WALLINGFORD — All Wallingford roads meet at the Doherty Cup.
For 17 years, John and Elaine Doherty have been crowning the town’s golf champions, but winning is well down the list when it comes to why the tournament is significant. The annual event is where Wallingford’s cultural and sports calendars intersect, but even more importantly, it generates support for the David J. Doherty Scholarship Fund.
Sheehan students Danielle Richitelli and Angela Williams received $2,500 stipends to help them further their education. A check for $1,000 went to the Wallingford YMCA Youth in Government Program, a concern that was near and dear to David Doherty. Doherty was a civics teacher at Sheehan High and a town councilor who died shortly after his retirement in 1997 at 55.
Dan Sullivan won the men’s championship by firing a 75 over the par-70 Wallingford Country Club course. John Brady won the senior division with a 76 and Eileen Doherty was the women’s champion with a 109. Doherty, David’s sister-in-law, was much more focused on being an ebullient hostess.
“I think I won by default because there was no other woman that would play her own ball,” she said, alluding to the fact that most of the women played in the best-ball scramble format. “It was not a stellar day. I have not been playing much golf this year because I had shoulder surgery. It’s been rough getting together. I don’t feel like a champion.
“But winning isn’t what’s it’s all about. It’s getting people together, having a great day and remembering Dave.”
Sullivan’s sentiments were similar. He took great pleasure in playing with his uncle Robert, the 85-year-old twin brother of his late father.
“We’re both good friends with the Doherty’s and they’re doing nice things,” Dan Sullivan said. “Today was a little tough. It was windy out and it was a little hot. Usually it takes a better score to win but that was a pretty good score for today.”
Sullivan’s 75 was also good for the men’s gross championship. John McGuire carded a 73 for the net title and Rick Breese shot a 76 to win the Callaway division. Liz Semeraro was the women’s gross champion with 100. Sharon Scull was the Callaway division with a 69.
In the scramble, the foursome of Todd Moynihan, Spencer Wedge, Rich Pasinski and Bobby Gulley came in first on the men’s side. Lisa Chuba, Karen Connell, Dana Seymour and Mary Bachinsky paced the women.
Warren Boughton was cited for the longest drive with Pasinski winning on the senior circuit and Connell among the women. Brady and Scull were closest to the pin in their respective divisions. Pat Waldron (men) and Semeraro were closest to the line.
One of the scholarship winners was on hand.
“A lot of the requirements involve community involvement and really trying to give back to those around you,” said Richetelli, emphasizing the link between the event, the scholarships and the legacy of David J. Doherty.
Richetelli, who will attend the University of Pittsburgh and double-major in psychology and neuroscience next year, feels a kinship with David Doherty.
“My guidance counselor told me she had him when she went to Sheehan and that really resonated with me,” Richitelli said. “It really got me to thinking that this man was walking these halls where I was walking and taught these kids like my teachers are teaching me. It’s really amazing that he’s been able to help me in this scholarship process and also I’m able to help remember him with this golf tournament.”
David Doherty’s widow Lois has never missed a tournament. She also encountered part of her husband’s heritage in the week leading up to the tournament. She made a purchase at a nursery on Hartford Turnpike and the 40-something clerk saw her name on the credit card.
“He asked me if I was related to David,” she said. “He said that he had him as a teacher, that he learned a lot from him and that he was a great guy. I’ve heard that many times but it was the first time I’d heard it in awhile.
“He was totally immersed in his teaching and mentoring. He has quite a legacy.”