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NORTON, Massachusetts – College golf commitments got underway with the start of NCAA Early Signing Period this past Wednesday, as high school golfers began signing their national letters of intent (NLI).
North Attleboro’s Jillian Barend, Wellesley’s Michael Thorbjornsen, BC High’s Jack O’Donnell and Notre Dame Academy’s Margot Osterman are Massachusetts natives who have signed with Division I programs. Thorbjornsen signed with Stanford University; O’Donnell signed with the University of Michigan; Barend signed with St. Francis University (PA); and Osterman signed with Siena College.
In addition, Andover’s Mac Lee has signed with Boston College, Hopkinton’s Matt Epstein will be headed to William & Mary College next year, South Deerfield’s Jonathan Elkins has committed to Villanova and Concord-Carlisle’s Gabrielle Shieh has signed with Brown University.
Meanwhile, West Boylston’s Sean Magarian will stay local and compete for Division II Assumption College in Worcester, as will Sandwich’s Bridget Lopes, Sutton’s Jennifer Walsh and Agawam’s Emily Bonfiglio.
Kayla Schuberth, of King Philip High School, will play for D-II Franklin Pierce.
Thorbjornsen (Wellesley CC), the individual runner-up at this year’s MIAA Div. 1 state championship, won the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur to earn a spot into the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. He also made the cut in the event, finishing 79th overall. Thorbjornsen also won the Mass Golf Young Golfers’ Amateur in 2015 and two years later, he won the Pre-Junior Division of the Mass Junior Amateur and was the second low amateur at the Mass Open.
O’Donnell (Boston GC), a Cohasset native, competed at this year’s U.S. Junior Amateur with Thorbjornsen and Brookline’s James Imai (Northwestern). He won co-medalist honors at the 2017 MIAA state championship to help the Eagles to a team title. He was named the Boston Globe’s Player of the Year in 2017. During the 2018 season, O’Donnell earned medalist honors at the Cape Cod National High School Invitational. He was also a two-time medalist at the Golfweek New England Championship in 2017 and again in 2019.
Barend (Foxborough CC) started every match her freshman and sophomore seasons on the North Attleboro boys varsity golf team, and she qualified for the MIAA girls state tournament in 2017 and 2018. She also represented Team Massachusetts in the 2017 Junior Inter-City Team Matches. She is also a co-founder of the Girls Independent Golf League (GIGL), a organization that seeks to promote girls golf and is based out of The Links at Mass Golf in Norton.
Osterman (Hyannisport Club), a Scituate native, helped Notre Dame (Hingham) win the 2018 MIAA team title by eight strokes, and she placed second at the 2018 New England High School Championships by shooting at 74. She also placed in the top 10 at the 2018 Edith Noblit Baker Trophy, a Mass Golf Women’s Championship. A multi-sport athlete, Osterman was a two-time national alpine snowboard champion as a teenager.
Lee (Andover CC) finished T5 in the 2019 Ouimet Memorial Tournament (Championship Division). In 2016, he won 11 of the 12 NEPGA Jr. events he played in, and in 2018, won the Elite Tour at Four Oaks CC in Dracut. That year, he finished T2 in the MIAA Division 1 North tournament, and this year he was T3 in the same tournament. He finished T11 in the MIAA Division 1 state tournament this year.
Epstein (Hopkinton CC), a two-time Boston Globe All-Scholastic selection, led Hopkinton to back-to-back MIAA Division 2 state championships in 2017 and 2018. He helped the Hillers capture three Tri-Valley League titles, and this year, he was medalist at this year’s MIAA Division 2 South Sectional, shooting a 73. Epstein also finished T5 in stroke play at the 2019 Massachusetts Junior Amateur to make the round of 16 in match play.
Elkins (Crumpin-Fox Club), who attends Taft School in Connecticut, has played in the last two Mass Golf Junior Amateur championships and played in the 2019 Junior PGA Championship in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2017, he tied for first place at the Connecticut Section Junior PGA and placed third at the U.S. Open Local Qualifying.
Shieh (Nashawtuc CC), co-captain of Concord Carlisle’s co-ed golf team, was runner-up at the 2019 Mass Golf Girls’ Junior Amateur, shooting a 2-under 69 on the second day. She has also qualified for match play in the last two Women’s Amateur Championships and placed fourth in the 2018 Women’s Division of the Ouimet Memorial Tournament. This year, Shieh won medalist honors in the 2019 MIAA Girls Golf North/Central/West Sectionals, and in 2017, she finished fourth in the Drive Chip and Putt National Final at Augusta National.
Magarian (Green Hill GC) was medalist at this year’s MIAA Central Mass Division III championship and finished T7 in the Division III state championship.
Lopes (The Ridge Club) played in this year’s NEGA Junior Amateur Invitational and helped Sandwich High School’s girls golf team win a state championship in its first of the program.
Walsh & Bonfiglio both competed in the 2019 MIAA girls and boys sectional tournaments.
Schuberth (Maplegate CC) was a Hockomock League All-Star and named MVP for the Warriors boys team in 2018. In the spring, she placed 10th in sectionals and 10th in the state championship after also competing in the boys state championship in 2018.
The signing period for fall 2020 enrollees at Division I & II programs lasts until August 1, 2020. This story will be updated as more Massachusetts junior golfers sign their commitments to college programs.