Invitational honors inspiring golf coach
By Lily Maguire, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Golf enthusiasts from Dartmouth and the Upper Valley came together for the 37th-annual Tommy Keane Invitational over the weekend to celebrate the College’s golf program and honor its first coach, who devoted 44 years of service as a head coach and a professional at the Hanover Country Club.
Keane, remembered as an endearing man with an inspiring personality, was a respected teacher of the game who encouraged his athletes to strive for excellence, leaving an unparalleled legacy at Dartmouth, according to men’s golf coach Rick Parker.
“I think the guy was respected like no other golf pro we’ve ever had,” Parker said. “Keane was both a professional and a coach, and he did both amazingly well. He did something that he loved and he was loved by all. This is a profession where if a couple people don’t like you, you don’t keep your job very long, which he did.”
The Arlington, Mass., native compiled a 305-176-5 record as a coach. His teams’ achievements included winning the New England Championship in 1934 and the Eastern Intercollegiate Tournament in 1941. He was particularly instrumental in establishing the golf program at Dartmouth, according to women’s golf coach and Hanover Country Club head PGA professional Alex Kirk.
The allure of the event is in large part due to its community feel, Parker said. He played in the tournament consistently while he was growing up and took home the Tommy Keane Cup in 1981, along with partner Lafayette Lahaye.
“People come from all over to play in this, some Dartmouth alums and some local people,” Kirk said. “Most importantly, it’s a fun tournament to celebrate and have some fun competition.”
Members of Keane’s family still live in the Upper Valley and play in the tournament every year, giving them a chance to see Keane’s legacy on the Dartmouth community.
“It’s a big family reunion for them,” Kirk said. “Their kids and grandkids play in it. Being the coach here for that long leaves a legacy.”
The invitational divides participants into three brackets based on the level of competition — the championship flight, first flight and second flight. Participants compete in teams of two in a head-to-head format, with the pair’s lowest score from each hole counting toward the team’s overall score for the round.
Nick MacDonald and D.J. Lantz, both former golf team members at Hartford College, won the championship flight this year. MacDonald and Lantz won four holes in a five-hole span on the front nine to ensure their solid victory over recent Lebanon High School graduates Tyler Silver and Zach Pollard. “They’re strong players and were the best team in the field, and that’s why they won,” Kirk said. “The team that lost to them are strong amateur players, though.”
Peter Williamson ’12, who is quickly emerging as one of the nation’s leading amateur players, is a past champion of the invitational, winning it with his father, Doug Williamson ‘85, in 2008. Last week Williamson topped the world’s top-ranked amateur golfer to win the Southern Amateur Championship, and earlier this summer he won the North and South Amateur Championship — two of the biggest victories of his amateur career thus far. He is a three-time Ivy League Player of the Year. Next month Williamson will compete in the U.S. Amateur Championship, where an appearance in the final round could enable him to qualify for the pro tour’s most prestigious tournaments, Kirk said. Williamson is also a three-time Academic All-Ivy selection.