What They’re Saying About Molly Smith’s Back-nine 29
Here’s what the local golf community is saying about 13-year-old Molly Smith’s back-nine 29 in the Women’s City Tournament at Vesper CC to top her sister Morgan by one shot.
In case you missed it she went birdie, birdie, par, par, hole-in-one, par, birdie, birdie, birdie:
Vesper CC pro Stephen Doyle:
(Host professional for the tournament)
“It was unreal. Incredible. I was driving home and thinking you won’t see better golf on the back nine at Augusta National. Remarkable.
“I was following them when Molly made the birdie on 11, and then she made a great putt on 12 for par. Then Morgan birdied the 13th and I figured it was over. I left just before the hole-in-one (on 14) because I had some stuff to attend to, but I heard the screams.
“Poor Morgan. She had a four-shot lead with five to play and she shot even par and lost. The buzz was incredible around the 18th hole. People were saying, ‘If she makes this putt she shoots 29.’ Nobody could believe it.”
Long Meadow GC pro Gene Manley:
(Noted historian for the Men’s City Tournament)
“It’s probably the greatest Cities ever played. I’m heartbroken for Morgan, she played flawless golf ... but what Molly did was historical. She could win the Women’s U.S. Open some day and not play a more amazing nine holes of golf.
“I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed such incredible golf. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
Mt. Pleasant GC pro Joel Jenkins
(As quoted in Sunday’s Sun story)
“Never in my life have I seen anything like this. Molly shot a 29, seven-under, when she had to have it.
“Morgan was making shots, too. But you have to give Molly credit. What she did was spectacular. It’s a big tournament with people around and the atmosphere was great. For those two to finish at 72 and 73 is just unreal. It’s so great to see.”
Ken Hughes, 1988 Men’s City champ:
(Caddied for his daughter Jessica, third member of the threesome)
“We were privileged to witness history. And I am so proud of the way Jessica supported both Molly and Morgan throughout the round.
“They both played with aggressive, yet controlled, confidence. They both drove it long and straight and their distance control with the irons was exceptional. Molly only had 10 putts on the back 9. Both players hit eight out of nine greens.
“They seemed to really enjoy the competition. Molly played the last five holes in 14 strokes. I never saw a stretch like that, yet Morgan never backed off.”
Marilyn Campbell, Vesper member and racehorse breeder:
(When Liz Friel won one of her five City titles the Sun’s headline, “Friel’s For Real”, became the name of a fairly successful racehorse for Gil and Marilyn Campbell)
“Both girls did unbelievable! I like the name for a horse (GOOD GOLLY, MISS MOLLY was the Sun headline). I just checked and it would have to read ‘GoodGollyMissMolly’. It’s too many letters if we put in the spaces. And there is already a ‘Good Golly Molly’.
“I will put it on my list when I start naming the yearlings. Always love to get ideas for names.”
Cheryl Popp, former Women’s City champ:
(Popp, the 2010 winner from Vesper, is a member of the Tournament Committee and played on Saturday)
“I was on the 17th green when I heard the roar. I said to George (Popp, her husband and caddie) and my playing partners, ‘I think someone just got a hole-in-one.’ You don’t get that kind of scream for anything else.
“I had no idea how the field was doing. I completed my round and immediately went back out to see the final couple of groups come down 18. The information we were hearing was that the girls were tied. When Molly made that birdie putt on 18 to win, the crowd went crazy.
“Molly may be young but she has been taught the ins and outs of the game by a great player, her dad Phil. This tournament was started 20 years ago to highlight local female golfers of all ages. It also teaches respect, patience and how to follow rules. I personally know how much practice and effort Molly and Morgan put into their games. They deserve to be rewarded!”
Clarissa Samuels, inaugural Women’s City champ:
(Samuels, a Mt. Pleasant fixture, won the Cities in 1999 and has played in all 20)
“That blew me away. I grew up in the Pat Bradley days and Pat Bradley never played like that. All I heard was roar after roar after roar. We were the group in front of them and we were walking toward the 15th tee when somebody said, “It went in!” We turned around and it was just bedlam.
“I think it’s great. Morgan and Molly are both good kids and they love the game. Phil deserves a lot of credit for his tutelage but they’re hard working kids and smart. They’re the lifeblood of the tournament. People are going to come out to see them. A 29 will do that.”