On the amateur circuit or hitting courses along the East Coast for journey tournaments, Morgan and Molly Smith register and play as individuals.
On the Westford Academy squad, competing in the Dual County League, the sisters are bonding teammates. And the two embrace the opportunity, contributing valuable points for the Grey Ghosts.
One day after Westford was dealt a 27-point loss by Lincoln-Sudbury at Nashawtuc Country Club, the Grey Ghosts stunned the defending Division 1 champions, 122-121, at Nabnasset Lake Country Club, with freshman Justin Davighi delivering a team-high 20 points. But Morgan, a junior co-captain, and Molly, a sophomore, each had 19.
“When you look at their point totals, I can guarantee they are the two best players [on the team]," said Westford Academy coach Dave DeLong. “Morgan and Molly are very likable kids. The other kids on the team look to them for help. They show a lot of leadership.”
With golf being an individual sport, high school players often relish the opportunity to be teammates with their friends — or in this case family — and the Smith sisters are no different.
“For high school golf, it’s less individual. It’s more of a team atmosphere,” Molly said. “We’re playing not just for our score but to help the team win. When we play amateur or junior tournaments, it’s more for ourselves.”
The sisters, who are not often paired together in Westford Academy’s matches, have had plenty of success at the state and national level. The Smiths qualified for the US Women’s Amateur Four-Ball before the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic.
“It’s been cool. We work well as a team, and it’s something we’ve been doing together for awhile,” Morgan said.
Earlier this year, Molly won the Lowell Women’s City Tournament for the third time with a 1-over-par 73 while Morgan (75) and 12-year old sister Maddie (76) finished second and third.
When Molly was 10 and Morgan 11, they became the youngest girls to play in the Lowell City Tournament in more than 15 years. In 2018, Morgan won the Women’s Club Championship at Vesper Country Club by a staggering 28 shots.
Molly took to golf from a young age, but it took a bit longer for Morgan. She began playing after watching Molly compete in the Drive, Chip, and Putt national finals at Augusta National in 2015.
“I’ve always loved golf from when I was really little,” said Molly, who finished two shots off the pace of individual champion Weston Jones of Lincoln-Sudbury in the Division 1 final last fall. “But Morgan did not like golf at all until we went to Augusta. There may have been a little jealousy factor. She was hooked after that.”
In the Middlesex League, Winchester senior Christine Mandile carded a 1-over 37 in her team’s 41-29 victory over Reading, winning her match, 7 and 2. Winchester is off to a 6-0 start.
“Competing on the boys' golf team has definitely made me work harder and want to hit the ball as far as them and compete with them,” said Mandile, who played in last year’s Division 2 boys’ state final at Taconic Country Club. "In my high school experience I always play against boys, so by now I am used to it and it is always fun to beat them.
▪ Golf statewide had a delayed start, not cleared to open until early May, but business has been brisk ever since.
Jay Miller, director of operations at Sterling Golf Management — which oversees eight golf courses, including Newton Commonwealth, Norwood Country Club, and Rockland CC — said 2020 was the “biggest growing year in golf in 30 years.”
“We did not discount one rate this year, usually we discount at twilight or our slow times on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We did not discount one round.”
Tee sheets have been full, but a number of courses have been very accommodating to high school programs the past three weeks, allowing them to squeeze in a tight six-week schedule.
▪ Rockport junior twins Jack and Will Cahill continue to assert themselves; Jack had 30 points and Will added 27 to lead the Vikings (7-2) over Georgetown Wednesday. Will shared medalist honors with teammate Bowen Slingluff as they each had 23 points in last week’s win over North Reading. Will has scored at least 20 points in each of his last five matches.
▪ Spencer Dumas carded a 3-under 33 for Xaverian, but the Eagles won a seventh score tiebreaker to prevail in a Catholic Conference battle at Brookmeadow Country Club and remain unbeaten. Joey Lenane shot a 1-under 35 for the Hawks (3-2), while St John’s Aidan LeBlanc and Brendan O’Holleran each matched that score.
▪ Michael Thorbjornsen is now at Stanford, but Wellesley is off to a 5-0 start minus last fall’s D1 individual runner-up. Senior Colby Sanville shot a 1-over 36 at Putterham as the Raiders moved one step closer to winning the Bay State Conference for the fifth consecutive season with a 109-70 win over Brookline Wednesday.
Players of the week
▪ Chad Correia, Bishop Feehan — The sophomore carded rounds of 2-under 33 and 1-under 35 in wins over St Joseph Prep and St Mary’s, respectively.
▪ Jacob Finard, Weston — A senior captain, he shot a 1-under 33 to lead the Wildcats to a win over Boston Latin.
▪ Trevor Lopez, Winchester — The senior carded a 3-under 33 in a win over Belmont at Belmont Country Club.
▪ Emmet Phelan, St. John’s Prep — The senior fired a 1-under 34 in a win over Malden Catholic at Beverly Golf and Tennis Club.
▪ Ava Spencer, Pentucket — In a 2-point win over Lynnfield, the junior registered a team-high 24 points Thursday.