There’s a Lot to Like About Mikey

August 11, 2018
There's a Lot to Like About Mikey

Morgan Smith of Vesper CC watches her putt on the 18th hole prepare to drop into the hole at Mt. Pleasant Golf Club. The clutch putt enabled Smith to edge her sister, Molly, for the 18-hole girls title at the Lowell Junior City Championship by one shot. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL-- Mikey Yfantopulos added another accomplishment to his memorable summer.

Junior Cities

The 16-year-old from Lowell was the runaway winner in the boys 16-18 division at Friday’s Lowell Junior City Championship at Mt. Pleasant Golf Club. Yfantopulos, who represented Long Meadow, fired a 3-under 69 to win by six shots over Trevor Green and Jared LeClerc, who carded matching 75s on their home course.

Yfantopulos was a ball-striking machine, hitting 16-of-18 greens in regulation.

“I made a lot of putts,” said Yfantopulos, who will be a junior at Central Catholic. “I drove the ball really well and hit a ton of greens. I seemed to just hit the ball really well.”

Yfantopulos entered Friday with plenty of momentum. After all, he was less than 24 hours removed from shooting a 4-under 68 at Andover Country Club to win the New England PGA Junior Club Champions Tournament on Thursday.

“I made a lot of birdies (Thursday) and that kind of just rolled into today,” said Yfantopulos.

In June, he proved he belonged against the best of the best in the area by finishing tied for fifth in the three-round men’s Lowell City Tournament. He also captured first place in the Junior Cities 13-15 division in 2016 and 2017.

Yfantopulos expected to make strides this summer, but even he is a bit surprised with just how well he’s played.

“Playing well in tournaments like The Cities has been a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m playing a lot of competitive tournaments where I’m challenged but I’m also playing well, and that makes it better. I wanted to be top-10 in The Cities and I finished top-five. These last two days are my first two rounds in the 60s ever. I had barely ever shot under par, so I didn’t expect to have as many low rounds as I’ve had this summer.”

Vesper’s Vinny Ruggiero took fourth with a 76, followed by Mt. Pleasant’s Eric Roy, last year’s champ, who shot a 78.

Yfantopulos played in the same group as Roy and was able to keep close tabs on one of his toughest competitors.

Over in the 13-15 boys division, Nabnasset’s Luke Walsh was the winner with an 80. He narrowly edged Vesper’s Michael-Peter Shyjan, who had an 81. Nabnasset’s Kevin Carpenter was third with an 84.

The most dramatic finish occurred in the girls 18-hole division. Morgan Smith sank the winning putt from 15 feet on the 18th green to finish with a 75 and nip her younger sister, Molly, by one shot.

Morgan, who will be a freshman at Westford Academy, was able to recover from a tough double bogey on the second hole and not lose ground on her talented sister, who earlier this summer won the women’s Lowell City Tournament.

“I parred hole 3 and 12, and that’s a tricky hole so I was able to bounce back,” Morgan said. “We were tied going down 18, so it was a little nerve-wracking.”

The two sisters are very close, but when they’re playing together in competitions, they are both fiercely competitive and minimize their conversations.

“It’s a completely different experience than playing just us two and not in a tournament,” said Morgan. “Like, in the women’s Cities we barely talked. Today, (Molly) actually had a friend who doesn’t know too much about golf caddy for her, so it was more fun.”

In the girls 9-hole division, Vesper’s Hannah Kennedy was the winner with a 39. The Westford resident, who is about to enter eighth grade, has been working extremely hard on her game and it showed.

Long Meadow’s Madison Smith, 10, the younger sister of Morgan and Molly, was second with a 44.

Follow Matt Langone on Twitter @MattLangone

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