RISING STARS: Morgan and Molly Smith of Massachusetts
26 Jul 2022
by Sean Melia of

see also: Molly Smith Rankings

Morgan and Molly Smith (Credit: MassGolf)
Morgan and Molly Smith (Credit: MassGolf)

Morgan and Molly Smith are growing accustomed to winning, and even dominating, golf tournaments.

In 2021, Molly won the Women’s Ouimet Invitational by a staggering 10 shots, outdueling some of the most accomplished golfers in Massachusetts over 54-holes. On the heels of that success, Molly qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur that same summer.

That success in 2021 put Morgan in Molly's shadow. Quietly, though, Morgan had reached some milestones of her own, breaking the gender barrier in 2019 when she was the first female to qualify and compete in the Lowell City Championship.

However, Morgan really put her name on the radar in June with a staggering 12-shot victory in the New England Women's Amateur at the Country Club of Vermont.

Morgan and Molly are separated by one year. The competitive sibling dynamic can be a tricky one at any age. The ups and downs of golf can make it even harder, but it seems like Molly and Morgan found a perfect balance. They root for each other and find joy in each other’s success.

Morgan graduated from high school in 2022, but will attend Phillips Exeter in New Hampshire for a post-graduate year, as she wasn’t satisfied with her college recruiting experience and Division 1 options.

Morgan felt squeezed out in some respects due to limited scholarships as student-athletes took advantage of additional eligibility, but she knows what she is looking for in a school.

“I want to go to a school where I will receive the best academics and become the best golfer that I can be,” Morgan said. “I also want to be excited to go to that program and excited to play for them, and have the coaches be excited for me to be there as well,” Morgan said.

Molly Smith (Credit: Teddy Doggett)
Morgan is determined to take advantage of her extra year in high school to hone her golf skills and get another chance at impressing coaches.

She’s not waiting for the fall to grab their attention, though. Her summer has been impressive, but the work started in the cold, dark Massachusetts winter.

Her training with Kevin Duffy in Acton, Massachusetts twice a week, along with workouts and overspeed training at home helped increase her driver swing speed by 11 mph. Those are huge gains.

“I’m swinging it at 98 (mph), and, knock on wood, I think I’m going to be hitting it pretty close to 240 yards this summer. I really made that a priority this winter.”

The work is paying off, as Morgan evidenced by her big win at New England Women’s Amateur. Morgan was the only player under par, with a score of 7 under. She was also two months shy of becoming the youngest player to win the event. Molly finished in third place at 7-over par

“I’m getting better the second and third rounds but I think it’s just being able to start off the first round better,” Morgan Smith said to MassGolf following the win. “And again, that may be constant preparation, learning the course a bit better in the practice rounds, knowing where to be and where not to be, but I’m definitely very happy with the way my game is trending.”

Morgan (L) and Molly Smith (Credit: Jim Davis)
The win should make Morgan feel like she belongs and can compete. When she arrived at the 2021 U.S. Girls Junior Amateur, she wasn’t so sure.

Even with a bevy of experience playing against a wide range of boys, girls, men, and women, the same doubts that every golfer feels can creep in.

“Sometimes you get to tournaments and see these top-ranked people and you wonder if you should be there,” Morgan said.

Morgan and Molly have their eyes set on loftier goals, too. In May, they both played very well in a U.S. Women's Open qualifier. Molly finished in third place, two shots outside of a playoff for the only available spot at Worcester CC.

Morgan qualified for the 2022 U.S. Junior Girls qualifier with a score of 70. She continued her upward trend by improving on her 2021 showing. She made it through stroke play after surviving a playoff. She lost in the round of 64 to eventual winner Yana Wilson at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling, Green Kentucky.

Molly, on July 11, earned medalist honors in the U.S. Women's Amateur Qualifier shooting a 3-under par 69 at Nashawtuc Country Club. Morgan missed qualifying by one shot.

Of course, Morgan and Molly have to compete against each other, but they were also teammates on the Westford Academy high school team.

Morgan Smith (Credit: Teddy Doggett)
In the fall of 2021, Morgan and Molly led the co-ed Westford Academy Ghosts to their first state championship appearance in six years; the Ghosts were also 8-2 in their matches and won the Duel County League Championship, an 18 hole stroke play event at Weston CC; Molly fired a winning score of 66 and Morgan shot a 70. It was an impressive 13 shot victory for Westford Academy.

The performance earned Molly a Duel County League co-MVP award.

The sisters said they enjoy playing against the boys and seek out the opportunity when possible. This past May, they competed in the MassGolf Four-Ball championship as a team. They also played in the MassGolf Stone Cup - a mixed four-ball event. Morgan partnered with a high school friend Max Johnson. However, it was Molly and her father Phil that won the event, successfully defending their 2021 title.

“I work on the small things and just try to get a little bit each day. If you keep doing the simple things every day when you practice, over weeks and months you can start to see that progress. And the progress is going to work in the long run.”

That mindset was forged during tough stretches of golf that Molly experienced as she transitioned into high school.

“Two years ago I really struggled with my golf game. I didn’t have the results I thought I was going to have,” Molly said. “It was kind of a transition year for me, where I felt like I was progressing as a golfer but they just weren’t really showing up, so I didn’t really have a lot to give to some of these coaches.”

Morgan and Molly Smith seem to have the mindset to continue to improve and win golf tournaments against all comers.

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