Veteran Fran Gacos of Copper Hill Country and recent college graduate Kelsey Solan of Moggy Brook Golf Club combined for a four-over-par 76 to win the Sixth NJSGA Women’s Four-Ball Championship by four strokes on Thursday, Oct. 18, at the par-72, 5,681-yard Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield.

Gacos, who has won 14 NJSGA championships, and Solan, who won her first, bested runners-up Helen Bernstein of the WGA of N.J. and her partner, Donna McHugh of Upper Montclair, who shot 82. Gacos and Solan will have their names etched on the Anna Zorlas Trophy. Third place went to Karen Hansard of Neshanic Valley Golf Course and Eleanor Berry of Valley Brook Golf Course, who shot 83.

Patricia Moore of Galloping Hill Golf Course and Susan Zupnik of Wessex WGA finished fourth at 84, followed by Donna Wallerius and Lisa Coe of Crystal Springs Golf Club at 86.


Low net champions were Moore and Zupnik at 84-11-73. Their names will be etched on the Jean Gascoigne Trophy. Senior Flight gross winners were Hansard and Berry.

The event had been postponed by rain on two previous occasions, in May and again in September.

“I had never played the course before, so I relied on Fran telling me where to place the ball,” said Solan, who graduated two years ago from James Madison University, where she was a member of the golf team.

“Fran also told me the greens were fast and undulating.” “The thing is, we both like fast greens. But today, with all the wind, it was hard to judge some of the subtle breaks,” said Gacos, who has played with Solan in two U.S. Four-Ball qualifiers.

Gacos and Solan first met when Solan was runner-up in the 2014 NJSGA Women’s Amateur Championship won by Taylor Totland of Hollywood Golf Club.

“I made a lot of up-and-downs, and that helped us. The key was for us to stay away from both having a bad hole at the same time. That only happened once today,” said Solan, 24, a Rules of Golf associate for the USGA in Far Hills.

The blow-up hole came on the par-4 No. 13 when both players recorded a double bogey. Each of the golfer’s downhill putts rolled off the green. The team combined for one birdie, on the par-3 No. 8, when Solan sank a 12-foot birdie putt.

“Except for one hole, we were never out of a hole. It was tough with these weather conditions, because we didn’t know what to expect with the wind gusts. On some holes, you had to go up three clubs. But we ham-and-egged it pretty good,” said Gacos, 62, whose 14 NJSGA victories included four Tournament of Club Champions titles, four Women’s Senior Amateurs, four Mixed Pinehurst championships, and two Women’s Mid-Amateur crowns.


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