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PARAMUS, New Jersey – Over a hot and humid two days, the race for the Enos Cup at the 80th Junior Girls’ Inter-City matches was hotly contested. In the end, the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association (WMGA) totaled 24 points as a team to capture its first victory since 2018.
Team Massachusetts tallied 21 points, its highest mark since 1999, to finish just behind the WMGA. The Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia (WGAP) finished third with nine total points.
Mya Murphy (MIAA) led Team Mass Golf on Day 2, tallying a perfect six out of a possible six points for her team in the Nassau-style scoring event.
“I think I played pretty well, but my putting was not great,” Murphy said. “My tee shots and my iron play was really helping me a lot both days. I also got three birdies and I can hit the ball pretty far, so the shorter par fives really helped because I could reach most of them in two and that was a very big advantage for me.”
Most golfers tend to not keep an eye on scores when they play, but for Murphy, keeping one eye on the leaderboard is something she uses to her benefit.
“Actually, that helps me play better,” she said. “Knowing how I’m doing and what I need to do to win that point really helps. I did know how I was playing, and I also kind of knew how I was doing because I was swinging pretty well. It’s just a motivation thing for me. I also really like the competition, I’m a very competitive person.”
Murphy led the charge, but the entire team contributed points. Eleanor Parkerson (NEPGA) totaled four points, while Madalin Small (Newton Commonwealth Golf Course), Abby Stone (Oak Hill Country Club), and Kyla Maletto (Youth on Course) all had three points each. Julianne Flynn (Harmon Golf Club) scored two points.
Parkerson credited her round to keeping the ball in play and getting used to the course after seeing it once through.
“My shots were definitely going straighter (today),” she said. “The greens were hard to get used to, but today a lot of my putts were going in. Overall, it was definitely better than yesterday. I thought the entire team played really well, definitely met expectations and then exceeded them for sure.”
“They did really well,” said Terry Wappel, a Mass Golf Rules Official who accompanied the team on the trip. “They did the best in 21 years, so that was pretty good.”
None of the girls had ever participated in the Girls’ Inter-City matches previously, but all had an opportunity to bond and build relationships with each other.
“I thought it was awesome,” said Murphy, who will be a sophomore next year at Sturgis West in Hyannis. “The whole team aspect of it, playing a practice round was really fun, I liked it a lot. I also liked meeting the girls from other states too. They were all really nice.”
Following the Day 1 sweepstakes and practice round, the girls went out and had some fun together on the putting green which became a fond memory for everyone on the trip. Rather than participate in the scheduled organized putting contest, the girls played against themselves as a group and had a great time.
“We had a lot of fun playing that, it kind of bonded us together,” Murphy said.
Overall, Team Mass Golf set a scoring mark that hadn’t been achieved in 21 years and at the end of the day, that is what they can be most proud of.
“We were really pleased with the girls,” Wappel said. “We didn’t do this last year, but two years ago none of them were part of this, so it was brand new for them. Everybody had a good time and that’s what counts.”
Day 1 of the event was a practice/sweepstakes round, and the girls representing Mass Golf found some success in that setting, too. Madalin Small had the best individual day, shooting the 2nd lowest gross score of 81. Small was also part of the team to post the lowest best ball mark of 72 playing alongside Caroline Finter of the WMGA and Adriana Seravalli of the WGAP.
“It was really hard to learn how to play that course right away, and I was actually 7-over through the first seven holes,” Small said. “I kind of figured it out a little bit from there and I was able to pull it together a bit, but it was definitely a really hard course to learn right away. After I played a few holes it became a little easier.”
At 18, Small was the eldest player traveling with the Mass Golf group, and she set an early tone with her play during the first day. Mya Murphy posted an 89 during her round, and Julianne Flynn came in just behind her shooting a 90. Both girls finished second in their threesome on day one.
The first year the Junior Intercity matches took place was all the way back in 1934. At that time, the competition was only contested between the WMGA and the WGAP. The WMGA would win the inaugural Enos Cup, named after the “mother” of WMGA junior golf Mrs. Frank Enos, at the Englewood Club in New Jersey.
Following the early success, the WGAP would win the event for the next seven years up until 1942 when the event was not held due to the presence of WWII. The event resumed beginning in 1949 and by 1955, team Massachusetts began fielding a team as the event evolved into the tri-state matches they are now contested as today.
Massachusetts would pick up its first-ever victory in 1959 when it won the Enos Cup at St. Davids Golf Club in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The victory would mark the first of four consecutive wins for the Mass Golf group. Overall, Massachusetts has won the Enos Cup 17 times. Philadelphia leads with 39 victories, and New York sits behind them with 27 wins to their credit.
Since the turn of the century in 2000, Massachusetts has not won an Enos Cup with their most recent victories coming back-to-back in 1998 and 1999. Philadelphia most recently won in 2019 as part of its seven victories since the start of the century. Team Massachusetts certainly created some positive momentum with their progress towards breaking the dry spell this year.
Located 22 miles from New York City, Arcola Country Club in Paramus is a course rich with history and well suited to host the Junior Inter-City matches.
The original 18-hole design of the course was done by English-born architect Herbert Haydn Barker. Barker had been working as the golf professional at the nearby Garden City Golf Club when he designed the course’s original holes after it was founded in 1909.
In 1930, the course was redesigned by Willard G. Wilkinson. The redesign was due to the expansion of the 11-mile Route 4 highway between the Hudson River Bridge and Paterson. The final remodeling of the course occurred in the late 1950s and was also due to road routing. Robert Trent Jones Sr. handled the layout of that design. Today, Arcola plays as a par-72 course and is considered as one of the top courses in New Jersey.
Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport. Made up of 90,000 golfers statewide, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Presently, more than two-thirds of the 360-member clubs are public-access facilities, while nearly one-half of member golfers are enrolled at public facilities. Mass Golf offers its member’s services including handicapping, event access, youth programming and exciting golf content.