Resilient Boland highlights championship weekend at Gannon

John Boland (left) won this past weeken's Gannon men's club championship while Rob Thomas (right) finished as the runner-up. (COURTESY PHOTO )

LYNN — Injuries have certainly made their best attempt to keep Lynn native John Boland on the sidelines over the years. But Boland’s resilient, and he proved that this past weekend when he won the men’s club championship at Gannon Golf Course.

Boland, who’s right knee was surgically replaced in November, is a longtime member at Gannon. This marks the second time Boland has won the Gannon men’s club championship.

“It was exhausting and exhilarating,” Boland, 59, said. “At the same time, it’s a long time coming since the first time I won it eight years ago. There are so many young talented guys playing at Gannon now. They keep me motivated and they keep me going.”

In addition to knee replacement, Boland has undergone knee scopes and surgeries on both of his shoulders.

“The past few years have taken their toll,” Boland said. “I’ve had shoulder surgery on both shoulders with torn rotator cuffs. I’ve had knee scopes.

“I had the first shoulder done nine years ago,” Boland said. “The other one took a turn for the worse six years ago. The right knee got worse and worse and that had to be replaced. It was a good battle over the winter time but a lot of work.”

Boland, who graduated from English in 1976, was a member of the hockey, baseball and golf teams at Merrimack College. His right knee feels sore when he competes but the enjoyment he gets out of being on the course makes playing through the soreness well worth it. Overall, he said he feels well physically when he’s out on the golf course.

“The shoulders are fantastic after a number of years,” Boland said. “The knee was tough coming into the season. The knee still gets very sore. I enjoy playing. I love everything the game brings to me, my family and my friends. It’s a lot of fun. You go out and play, and do the best you can.”

The competition at this weekend’s championship didn’t make winning it an easy feat.

“It’s always tough to keep up,” Boland said. “James and Rob Friedman are very good players, their father, Howie, was a very talented golfer himself. It wouldn’t be any surprise to see both their names on the plaque several times in years to come. Rob Thomas from Saugus joined three years ago and he’s a very talented guy himself. It’s a mix up there. Jay Fiste’s super talented, Tim Calvani and Johnny Lynch Jr. Terry Ward, he was so difficult to play against in my semifinal match. He had a great showing.

“There’s a lot of talent,” Boland said. “Just watching them and being able to play with them, it’s a challenge but it’s also motivating. It’s fantastic every time I get the opportunity to tee up with them.”

David Sibley, the head golf professional at Gannon, spoke highly of Boland’s championship performance.

“It’s a great story,” Sibley said. “He had won the club championship before. He had been struggling with his knees prior to returning. Coming back from his surgery, he’s having a great season.”

Gannon ran three flights in the men’s division this past weekend. In the top flight, Rob Thomas was the runner-up to Boland, while Terry Ward and Tim Calvani tied for third. Joe Crowley was the men’s net champion, Josh Drivas was the runner-up and Joe Young and Matt Debenedictis tied for third. Frank Dunn won the men’s senior championship and Mark Spencer was the runner-up.

“It was a good weekend,” Sibley said. “A lot of good golf was played, which was nice to see, especially in our championship match.

“We dodged all kinds of inclement weather throughout the course of the weekend,” Sibley said. “It was a decent weekend to play.”

The women’s club championships were also held this past weekend, where Mary Hunt claimed the gross title and Juanita Grass earned the net title. Gina Manning was the gross runner-up and Julie Lombara was the net runner-up. Both Hunt and Grass successfully defended their titles.

Gannon also wrapped its Junior Golf Clinic Program which offered one free clinic each Monday in July. The program, in its 35th year, hosted between 40-80 participants at each clinic. At the end of the program, Gannon’s members donated clubs to participants who have an interest in golf but didn’t own their own equipment.

“The clinic has been going on for a long time now,” Sibley said. “As far as we can track it, at least 35 years back. The professional before me, Mike Foster, was here for 42 years and that’s something he created. It’s something we try to continue on and build the program as best we can.”

Gannon also completed its first year of PGA Jr. Golf League and finished third in its division. Gannon will hold its annual Ladies Classic Tournament this weekend.

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