Par for the Course: Special club missing from memorial tournament

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Someone has a golf driver that does not belong to him or her. It is as simple as that.

On July 8, the second annual Patton Griggs Memorial Golf Tournament was held at Fairlawn, where there is a Patton Griggs Memorial bench on the women’s 18th tee box. Patti Griggs, who died in Jan. 11, 2017, was a 13-times women’s club champion at Fairlawn (2002, 2003 and 2006-2016), her home club at which she was revered by all members.

For the tournament, her TaylorMade adjustable R1 driver was placed on the 18th hole memorial bench, and the 72-player field was invited to use that club for each player’s 18th-hole tee shots. When the tournament was concluded, the club was missing. On the shaft of the driver was Griggs’ name and a cell phone number, so whomever has it can dial that number or return it to Fairlawn. Or the course can be phoned at 998-4277.

To say that there is a lot of sentimental value to that driver would be a huge understatement.

When Patton Griggs, who was battling lung cancer during 2016, gave the club to Susan Towns, it was done with the intent that Susan would hit longer and straighter drives. Helping friends to become better golfers was one of Patton’s many golf fortes.

It was suggested by Fairlawn member Mark Pontbriand that the club be made available during the Griggs Memorial Tournament, and everyone involved thought that was a great idea. Feeling guilty about the club gone missing, most of those people have regretted approving this idea, particularly Patton’s mother, Carol.

Jackie Rybeck, the secretary of the Fairlawn Membership Golf Association and Patton’s best friend, put it into perspective by stating: “To honor her, we held a ‘Red Tee’ tournament and her driver was offered to the tournament to be placed on her memorial bench on the 18th tee box.

“It was such an awesome day, full of what Patti would have loved: laughter, reminiscing and camaraderie. That is until the end of the tournament, when it was announced that her driver was missing.”

Carol Griggs has said that there would be a reward for the return of the club, which might have been inadvertently put into someone’s golf bag. That has been known to happen on a golf course.

“The club can be returned to Fairlawn’s front desk, ” Rybeck said. “No questions asked, as most likely it was taken in error, maybe still unknowing it is in their golf bag.”

“It’s not just a club,” Rybeck said. “It had sentimental value to so many. So, that said, if there is a way Patti has any control over that club, chances are, it will never hit straight until it’s returned to its rightful owner.”

Well said.

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At the New England Golf Association Amateur Championship held July 17-19 at Portland Country Club, no area golfers made the cut, although eight Maine players did survive.

Reese McFarlane of Purpoodock (206) earned the championship by two strokes. Drew Powell of Penobscot Valley (215) tied for 21st. They were followed by current Maine Amateur champion Jack Wyman of Portland (216), Gavin Dugas of J.W. Parks (216) and, Jason Gall of Portland (216), all tied for 26th. Marty McGuckin of Webhannet (219) tied for 37th, and Caleb Manual of Brunswick (220), tied for 39th. None of these players will have to qualify for this event in 2019.

Area players failing to make the cut were Andrew Slattery, Brian Bilodeau and Craig Chapman, all of Martindale. Many times Maine Amateur champion and reigning Maine Senior titlist, Mark Plummer of Augusta, missed the cut by just one shot.

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In the Maine Stage Golf Association Parent/Child Championship July 16, the Turner Highlands duo of Prudence and Mia Hornberger carded a 75 to gain a tie for third place at Natanis.

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The MSGA schedule for the upcoming week is once again full. There is a U.S. Amateur qualifier July 23 at The Ledges, along with the MSGA Women’s Amateur Championship at Rockland July 23-25. A women’s weekly event is July 24 at Searspoint, and a Senior Tour event July 25 at Fairlawn. The Weekend Tour will be July 27-28 at Bath.

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