Molly Smith (Massachusetts Golf Photo)
DEDHAM, Massachusetts – Making it to the final match of the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship is hardly ever a straight line.
Needham’s Rebecca Skoler and Westford’s Molly Smith both have had moments of triumph and moments of heartbreak in this championship over the years, each coming extremely close to etching their name among the illustrious list of champions.
On Thursday, Skoler earned a 2022 finals rematch with Morgan Smith and prevailed. She’ll now get to face Smith’s younger sister Molly as the two collegians will battle it out for the title at 7:30 Friday morning at Dedham Country & Polo Club.
Making the final match is the culmination of a historic season for Smith. Earlier this year she challenged herself by playing in U.S. Open Local Qualifying, making it into a playoff for an alternate spot. Last month she made history as the first female to play in the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, coming up four strokes shy of the match play cut at Essex County Club.
“I felt like I had a little bit of unfinished business coming into this week,” said Smith, who has made match play each of the past five years.
This week, Smith earned medalist honors as her round of 2-under-par 68 on Tuesday was the lone score under par out of the entire field.
She hasn’t slowed down since, needing just 57 holes combined in her four matches to get to this stage. With thunderous drives off the tee, she has been in control of each and every match and will need to keep that up heading into Friday’s final.
“In a lot of the matches, I got off to a fast start,” said Smith, 18, who advanced to the final match with a 6&4 semifinal victory over Lillian Guleserian. “Once you have a little bit of a lead, you can kinda take dead aim on some shots and be aggressive.”
Skoler surely has some unfinished business of her own after coming up short in an emotional final match against Morgan Smith last year. Skoler held a 2-up lead through 15 holes at Orchards Golf Club only for Smith to come roaring back to win the final three.
After besting Morgan in a rematch Thursday, Skoler said she’s just as focused and ready for the final match this year. Asked how much does she want this, “I would say very bad,” Skoler said.
“It’s a totally different course, totally different year,” she added. “[Morgan’s] a great player, so it’s always gonna be close. I don’t think I’ve ever played such a great match in my life.”
Skoler has gotten more settled into the course at Dedham as the week has gone on after opening with a 79 on Monday. She closed out her semifinal by making a 40-foot putt and holed out for eagle on the par-5 10th in the semifinal, and surely has the game to take it all the way.
“It’s hard no matter who it is and and no matter where it is,” she added. “It’s just a privilege to have the opportunity to compete for a championship.”View results for Massachusetts Women's Amateur
ABOUT THE Massachusetts Women's Amateur
18-hole stroke play qualifier for 2 match play flights of
32 players. Must have a current established GHIN
handicap from a Massachusetts Golf Association
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