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It’s all A-OK for the TKI

Special to the Valley News
Published: 9/22/2022 9:48:39 PM
Modified: 9/22/2022 9:48:48 PM

QUECHEE — After the closure of Hanover Country Club cost the Tommy Keane Invitational its longtime home and it spent one year at Lake Sunapee Country Club, tournament veteran Jim Jankowski was unsure what to expect when it landed at the Quechee Club last September.

Would the four-ball event traditionally held on the last full weekend in July still feel like the Tommy Keane being played in Vermont on the first weekend of fall? In advance of Fridahy’s qualifying round, Jankowski — who won the team event with his son Andrew the final time it was played at Hanover — answered with a resounding yes.

“Hanover had possibly the best venue for sitting around and watching golf come into the 18th green,” Jankowski said. “That was a big part of the event. But ultimately, the most important part is the people, and last year it was all the same folks and good golf.

“So the venue felt a little different, but everybody being together that whole weekend made it absolutely feel like a Tommy Keane.”

Dustin Ribolini, who has a unique perspective from helping run the Keane for nine years as a Hanover assistant pro and now working the event as Quechee’s senior assistant pro, feels the same way, for the same reason.

“You see the same guys every year, even if you only see them for one weekend for three days,” he said. “It’s same laughs. It’s the same stories. The same format. I know people missed sitting on the deck at Hanover after their round kind of heckling the groups coming, but it really felt like the same thing.”

For all the warm memories he has of the Tommy Keane since he first played in it in 1979, Jankowski admitted that the redesign of Hanover Country Club took some of the joy out of the event, which is celebrating its 47th renewal this year.

“I am not sure many people would disagree, but since the renovation of Hanover 20-odd years ago, the course was not a lot of fun to play,” he admitted. “The move to Sunapee, and most recently to Quechee, is a significant upgrade golfwise. It is a better test of golf.”

Whatever extra challenge Quechee offers is offset by the conditions the players will find this weekend.

“The greens are in great shape, and the fairways are perfect,” said TJ Anthoine, the Quechee director of golf. “Immaculate is the best way to describe it.”

Having experienced his first Keane, Anthoine is looking forward to his second almost as much as the players themselves.

“I think the coolest feature of the whole event is just how passionate all these guys are about getting together and celebrating golf through the Tommy Keane Invitational,” he said. “It kind of reminds me of a family reunion seeing these guys get together, high-fiving and hugging. I’ve been around golf a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of events, but this one is really special.”

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