The husband and wife duo of Wes and Lauren Cupp stole the show during the 2021 Thirsty Owl New York Speedgolf Open Championship that wrapped up Monday morning at Rome Country Club. Sunday’s opening round was played at Teugega Country Club.
Wes won the Open Division title and Lauren, who would have placed third in the Open division if she played in it, set a new world record for women’s Speedgolf on Sunday at Teugega.
Lauren shattered the world record by shooting a 122:48 in her first round. The previous world record was 126:41. She shot a one-under par 72 and ran the course in 50 minutes and 48 seconds, giving her the new world record. The men’s world record was set in 2015 by Australian Mitch Williamson. He shot a 77 in 31:54 for a Speedgolf score of 108:54. The women's world record was set in 2018 by Liz McKinnon from New Zealand. She shot a 76 in 50:41 for a score of 126:41 at the British Speedgolf Open.
Women’s par for Teugega is 73 and for Rome Country Club, 71. For the men, at Teugega, par is 70 and at RCC, par is 72.
“I’m super pumped,” Lauren said after her round on Monday. “I’ve been chasing that world record for a few years now. In fact, I’ve got it plastered all over my house so, I know exactly what it was.”
“I was hoping that this was the weekend,” Lauren said. “I had two tries at it.”
Conditions were not ideal for running Sunday as the weather was very warm and humid. She said that the run at RCC felt easier, despite the quick turnaround for the golfers.
“It was just a lot cooler,” Lauren said, however, the rain that soaked Rome Country Club Monday morning, allowed for lift, clean and place conditions. When players took advantage of that, it was instantaneous.
For her round on Monday, Lauren shot another 72 and ran a time of 53:08, giving her a two-day score of 247:56, despite a “sluggish start.”
“I made a few sloppy bogeys the first seven holes,” Lauren said. “Then I had an eagle on nine and that got me going for the back side.”
Lauren is the head golf coach at nearby Hamilton College, and when asked what she liked better, Speedgolf or regulation golf, she couldn’t choose which she’d rather play.
“They’re really two different sports,” Lauren said. “I try to keep the training for them totally separate. They really are two different disciplines. There’s such a large learning curve to be able to play Speedgolf at the same level you’re able to play regular golf. I finally feel like I’ve gotten there with Speedgolf.”
Wes started out at Teugega on Sunday with a round of 74 and running a time of 43:14, giving him a day one score of 117:14.
“It was a nice start,” Wes said of his opening round. “Teugega is a course where if you hit it well and hit it in the right spots, you can score. However, if you hit it in the wrong spots, which is easy to do, Donald Ross can have some revenge on you, and you can make a lot of messes.”
Wes said that was the key to his round, was being able to get around Teugega without making any messes.
“I got around there (Teugega) nicely and finished with a 117(:14),” Wes said. “I had a six-shot lead, and I kind of just put it on cruise control from there.”
Going into Rome Country Club, Wes held his lead over Scott Dawley from Houston, Texas, who shot a 123.29, and Jason Hawkins of Prospect, Ky., who shot a 124:28.
At his own course on Monday, Wes shot a 76 and ran a time of 46:48, for a day two score of 122:48, culminating in a grand total score of 240:02. Hawkins finished second, shooting a day two score of 120:28, giving him a total of 244:56 for the tournament, and Dawley came in third after he posted a 129:49 on Monday and a two-day total of 253:18.
“I knew coming back here to the home course, I’d be in pretty good shape,” Wes said.
Wes said the quick turnaround was a good test of a player’s mental stamina.
“Once you get tired physically, your mind is going to work so fast playing Speedgolf and it’s going to get taxing. I played a little loose today. I left a few up and downs out there that I didn’t convert on, but I did what I needed to do and that’s just what the doctor ordered,” Wes said.
Coming up next for Wes is the U.S. Championships that will be played in Springfield, Mo., on Labor Day weekend.
“I’ve got about a month to get ready for that,” Wes said. “I hit the ball pretty well for the weekend, so I was happy with that, but physically, I can always get better at.”
Jayme Dorr from Simsburt, Conn., won the Amateur Division with a two day score of 274:41. Rome’s Josh Solon came in second with a two day score of 281.29. Mohawk Valley Community College President Randall VanWagoner also participated in the tournament in the Amateur division.
In the Senior Amateur Division, Gary Sobczak from Avon, Ind., shot a two-day score of 292:08.