. Saratoga Springs’ Dottie Pepper is quoted in the chapter about Donald Trump and women. The chapter is titled “Ewwwww” just to give you an idea. Reilly is his witty self, of course. Pepper is quoted by Reilly in a section about a women’s tournament once hosted at one of Trump’s courses.

I never thought I would be interested in a book about cheating at golf, but I recommend the read. I recently also devoured the Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian 2018 biography of Tiger Woods: “Tiger.” It’s a comprehensive look at his childhood and career.

Heading to U.S. Open sectionals

Jared Nelson, a Siena freshman from Rutland, Vt., shot a 3-under-par 69 Tuesday at Berkshire Hills to earn co-medalist honors in the U.S. Open local qualifier in Pittsfield, Mass.

Nelson, the MAAC rookie of the year, and Mark Purrington of Dartmouth, Mass., will compete June 3 in sectionals at Purchase. The Albany local qualifier is Monday at Troy, where 53 players will vie for three berths.

Club giveaway

Win a Tour Edge driver courtesy of Tour Edge and the Times Union.

The $299 club compares favorably to the top lines in golf, at a fraction of the price. I tested the Tour Edge Exotics at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, and both the driver and hybrids had a wonderful feel.

Send an email to me at jbassett@timesunion.com and tell us why you deserve to win this club. Use the subject line “Golf Giveaway.” Deadline to send your note is May 15.

jbassett@timesunion.com• 518-454-5636 • joyceb10bassett

Area holes-in-one


Kevin McGinn, Eagle Crest, 3, 134, 9-iron, 1st

Vince Lecce, Stadium, 15, 165, 4-hybrid

Keith Whaley, Western Turnpike, (white) 3, 120, 9-iron, 2nd

Pro shops can submit holes-in-one by fax (518-454-5416) or email (pdougherty@timesunion.com)

Rankings (previous ranking in parentheses)

Area amateurs

Capital Region Am Golf Assn.

(final 2018 standings)

1. Lance Hope (3)228.64

2. Jim Welch (8)207.06

3. Dan Russo (2)148.17

4.Taylor Bellemare (23)120.35

5. Jim Gifford (4)119.82

6. Brandon Haase (12)107.45

7. Paul Pratico (27)100.00

8. Austin Fox (79)92.63

9. Mike Wheeler (34)83.25

10. Jamie Jackson (17)77.43

11.Alex Bond (38)77.04

12.Austin Teal (24)69.51

13.Kevin Harrington (63)69.00

14. Greg Stopera (110)65.00

15. Greg Bennett (9)64.65


Area pros

Northeastern New York PGA

(through Pro Classic 2)

1. Justin Hearley (3)405.00

2. Scott Berliner (1)361.25

3. Michael Decker () 330.00

4. Chris Sanger (12)246.25

5. Bob Cain (2)206.25

6. Kyle Kressler 190.00

7. Peter Gerard (17) 185.00

8. Jesse Muller () 172.50

9. Brian Daley () 165.00

10. Scott Battiste (10)161.25

11. Matthew Smith 155.00

12.Terence Manziano (13)115.00

13. John Neet (8)100.00

14. Steve Plata (19) 95.00

15. Adam Ullman () 70.00


World men

Official World Golf Ranking

(through Wells Fargo Champ.)

1. Dustin Johnson (1) 9.68

2. Justin Rose (2) 8.97

3. Brooks Koepka (3) 8.70

4. Rory McIlroy (4) 8.02

5. Justin Thomas (5) 7.59

6. Tiger Woods (6) 7.53

7. Francesco Molinari (7) 7.12

8.Bryson DeChambeau (8)6.92

9. Xander Schauffele (9) 6.22

10. Rickie Fowler (10) 5.81

11. Jon Rahm (11) 5.75

12. Paul Casey (13) 5.41

13. Matt Kuchar (12) 5.31

14. Tony Finau (15)4.92

15. Jason Day (14)4.90


World women

Women’s World Golf Rankings

(through Mediheal Champ.)

1. Jin-Young Ko (1) 7.44

2. Minjee Lee (2) 6.80

3. Sung Hyun Park (3) 6.61

4. Ariya Jutanugarn (4) 6.03

5. Nasa Hataoka (5) 5.42

6. Inbee Park (6) 5.22

7. Lexi Thompson (8) 5.15

8. Brooke Henderson (7) 5.02

9. Sei Young Kim (15) 4.96

10. Nelly Korda (11) 4.76

11. Carlota Ciganda (10) 4.70

12. So Yeon Ryu (9) 4.61

13. Jessica Korda (12) 4.28

14. Amy Yang (14) 4.25

15. Danielle Kang (13) 4.19


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