119th Mass. Women’s Am: Jaelyn Deboise, Angela Garvin provide exciting all-WMass match on Day 3

  • Springfield Country Club’s Jaelyn Deboise, right, was joined by new caddie Ryley Regan of Granby for Deboise’s match against Angela Garvin in the Round of 32 at the 119th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship at The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/HANNAH BEVIS

Staff Writer 
Published: 8/17/2022 8:05:43 PM
Modified: 8/17/2022 8:02:16 PM

SOUTH HADLEY – Four Western Mass. golfers reached match play at the 119th Mass. Women’s Amateur on Wednesday. Two of them – Angela Garvin and Jaelyn Deboise – wound up squaring off against each other. 

“(Garvin) is an amazing player, literally a role model that I had when I was younger than her. So I didn't go into expecting to win or anything. I just was like, ‘I'll give it my best,’” said Deboise, who graduated from Pope Francis in the spring and plays out of Springfield Country Club. 

Following the first two days of the tournament, golfers were seeded into the 32-player bracket, golfing head-to-head to advance toward Friday’s championship match. Garvin, a former Women’s Am champion and current University of Maryland star from Feeding Hills, and Deboise were the last pairing remaining on the course during Round of 32 action Wednesday morning, battling all the way to the 17th hole before Garvin managed to secure a 2 & 1 win. 

“I mean, it definitely was upsetting because I was [2-Up] going into 15, but that’s match play. I’m just happy that I was able to go that long with such a great player,” Deboise said. 

Garvin had the edge on the front nine, winning the first and third holes and holding a 2-Up edge after four. Deboise responded by winning the fifth and sixth holes to pull things All-Square; Garvin responded by winning the seventh hole and the ninth to take a 3-Up lead going to the back nine. 

That was when things got interesting – Deboise won first four consecutive holes on the back nine, rallying to take a 1-Up lead heading into No. 15.

Debosie, who said she went into match play just hoping to golf well and enjoy herself, has watched Garvin play since she was young, and she knew that the 2019 Women’s Am champ would be a tough competitor. But after winning four holes in a row, Deboise realized that she was still very much a contender. Garvin admitted she had to dig deep to rally back late.

“I think a lot of it is just from experience because I've been in that situation a lot at this point,” Garvin said. “I know how quickly it can turn in match play and how you have to stay in it because if you don't, they don't even have to beat you. You already kind of beat yourself.”

Garvin won the final four holes to punch her ticket to the Round of 16.

Sweet 16 struggles

After playing 17 holes in her first round, Garvin needed every hole on the course to determine whether she’d march on to the quarterfinals later in the afternoon on Wednesday.

Garvin and her Round of 16 opponent, Tate Hadges (Thorny Lea Golf Club), went the full 18 and were neck and neck after the front nine, winning a hole apiece to take the turn All-Square. The problems started for Garvin the second she set foot on the back nine. 

“Something definitely got into my swing because I couldn't hit the ball straight for my life,” Garvin said. “I think it was mental thing, something seeped into my swing and I just couldn't really figure it out. I was trying everything.”

Holes 13, 14 and 15 were particularly tough on Garvin, though a couple of beautiful chips helped her out of some of the jams; she still managed to win the 14th hole.

Despite her struggles, Hadges never managed to take more than a 2-Up lead on Garvin, and the former Agawam High School star won the 16th hole to stay in the match. 

“It only had gotten to two down. I think the way I was playing it should have been way worse than that,” Garvin said. “But I was still in it. I still took it to 18.”

Hadges ultimately won the 18th hole to secure the 2-Up win and a spot in the quarterfinals.

Western Mass. results

Garvin was the only Western Mass. player to advance to the Round of 16.

Annie Dai (Longmeadow/MIAA) fell to Julia Imai (KOHR Golf) in the first round, 3 & 2, and Alia Godek (Agawam Municipal Golf Course) dropped her match to Molly Smith in the opening round, 6 & 5.

Dai won her first hole against Imai, but Imai responded with a win the next hole and then built a lead she would not relinquish. Imai was 2-Up after the front nine, and ultimately secured the 3 & 2 victory. 

Godek faced one of the favorites in Smith, and struggled to keep pace. After Smith rattled off three holes to start the match, Godek won the fourth hole but couldn’t make up the gap; Smith finished 6 & 5 for the win.

Heading into Day 4

Eight golfers remain, including last year’s champion, Catie Schernecker, and one of the favorites and stroke play medalist, Morgan Smith. Two of the three Smith sisters, Morgan and Molly, are also both still in the mix. 

“I'm really excited. I played pretty good today. Definitely made some putts, got some momentum going,” Morgan Smith said on her play Wednesday. 

The quarterfinals begin at 7:30 a.m., when Morgan Smith tees off against Megan Buck. They’ll be followed by Piper Jordan and Schernecker at 7:40, Rebecca Skoler and Molly Smith at 7:50 and Hadges and Emma Abramson at 8 a.m. The semifinals will follow in the afternoon, wittling the field down to the final two golfers who will battle on Friday for the title.


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