119th Mass. Women’s Am: Sisters Morgan and Molly Smith lead the pack following Day 1 (PHOTOS)

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  • Morgan Smith of Vesper Country Club is leading the  119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship after one round Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Riley Eames hits a shot out of a bunker at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst Regional grad Anna Casagrande, right, shakes hands with Northfield Mount Hermon’s Annie Dai after their round at the at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley is hosting the  119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship this week. Stroke play runs Monday and Tuesday, while match play will takep lace Wednesday through Friday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley is hosting the  119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship this week. Stroke play runs Monday and Tuesday, while match play will takep lace Wednesday through Friday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI—

  • The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley is hosting the  119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship this week. Stroke play runs Monday and Tuesday, while match play will takep lace Wednesday through Friday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Grace Farland of Marlborough Country Club hits out of a bunker at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Helen Wright of Cold Spring Country Club putts at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley is hosting the  119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship this week. Stroke play runs Monday and Tuesday, while match play will takep lace Wednesday through Friday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northfield Mount Hermon’s Annie Dai watches a tee shot at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley is hosting the  119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship this week. Stroke play runs Monday and Tuesday, while match play will takep lace Wednesday through Friday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst Regional graduate Anna Casarande reacts to a putt at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northfield Mount Hermon’s Annie Dai watches a tee shot at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer 
Published: 8/15/2022 5:28:48 PM

SOUTH HADLEY – After Day 1 of the 119th Mass. Women’s Amateur Championship, it’s a sibling showdown for the top two spots on the leaderboard between Morgan and Molly Smith of Tyngsborough’s Vesper Country Club.

Many golfers struggled at The Orchard Golf Club during the opening round of the tournament – the greens were fast, and there was a bit of a learning curve to adjust to the classic Donald Ross course. The Smith sisters were the only two players to shoot par or better; Morgan holds the lead after firing a 1-under 71, while younger sister Molly sits just a stroke behind after carding an even-par 72. 

“This is definitely a tough golf course. We both played here last year in [the Mass. Girls' Junior Amateur Championship], but with the tees back further and the greens rolling really fast, it's definitely a different course this year,” Molly said. “If you hit shots in the right spots, it's not that bad. But when you get on the wrong side of a hole, it's definitely tough.”

“And the elevated greens definitely make it so that to have a good look at birdie, you have to hit a good iron shot,” Morgan added.

Molly actually started playing golf first, when she was around 3 or 4 years old, and eventually older sister Morgan followed suit. Between the two of them and their youngest sister, Maddie, there’s a pretty intense sibling rivalry that’s developed — whether they’re battling it out on the links or playing basketball or ping pong at home. Between Morgan and Molly in particular, the competition level is at an all-time high.

“It's really high. Yeah, it's like scary high. It's not healthy high, probably,” Molly said.

This is also the first top-level tournament that all three siblings have competed in together, making it an extra-special event for the trio of golfers. Maddie Smith shot an opening-round 83, putting her in a tie for 19th position entering Tuesday’s second round of stroke play.

“It's pretty fun because I’ve played tons of tournaments with Morgan. But this is the first year that I've actually played tournaments against [Maddie]. I think this is the first tournament where all three of us are playing together besides local stuff, so it's pretty fun,” Molly said. “It's fun seeing Morgan golf, but she golfs a lot, so it's extra fun to see [Maddie] come out here and play, because she doesn't have a lot of tournament experience under her belt.” 

LOCAL COMPETITORS IN THE MIX

After 18 holes of golf, several local athletes are in the mix as the field tries to lock down a spot in the top 32 and a subsequent spot in the match play portion of the tourney. Tuesday’s final round of stroke play will cut the field down to 32, with match play beginning on Wednesday and running through Friday.

Feeding Hills’ Angela Garvin, the 2019 champion, leads the Western Mass. contingent after an opening-round 77 has her 5-over and in sixth place. Springfield’s Jaelyn Deboise sits in 12th place with after an 8-over 80. Three strokes behind her is Longmeadow’s Annie Dai — the Northfield Mount Hermon School golfer is tied for 19th with five other golfers at 11-over.

Right on the cusp of the a top32 spot is Feeding Hills’ Alia Godek, who is tied for 30th with at 13-over, and Northampton Country Club’s Anna Casagrande, who is tied for 38th after a 15-over 87. A good Day 2 [performance by either golfer could secure them a match play spot.

Cold Spring Country Club’s Helen Wright is two strokes behind Casagrande, tied for 46th place with at 17-over. Two strokes behind her is 11-year-old Ryley Regan from Granby, who’s tied for 51st at 19-over.

Tuesday’s tee times start bright and early at 8:10 a.m., when Casagrande and Dai will tee off together on the first hole. Deboise will also start at 8:20 on No. 10 and Garvin tees off on No. 10 at 8:30. Regan will start her second day at 9 a.m. on the first hole, while Wright will begin on No. 10 at 9:20. Godek will get the latest start, teeing off on the first hole at 9:30.


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