Golfing Mulcahys take aim at new prize this year
John and Mary Mulcahy have run the table the last three years in the Massachusetts Golf Association’s Father & Daughter Championship.
The Mulcahys, whose family association at Scituate’s Hatherly Country Club dates to the 1920s, were victorious last year in the senior division (for daughters age 18 and older), the year before in the junior division, and in 2010, when the field consisted of one division.
However, John, a former golf captain at St. Leo University in Florida and a six-time club champion at Hatherly, said last week that he would be happy if he misses this year’s event, scheduled for Aug. 8 at the Golf Club of Cape Cod in East Falmouth.
With good reason.
“Don’t get me wrong,’’ he said. “Playing with Mary in the Father & Daughter is the highlight of the golf season for me, but if she isn’t there this year it would mean she made it to match play at the US Women’s Amateur, and that would be a great accomplishment.’’
She will play in an 18-hole qualifier for the national tournament Tuesday at Oak Hill CC in Fitchburg.
“I tried last year at The Country Club’’ in Brookline, said Mary, a 19-year-old heading into her sophomore year at the University of Central Florida, where she is a member of the women’s golf team, “but I kind of blew up down the stretch.’’
The younger Mulcahy, who cherishes her time on the course with her dad and also has a special place in her heart for her late grandfather, John “Biff’’ Mulcahy, has had more ups than downs on the links since her disappointment at last year’s qualifier.
Last month, she won the Massachusetts Women’s Open at Mount Pleasant in Boylston. And last week, with her father again at her side, this time as her caddy, she competed at the New England Women’s Amateur at the Renaissance in Haverhill.
The No. 1 player and a perennial Globe All-Scholastic on the boys’ team at Scituate High, Mulcahy used to tag along as a 5-year-old to watch her father and grandfather play at Hatherly, where the family’s house is adjacent to the 11th fairway.
Mary was apparently not a great driver when she was younger — and we’re not talking about golf.
“I was a lot for my mom to handle when I was little, and I used to get into trouble driving golf carts around the course,’’ said Mulcahy, a surprise semifinalist at the 2009 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur. “Then the golf chairman told my dad I couldn’t drive anymore.’’
But when she drove a golf ball, it was evident to her father, who runs an insurance agency in Rockland, and her grandfather, who once owned Lakeville Country Club, that she was a natural.
“Mary could always strike the ball, and she’s developed a solid all-around game,’’ said her dad, who advanced to match play in his earlier playing days at the Mass. Amateur.
“When I caddy for Mary, I’ll help her judge distance to the hole or the break on a putt, but I stay away from club selection and what shot to play, because I tend to think pretty aggressively and I leave it up to her to make those decisions.’’
Mary, whose great-grandfather Charles Mulcahy joined Hatherly nearly a century ago, spends much of her practice time around the putting green.
“I start with three-foot putts, over and over again. Then the 8-to-10 footers, and then the lag putts until I’m feeling comfortable and confident.’’’ said Mulcahy, who birdied four of the last five holes at Hatherly while playing what turned out to be the last time with her grandfather, who died two weeks later in August 2011.
He also was a multiple club champion at Hatherly.
“Grandpa didn’t have to say he was proud of me,’’ said Mary, with a slight crack in her voice. “I could always tell the way he looked at me. My dad and my grandfather have been like best friends to me.’’
She kidded her father after her win at the Mass. Women’s Open, eliciting laughs at the presentation ceremony by thanking him for not losing any head covers while lugging her bag.
“I was a bit nervous speaking that day, so it just came out,’’ she recalled. “But I owe a lot to my dad. I never have to ask for his support. It’s always there.’’
The father-daughter tournament is a selected drive, alternate shot format that led to a dramatic moment two years ago at Red Tail in Devens, when John’s clutch shot to the green at the par-5 18th led to a clinching birdie and a one stroke margin of victory.
In 2009, in a similar situation, his attempt to reach the par 5 18th at Willowbend CC in Mashpee wound up in a hazard.
“We lost that year by a stroke and I felt terrible,’’ said the elder Mulcahy. “But two years ago I felt redeemed.’’
Here and there
Former Plymouth South High teammates John Bochman and Stefan Gustafson have been appointed football captains at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, which will compete in the revamped Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference this fall. A 6-foot, 250-pound guard, Bochman played on an offensive line that helped the Buccaneers set a program record last season with 4,686 yards of total offense and finish sixth nationally in NCAA Division 3 at 520.7 yards per game. The 5-11, 195-pound Gustafson, who earned all-New England Football Conference Bogan Division honors, contributed to those numbers by averaging 100.1 rushing yards per game and paced the Bucs in all-purpose yards (128.6). Michael Sylvia (Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) and Sheldon Roper are the team’s other captains. . . John Lazor of Westwood won the two-day New England Junior PGA Boys Championship that concluded Tuesday at Marlborough Country Club. Lazor’s win qualified him for the 38th Junior PGA Championship, to be held July 30 through Aug. 2 at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va. The 17-year-old Lazor (a rising junior at Belmont Hill School) shot 72-73—145 for a one-stroke victory over Jake Shuman of Needham. The Junior PGA national event has one boy and one girl champion from each of the 41 PGA sections.