Burt pulls away on back nine, wins NEWGA Championship

Ignorance was bliss for Mary Ellen Burt. Unlike basketball games, where the Union College head women

Ignorance was bliss for Mary Ellen Burt.

Unlike basketball games, where the Union College head women’s coach keeps one eye on the scoreboard all the time, Burt played her own game and didn’t keep track of how the rest of the field was doing in the annual Northeastern Women’s Golf Association Championship.

The result was her second consecutive one-over-par 76 and a whopping 10-shot victory Tuesday at McGregor Links Country Club.

Burt, who turned 50 last fall, is playing the best golf of her 25-year career. The NEWGA Championship title is her first individual major trophy after winning several top partner events, including the Capital District Women’s Open last week at Ballston Spa Country Club. Burt is also a former Gazette Women’s Best Ball winner.

“This is definitely the biggest event of my career,” said Burt, who plays out of Pinehaven Country Club. “Mary Jo [Kelly, her partner in the CD Women’s Open] texted me this morning, and reminded me to have fun. That’s what I did. It’s different playing your own ball in an individual event, because there is nobody to help you. If I was playing in a partners event with Mary Jo, for example, I would have hit my driver on the 15th hole. Instead, I hit a 7-iron.”

Burt played the challenging par-5 15th hole backward. After teeing off with the 7-iron, she hit a hybrid for her second shot and a 7-wood for her third. She then pitched to the green on her fourth shot and made the one-putt for par.

“All I was trying to do on that hole was to stay out of trouble,” said Burt, who managed to avoid any major problems all day.

“If you told me I could score another 76 today in the final round, I would have taken it right there. Like I said after the first round, my goal was to hit fairways and greens, and that’s what I did most of the round, although I did have some problems on the front nine.”

Burt parred her first three holes, but bogeyed the par-4 fourth. She made an outstanding up-and-down par from a bunker on the fourth hole, but bogeyed the sixth.

She then closed the front side with a pair of pars on back-to-back par-5s and a birdie on the short par-4 ninth.

Burt was practically flawless on the back side. She scored six straight pars before missing a tap-in for par on the 16th hole. The three-putt bogey was her only mistake on the back nine.

Burt quickly made up for the error with a 25-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the 17th hole and closed with a solid two-putt for par on the par-3 18th.

“Today was a lot of fun,” she said. “It was great to play with Gail [Brophy], and Pat [Mayne] is one of the top players in the area. I enjoyed the tournament. My next goal is to compete in the New York State Women’s Senior Amateur.”

Burt once again gave credit to Pinehaven Country Club head pro Scott Warren for helping her straighten out her long game.

“I was always pretty long before, but I sprayed my driver a lot, and I wasn’t that straight,” she said.

Burt only had a two-shot lead over Brophy and a five-shot cushion over Mayne, the defending champion, after the opening round. But both Brophy, a two-time State Women’s Amateur Super Senior champion, and Mayne, a three-time NEWGA champ, struggled with an 87 and 84, respectively.

Four-time NEWGA titlist Leslie Arakelian, from Pinehaven Country Club, shot a 79 in the final round to secure second place with a two-day total of 162.

Karen Feldman of Olde Kinderhook made a run at Burt with a one-under-par 39 on the front, but a quadruple bogey on the par-5 12th hole dropped her back.

Jen DiIorio (77-165) won the first flight, Elaine Neiss (89-179) took the second flight and Kristen Youmans (94-191) won the third flight.



Championship flight — Mary Ellen Burt 76-152, Leslie Arakelian 79-162, Betsy Drambour 82-163, Karen Feldman 81-164, Pat Mayne 84-164, Gail Brophy 87-165, Jackie Quinn 87-169, Ella Kellogg 87-172.

First flight — Jen DiIorio 77-165, Anne Jorgensen 88-169, Heather Morrison 85-170, Sue Johnson 86-179, Sue Chambers 94-180, Penny Schiek 90-181, Judith Rudolf 92-182.

Robin Peters 88-186.

Second flight — Elaine Neiss 89-179, Theresa McDonnell 94-184, Melinsa Bucknam 94-184, Max Tucker 90-186, Mary Assey 91-188, Anne Poulin 97-190, Maryellen Trumbull 92-192, Amy Fey 94-192.

Third flight — Kristen Youmans 94-191, Leona Delong 95-193, Donna Heskett 99-195, Melody Diamond 11-196, Lynn Cummings 103-205, Susan Wronowski 104-207, Selena Balick 104-214, Patti Adamkoski 110-216, Betty Cushing 110-228.

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