NORTON, MA (July 26, 2016) -- The name Francis Ouimet has been synonymous with amateur golf since he won the U.S. Open as an amateur in 1913. Ouimet never turned professional but remained an ambassador of the game until his death in 1967. The year after Ouimet passed away the Ouimet Memorial Tournament was started and it has been a staple of the New England amateur golf circuit ever since.
This year the Ouimet Memorial Tournament, which was won by Brad Faxon in 1980, will be played from July 27-29 with the field of 120 playing a different course all three days. The final round is played on Francis Ouimet’s home course, the Woodland Golf Club in Auburndale, MA. The course is a par 72 (36-36) that can be stretched to 6,632 yards. Prior to the final round the field will be cut to the top 48 plus ties.
Ouimet joined the club in 1910 as a high school golfer because he needed to be a member of a recognized golf club in order to in the U.S. Amateur Championship. “I put in an application for junior membership in the Woodland Golf Club (and) I was elected to membership in Woodland, paid my dues, then got busy to find myself a job," Ouimet said of joining the club according to the Woodland Golf Club website.
The other two courses in the rotation are the Hyannisport Club (Hyannisport, MA) and Oyster Harbors Club (Osterville, MA). Hyannisport is a par 71 (36-35) that can be played at 6,257. Oyster Harbors Club is a par 72 (36-36) and is the longest of the three courses at 6,800 yards.
“Overall the players enjoy (playing the three courses),” said Executive Director of 25 years Bob Donovan. “The three course format usually brings the cream of the crop to the top. In other words when you are playing three great courses over a span of three days in possibly different conditions you have to have some game. We don’t have many fluke winners.”
The tournament, which is primarily made up of New England golfers is one of many events that the Francis Ouiment Scholarship Fund puts on each year. The organization awards scholarships on a yearly basis and since 1949 has awarded 5,429 individuals.
“Some (of the) proceeds from the tournament certainly (help fund) the scholarships, it is one of our major fundraisers,” says Donovan.
Among those in the field are returning champion Peter French who recently completed his senior season at Johnson and Wales (FL). French started the final round trailing by five-strokes before rallying to win thanks to a back nine 6-under 30.