(July 12, 2021) – Race Brook Country Club’s Pat O’Sullivan Lucey was a force to be reckoned with in Connecticut golf from the late 1940s until the early 1980s. Her championship career on the local, regional, and national levels spanned an impressive five decades.
With the Connecticut Women’s Amateur headed to Lucey’s home course, Race Brook Country Club, on July 20-21st for the first time in the tournament’s history, we looked back at Lucey’s stellar career. Inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 1967 Lucey won the first three Connecticut Women Amateurs capturing the title in 1966, 1967, and again in 1968.
Born in Orange, Connecticut in 1921 Lucey won the first of her 10 Connecticut Women’s Golf Association championships in 1947 and didn’t stop winning until the 1980s. During that span, she won three Women’s North and South Championships, three New England Women’s Amateur titles, and the Endicott Cup five times.
“I never played in a tournament after I had won it three times in a row,” Lucey said for an article on LPGA.com. “I also never entered a tournament if I didn’t think I had a good chance of winning. I never wanted to just be part of the field. Why bother?”
Lucey’s biggest win came in 1951 when as an amateur she won the Titleholders Championship joining Babe Zaharias as two of the three amateurs to win the professional event. Lucey is still one of just five amateurs to win an LPGA Tour tournament and is one of just two Connecticut natives to win on the tour.
“When I played against people like Babe Zaharias, who was a very long hitter, it never bothered me to be outdriven because I would hit 13 to 16 greens in regulation,” Lucey continued. “If you can do that, you can score.”
In 1952 she was a member of the United States Curtis Cup that lost 5-4 to Great Britain & Ireland at Muirfield in Scotland. Following her success as an amateur, Lucey briefly attempted to play professionally from 1954-1955 before regaining her amateur status.
“I should have made it three years because I was just beginning to get everything together,” Lucey said in a 2012 New Haven Register article. “But I have no regrets. There was so much traveling, you really lose contact with your family and your friends. I had a great time doing it, and I marveled at being allowed to travel all over the country by myself. Remember, I was basically traveling by myself from 1946 (when she was 19), going to all the amateur tournaments. It’s not the most fun thing to do week after week after week. But the people I met and the friendships I built lasted for years.”
Lucey concluded her championship career with four wins at the Connecticut Women’s Golf Association Senior Championship earning her first title in 1977 and last in 1982.
Although Lucey passed away in 2019 at the age of 93 her legacy remains. The inner nine holes at Race Brook Country Club is named the O’Sullivan. A fitting tribute to a player who won the women’s club championship 26 of the 28 times she entered and is one of the best players to ever come out of Connecticut.
Hero Image: Pat O’Sullivan Lucey (center) being awarded the 1951 Titleholders Championship (Photo Courtesy of the Lucey Family)
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut Women’s Amateur is one of 19 championships conducted by the Connecticut State Golf Association. The CSGA functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.