Recap of Night
By Paul Kenyon
WARWICK _ The Class of 2018 for the RIGA Hall of Fame will go down as the most diverse in organization history.
Six people who hail from very different backgrounds and put together widely varying careers were honored at the association’s Appreciation and Recognition Night at Valley Country Club in early December. A sold out crowd of 280 attended.
The new inductees compiled accomplishments going back more than 80 years.
Dr. Charles Round and Jean Bauer Glantz, two Brown University products from the World War II era, were inducted. So were Kim Augusta, who began playing golf at age four and Mike Soucy, who did not compete in his first RIGA event until age 40.
Pennsylvania resident Lisa Griffin McGill, who has become a dominant player in what is her summer home in Misquamicut, drew some of the biggest applause of the night as she was supported by numerous family and friends who came in to help honor her. And Maury Davitt, the man who has guided the Burke Fund Scholarship program into one of the most successful of its kind in the country, received the distinguished service award for his four decades working with that program.
The RIGA went to a new format for the event, the eighth of its kind since the Hall was launched at the start of the 21st century. Rather than having members of the selection committee introduce the new Hall of Famers, it was decided to have friends and close associates do the introductions. The new format worked nicely making the presentations even more personal than they have been in the past.
Typical was LeeAnn Lewis, who introduced McGill. She and McGill are close friends who have travelled the world living out adventures suggested by McGill. Among other stories, Lewis told about their trip to climb Mount Everest and how McGill’s belongings were lost four days into the climb.
``She did not let it bother her. She just went on with what she could,’’ Lewis related. ``That’s the way she always is.’’
In her acceptance speech McGill spoke about how her fourth State Amateur titles this year was particularly special because her daughters, Annie and Sydney got to see her win a championship for the first time. She dedicated the victory to her father, George Griffin, who passed away only months before.
Herb Stevens, a former RIGA Mid Amateur champion, handled the introduction for Dr. Round, and related how the night was special not only for the Round family but for him, as well, since his family has been close with the Round family literally his entire life. Stevens spoke about how Dr. Round, who spent much of his life as the chief of surgery at Kent County Hospital, remains to this day the only male ever to win the Junior, Amateur and Senior Amateur. Stevens introduced Dr. Donald Round, one of the inductees’ six children, who told stories about his father, including one in which he suffered burns to his hand as a young man, leaving a scar that stayed with his father all his life.
Not surprisingly, the most humorous part of the evening came with Soucy’s induction. He was introduced by Paul Quigley, his close friend and the most successful player in RIGA history. Quigley spoke about how impressive it was that Soucy did not even begin competing in association events until age 40, but how he used a tremendous work ethic to develop his game.
Soucy spoke about that, too, in his case how it sometimes caused problems at home with his wife, Roberta, because he would still be practicing when dinner was ready. Soucy thanked Mike Harbour, his long time teaching pro, for helping him learn the right way to play and thanks Quigley for helping him learn the mental toughness needed to win.
Determination and work ethic also was the central theme for Augusta, who was introduced by former Wannamosiett pro Steve Napoli, who is now a member of the selection committee. Napoli heavily praised Augusta for her dedication to the game that brought her brought from dominant Junior player, to college All-American at Miami, to an 11-year career competing professionally and now to being a Class A PRGA Teaching pro at Bocaire Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla.
Augusta spoke emotionally about everything she has gained in golf through life, going back to her childhood when she spent innumerable hours at Wannamoisett playing and learning the game from her late father Lou Augusta. She said the induction into the Hall of Fame completed the journey she and her father embarked on when she was a child.
While Rhode Island has benefitted greatly from players who have moved here from other locations, Augusta and Glantz are examples of natives who excelled here but then moved elsewhere. Glantz was the dominant player in the state in the World War II era, winning three straight state titles, beginning in 1940. But she also was national caliber, as she showed in earning medalist honors twice in the USGA Amateur. After excelling at Brown, then Pembroke College, she moved to New Mexico where she piled up many more honors. The Chaffee family handled her induction, with selection committee member David Chaffee introducing his wife, Hall of Famer and board member Nancy Chaffee who accepted the award on her behalf.
The distinguished service winner, Davitt, has been a huge contributor to the RIGA for four decades, not by playing but by helping guide the Burke Fund, the scholarship arm. He was introduced by Luke Hyder, a member of the Burke Fund board of directors and former RIGA president. Hyder spoke about how Davitt has tirelessly given his time to insure that the fund, named in honor of former champion John P. Burke, who was killed in World War II, not only has continued, but has thrived.
Davitt spoke with pride about the more than 100 scholars who annually receive support from the fund, and spoke in particular about the golf marathons held each year to raise money for the fund. He singled out RIGA office manager Kate McCurry for doing much of the work needed to keep the fund running smoothly.
The dinner also honored the players of the year, Tyler Cooke, Kibbe Reilly, Paul Quigley, Cyndy Bersani, Lauren Dohoney and Nick Petracca.
A special presentation was made to Maxwell Jackson, who as a 12-year-old shot 72 at Metacomet in Junior Amateur qualifying to tie for the medal. Kevin Clary, the outgoing president, received an award for his service, presented by incoming president Anthony Paliotta.