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Back on course after three years, NEPSAC girls’ golfers shine at Pippy O’Connor Classic

Sophie Lim from the Winsor School is surrounded in green standing in a bunker on the 13th hole at Woodland Golf Course.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

As the final groups prodded toward the 18th green, Yvette O’Brien continued to hone her putting stroke, incessantly lining up four golf balls alone on the practice green in anticipation of a playoff hole.

A dedicated student of the game who has been playing since she was 6, the Greenwich Academy freshman wouldn’t need to worry about the playoff hole after all.

O’Brien shot a 7-over 79 Monday to be crowned the NEPSAC New England champion at the 36th Pippy O’Connor Independent School Girls’ Golf Classic at Woodland Golf Club in Newton. Sophomore Sofia Robinson of the Winsor School was runner-up, shooting an 8-over 80.


The tournament, which debuted in 1984, had not been played since 2019 because of COVID. O’Connor, from Wellesley, was the 1955 Massachusetts women’s amateur golf champion and directed the junior program at Charles River Country Club and was the girls’ coach at Noble & Greenough, died in 2016.

“This is her vision, she was all about junior golf,” 16-year tournament director Ginger O’Shea said. “Just to get all the kids here in honor of her spirit and memory means everything. It’s grown from kids caring about if their outfit matches and getting the ball off the ground to kids playing in college.”

Lucy Wang from the Middlesex School lines up her putt on the 14th hole.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Sofia Robinson from the Winsor School shot an 8-over 80 to finish as runner-up.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Clubbing the ball 270 yards off the tee, the 5-foot-10-inch O’Brien reeled off back-to-back birdies on par-5s at the 11th and 12th holes to put her firmly ahead of the field.

“The strongest point of my game is definitely my distance, I can get those short par-5s down and get some birdie opportunities,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien’s strong performance paced Greenwich Academy to the team championship with a score of 337, the first for the Gators since 2016 and the fifth under 10th-year coach Patrick Dwyer, capping a14-0 season in dual matches. Junior Maryanne Grace (82), freshman Angelina Hubertus (86), and freshman Alice Grace (90) contributed to the team score.


“We’ve been playing really well this year and some of our players are experienced tournament players, so I knew that we were going to contend,” Dwyer said. “I’m really thrilled at how everyone came through today.”

Senior Mia Bardinelli of Newton Country Day School won the nine-hole division by firing an 8-over 44.

Cam Kerry can be reached at cam.kerry@globe.com.