119th Mass. Women’s Am: Granby’s Ryley Regan turning heads at 11 years old

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  • Granby's Ryley Regan putts at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Ryley Regan watches an approach shot at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Ryley Regan reacts to a putt at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Mike Regan, right, points out the slope of a green to his daugther Ryley Regan at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old Ryley was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Ryley Regan watches a tee shot at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Ryley Regan, left, shakes hands with Maddie Smith of Tyngsboro at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old Regan was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Ryley Regan, right, and her father/caddie Mike Regan read the green at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Ryley Regan putts at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Ryley Regan reacts to a putt at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Granby's Ryley Regan watches a tee shot at the 119th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship on Monday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley. The 11-year-old was the only Orchards member participating in the event on her home course. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer 
Published: 8/15/2022 8:16:04 PM

SOUTH HADLEY – Amid the dozens of adults, one young golfer stood out at the 119th Mass. Women’s Amateur Championship at The Orchard Golf Club on Monday afternoon  – and it wasn’t just because of the bright orange shirt she was wearing. 

Eleven-year-old Ryley Regan of Granby turned heads as the youngest competitor in the field – by quite a bit (the next-youngest player this week is 14). She’s four years younger than last year’s youngest competitor, Lillian Guleserian. While she was competing against players two, three and four times her age, Regan was cool, calm and collected all morning and afternoon, bouncing around from hole to hole with her dad, Mike Regan, following close behind as her caddie.

“It was a really fun experience. I had a great time just playing the course and knowing that I'm the youngest kid to play here,” Regan said. “My favorite part about it was just having fun and playing with new people.”

Though just 11 years old, Regan has already put together quite an impressive golf resume. She won her first Connecticut PGA Junior Tournament when she was nine years old, and regularly competes against elite level golfers in her age group. She recently returned from the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship, which was held at the Midland Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C. Competing against top-level talent from around the world, Regan tied for 49th place in a field of 103 golfers. 

Regan carded an opening-round 91 on Monday, putting her in a tie for 51st overall. The top 32 golfers following Tuesday’s second round will advance to match play competition. At 19-over, she’s still within striking distance of that prospect. Regan will tee off at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

“She works really hard at the game. She comes out here every day, she begs to come out. Just watching her mature over the last few years, her ball-striking ability and just how much she loves the game is what I love seeing. This is her happy place,” Mike Regan said on watching his daughter play. “And it's teaching her life lessons about working hard and getting through the little things in life like a bad shot. It's OK, just move forward.”

Regan also has the distinction as being the only golfer from The Orchards to represent her home course at this week’s tournament, an honor made all the more impressive because of how young she is. Playing on a course that she’s familiar with made the step up to a higher level a little easier for Regan. But it isn’t just the knowledge of her home green – it’s her love of the game, and her desire to do better each and every time she swings a club.

“I think (her biggest strength) is just her willingness to compete,” Regan’s coach Keith Cunningham said. “Mentally, she goes out there and she wants to play well, but deep down she wants to win, which we can't really teach that.”

Regan’s appearance on the course was encouraging to all the other golfers around her, including 17-year-old Molly Smith, who has also been golfing since she was very young. Smith, who sits in second place after an even-par 72 on Monday, said she was glad to see a young player on the course at a high-level competition, and hopes that Regan’s performance will motivate other young kids to realize their golfing aspirations.

“I feel like getting kids into golf is really good and I'm glad she felt like she wanted to come play this event. I feel like that’s one of the hurdles in golf, is that people don't feel like they're welcome,” Smith said. “So that's why maybe some more younger kids don't want to come play. So if somebody sees her play this year and then you get two younger kids next year and then that keeps building, it's just good for the game going forward.”

For now, Regan will continue to learn and love the game that she’s played most of her life. She’ll keep taking the Women’s Am one hole at a time with her dad by her side, sometime he’s grateful for every day.

“It's amazing to watch her love this game. Every morning she wakes up and she just wants to come here. It’s nice to find something that your child loves so much and that you can actually help them with,” Mike Regan said.


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