By Dalton Balthaser
RUMFORD – For the first time in the 46-year history of the Mulligan Interclub Team Championship, a non-real estate golf club took home the hardware.
The Amateur Golf Tour of New England (AGTNE) is an organization of golfers who travel New England and compete at public and private golf courses, but they don’t reside at a course of their own.
But its team of John McNeill, John Teixeira, Augie Sottile, Matthew Phillips and Ryan McGovern took the title Thursday at Agawam Hunt (par 69, 6,125 yards) with a four-man team total of 16-over-292.
There was a morning and afternoon shotgun with AGTNE playing in the morning. Well worth the wait.
The format for the Mulligan is individual stroke play with the best four scores of five counting.
After all scores were submitted, AGTNE was in a tie with the team from Quinnatisset Country Club.
The tiebreaker is the best score of the fifth player. McGovern’s 80 bettered Quinnatisset’s fifth score of 87 posted by Adam Auclair, giving AGTNE the title
“A huge shout out to Ryan McGovern,” said McNeill, 60, of Stow, Mass. “When we finished the round today, he was upset that he shot 80. But in fact, it was him who won us this tournament. You never know if the fifth guy’s score is one you will need. But we needed them all today and Ryan delivered for us.”
McNeill, the recent New England Senior Amateur Champion, earned the Ronnie Quinn Medalist Award with a round of 65 on the Donald Ross layout.
“Today was my first time playing the course,” said McNeill, who has been playing in AGTNE events since 1992. “I am a huge Donald Ross afficionado and when Paul Dumont sent me an email asking if I would play, I immediately said yes.”
Dumont was appointed the leader of AGTNE this year after taking over for his predecessor Jim Rooks.
“When I first saw the email from the RIGA, I knew this tournament was for us,” said Dumont, 57, of Portsmouth. “I let the handicaps take care of themselves. I was going to pick the players with the best handicaps and ride them. I have played in AGTNE’s events for 15 years and this is a dream come true for me being in my first year running it.
Both Dumont and McNeill said winning this tournament could be a way for people to learn about who they are and how they give opportunities for golfers of all abilities to compete.
“It means a lot for us to be included in this event by the RIGA,” said McNeill. “Not everyone has access to private clubs and not everyone can afford to be a member at those type of clubs. Being able to have an opportunity to still compete as a group of guys who love the game is amazing.”