Ryan Downes is youngest Ouimet Memorial champion
29 Jul 2022
by Sean Melia of

see also: View results for Francis Ouimet Memorial, Woodland Golf Club, Ryan Downes Rankings

MassGolf CEO Jesse Menachem and Ryan Downes
MassGolf CEO Jesse Menachem and Ryan Downes

Two weeks after his runner-up finish in the Massachusetts Amateur, 16-year-old Ryan Downes bounced back to score a commanding five-shot victory in the Ouimet Memorial at Woodland Golf Club in Auburndale, Mass.

"My attitude on the course at Concord was really good, and I built on that this week," Downes said following the final round.

It was a big week for Downes. He also earned his driver's license.

The opening two rounds of the Ouimet are always held at different courses with the final round always played at Francis Ouimet's home course of Woodland Golf Club. This year's first two rounds were held on Downes' home course of GreatHorse in Hampden, Mass., where his father, Billy, is the head pro.

With the Ouimet Memorial being contested in Western Massachusetts for the first time in its long history, Downes took advantage of his familiar surroundings to card round of 69-71 at GreatHorse to hold the lead.

The wind was whipping at Woodland, and Downes was up to the challenge, even though he didn't feel great on the tees.

"I don't think a lot of tee shots fit my eye," Downes said. "But was driving the ball well, especially the last two days."

A birdie on the opening hole calmed his nerves and another birdie on the fifth hole gave him some breathing room. But the youngster wasn't taking anything for granted.

"It was nerve-racking. I made a really good two putt on sixteen. I holed an eight-footer and then I birdied seventeen." Downes said. "That was a little a boost coming down eighteen, I knew I had it.

Downes spoke about a third grade book/movie project about "The Great Game Ever Played." Francis Ouimet.

"I've watched "The Greatest Game Ever Played" a bunch of times. It was definitely great motivation to come and win this tournament," Downes said.

Downes' playing partners, Chris Bornhorst and Ricky Stimets faded over the course of the day. Bornhorst finished with a 74 and Stimets signed for a 75.

Matt Parziale shot a 2-under 69 to move up to second place. The only other player under par for the event was Joe Harney at 1-under par.

In the Lowery senior division, Keith Smith, who has had a few close calls in past Ouimets broke through with a 66 to finish at even par. The round came in stark opposition to Smith's second round 76 at GreatHorse.

The four-shot victory came thanks to a fantastic start. Smith made seven birdies in his opening eleven holes to close the gap on leader Steve Tasho who shot a front nine 38, losing seven shots to Smith. He couldn't make up the difference on the back nine and finished in second place. MassGolf Hall of Famer Frank Vana Jr. finished in third after matching Smith's 66.

Harvard's Catie Schernecker took home the women's division with her father on the bag. She shot rounds of 77-77-70 to win by three shots over Megan Buck and Sana Tufail. Scherneck was the only player in the division to break par at Woodland. After receiving her trophy she dashed across town for a club championship qualifying round.

View results for Francis Ouimet Memorial
ABOUT THE Francis Ouimet Memorial

This 54-hole stroke play tournament honors Francis Ouimet, considered America's First Golf Hero and one of the most important figures in the history of golf. His victory in the 1913 U.S. Open in a stunning playoff upset of Harry Vardon and Ted Ray is viewed as the turning point in American Golf. The event, first played in 1968, one year after Ouimet's death, is held at three top Boston-area courses, with the final round always taking place at the 6,721 yard Woodland Golf Club (Mr. Ouimet's home course). The most notable winner to date is Brad Faxon, who captured the 1980 event. There are three divisions: Men, Women, and Senior.

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