Successful And Sunshine Filled Day For UMass Boston Golf Classic

Athletic Director Charlie Titus tries to chip in shot from the rough.

Jason Campos

Athletic Director Charlie Titus tries to chip in shot from the rough.

Jason Campos

Whether a master with a driver or a novice with the putter, the William J. Devine Franklin Park golf course was the place to be on Bunker Hill day for members of the UMass Boston community where the 2002 UMass Boston Golf Classic took place.

The purpose of the event, now in its 16th year, is to raise money for the athletics department of UMB. The proceeds go toward funding the varsity athletic teams and the upkeep of the facilities, which various groups of the Greater Boston community utilize along with UMB athletic teams.

The course looked plush from a weekend of inclement weather on this late spring day. The combination of the sparkling verdure and bright sunshine made for a relaxing and fun-filled atmosphere.

The UMB throng of golf participants, ranging from staff to student athletes, was broken into groups of threesomes and foursomes. The groups dispersed shortly after 8am to various holes over the golf course to play their rounds.

The game of the day was Florida Scramble or “best ball” as it is commonly known. On each hole, each member of the group drives his or her ball and the best shot is selected. The other players retire their ball so that the next shot for golf occurs at this location. The process is repeated until the hole is played out.

The foursome that teed off on the first hole included Jo Ann Gora, chancellor of UMass Boston, and Charlie Titus, athletic director of UMass Boston. Gora, playing in her second UMass Boston Golf Classic, verbalized her enjoyment of the event. “This is a fundraiser,” said the chancellor, “but we’re here to have some fun too.”

Rodney Hughes, assistant director of the athletics and assistant coach of men’s basketball, truly marked the spirit of the fundraising event. With perspiration on his brow and a bright smile, Hughes laughed at his initiation in a game that has been played for centuries.

“This is my very first time [playing golf],” chuckled Hughes “and I’m having a ball.”

A little bit of everything happened on this festive day of communal UMB competition. From incidents of golf carts trapped in mud to the more than a few instances of display of brilliant golf, the day was one of good healthy competition and fun.

The most spirited group on the golf course was that of three recent graduate athletes: Matthew Thayer, Rob Young, and Mike D’Agostino. Although each of their shots was taken with the utmost pride, the athletes vocally supported one another throughout the entire round. This gamesmanship epitomizes the intangible aspects that Beacon athletes learn during their tenure at UMB.

Mike D’Agostino, captain of the men’s soccer team during the 2001 season, was a man that did not let his lack of golf experience keep him from enjoying the course. Although his tee shots had a penchant for slicing left, D’Agostino managed many a laugh, simply shrugging off any wayward shots.

“I took some lessons nine or ten years ago,” admitted D’Agostino, “but this is really my first time playing [golf]”.

D’Agostino’s counterparts, however, showed some deft handling of driver and iron shots. Matt Thayer and Rob Young, former third base man and catcher respectively of the UMB baseball team, often pounded the golf deep down the middle of the fairway.

Although striking a round ball with a stick may seem transferable from baseball to golf, both athletes had some experience on a golf course before.

“I usually go out four or five times a summer,” said Thayer. “I’ve also been playing since I was 12 years old.”

Young has even more familiarity with the game. “I first picked up a golf club when I was five,” said Young. “I would have played on the golf team in high school, but the golf season in New York State is in spring, and that conflicted with baseball, which is my first passion. So I didn’t play competitively.”

Despite some missed putts, the threesome ended the day three under par and headed to the clubhouse for a luncheon. Gora and Titus stood at the entrance to the luncheon room to greet and thank each participant of the UMass Boston Golf Classic. Titus’s countenance was one of pride and satisfaction.

“This was a very successful event,” smiled Titus. “We had about 150 people sign up to play in the tournament, and about 125 or so showed, a very good percentage. It’s truly been a remarkable day.”