Story and Photos
By Cary Shuman
With a sudden death playoff, the 20th anniversary of the Mixed Classic provided a dramatic conclusion to the summer golfing season at Gannon Municipal Course in Lynn.
John and Phyllis Berg prevailed over Steve Ross and Laurie Lynch to win the title on the first extra hole in the two-day event that had a field of 38 teams. But as competitive and exciting as the tournament was, the Mixed Classic was a fun-filled social event, complete with a dinner, dancing and awards ceremony Sunday night at the club.
Co-directors Joyce Agganis and Pat Ryback received praise from players for their outstanding leadership of the tournament.
“It’s a great Labor Day weekend event in which every player finds a partner and we go out and battle it for two days,” said Tara Johnson Friedman, who won the tournament in 2000 with her father, Wayne, as her partner. Joyce and Pat have done an excellent job running this tournament. It’s a great time for my father and me to spend together. My mother [Judy], also has a great time playing in the tournament.”
Husband-and-wife team Bob and Lynnette Roy were within striking distance after round one with a sterling 8-under score. The Roys have finished second on several occasions in the tournament, but the enjoyment of playing in the event always finishes first.
“We’ve played in this tournament for 20 years, but this is more than just a golf tournament – it’s a social event as well,” said Bob Roy. “What I like is the camaraderie and the companionship with all the other couples who are playing golf. When we’re done playing, we’re going to gather upstairs in the veranda, have dinner, and reminisce about everything that happened during the day. If you happen to win a prize in the tournament, that’s all fine and dandy, but the end result is that you’re doing something with all your friends here at Gannon.”
Agganis, a second cousin of legendary Lynn athlete Harry Agganis, said the concept for a men’s and ladies’ combined team event was hatched 20 years ago. Pat Ryback, Bucky Guthrie, Bob Rybicki and Agganis were among the founders of the event.
“We were at a cookout at my house and Barbara O’Brien Zihal said, ‘Let’s have a mixed classic,’’’ recalled Agganis, a 2004 Mixed Classic champion. “We ran the idea past [club professional] Mike Foster and he supported us. We started with 16 teams and it’s continued to grow. We wanted it to be a year-end celebration for the men and women at the club. It’s now the unofficial season-ending social event. We grind it out on the course for two days and then we eat and socialize and dance on the beautiful deck that we have at Gannon.”
Agganis said Foster’s support has been vital to the event’s success. “You can’t say enough about Mike Foster’s help,” said Agganis. “Mike supports us. Last week, I mentioned to him that we needed something special to commemorate our 20th anniversary. He was right on it, and we’re going to give beautiful towels embroidered with Mixed Classic 2009 20th Anniversary to each player. Mike pulled that together for us really quickly.”
Foster said members’ enthusiasm is considerable for the Mixed Classic.
“The interest in the tournament is high, and it’s a very good social event,” said Foster, who doubles as the official scorer. “It’s Labor Day weekend, and this is the sendoff, so to speak.”