Mass Women's Amateur: Morgan Smith & Rebecca Skoler Advance To Final Match - MASSGOLF

A New Mass Women’s Amateur Champion Will Be Crowned Friday At The Orchards Golf Club

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2022

SOUTH HADLEY, Massachusetts – Morgan Smith (Vesper Country Club) and Rebecca Skoler (Pine Brook Country Club) have each played 97 holes this week at The Orchards Golf Club to get to this point. And now the two young standouts are the two players left standing in the 119th Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship.

The two will square off in the 18-hole championship match at 7:30 Friday morning. Mass Golf will carry the match live on Instagram (@playmassgolf). 

ONLINE: MASS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL | SCORES & STARTING TIMES | PHOTO GALLERY | PAST CHAMPIONS

Both players cruised to victory in the quarterfinals Thursday morning. In the semifinals, Smith kept it rolling, as the 18-year-old Westford native knocked off defending champion Catie Schernecker (The Country Club), 3&2.

Meanwhile, Skoler played the closest contest of the day, as the 20-year-old Needham native and University of Virginia sophomore edged out 16-year-old Emma Abramson (The Ridge Club) from Sandwich in a 4-hour match that went the distance.

Smith reached the quarterfinals last year but said she felt disappointed with her play overall. But she’s taken her game to new heights this year, thanks in part to her offseason training.

“I started working out two hours a day, six days a week, all winter long,” Smith said after her semifinal victory. “Now I’m hitting it 240 [yards], I can hit some of the par-5s in two, and I feel a lot stronger on the golf course. When I won the New England Women’s Amateur by 12 [strokes], I said, ‘I can do this.'”

Making the final has also been several years in the making for Skoler, who won medalist last year and lost in the quarterfinals, but made the semifinals the year prior.

“Every day has been an improvement,” Skoler said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and enjoy making it to the finals for sure.”

After sniffing the finals each of the past three years, Rebecca Skoler has finally made it there. (David Colt)

Scroll down for the full match recaps. 

MEET THE FINALISTS

MORGAN SMITH
Hometown: Westford, MA
Instagram: @morgansmith2904

  • 2022 New England Women’s Amateur Champion
  • Made Round of 64 at 2022 U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur
  • Belongs to Vesper Country Club in Tyngsborough and Mount Pleasant Golf Club in Lowell
  • Will attend Phillips Exeter Academy for post-graduate year in the fall
  • 2022 US Challenge Cup World Series of Golf Champion
  • Played in 2022 Mass Four-Ball Championship


ROAD TO THE FINAL
Stroke Play: 71-69–140 (1st place/medalist)

R32: Def. Amy Lyon, 5&3
R16: Def. Chelsea Curtis, 5&4
Quarterfinals: Def. Megan Buck, 3&2
Semifinals: Def. Catie Schernecker, 3&2

Morgan Smith

REBECCA SKOLER
Hometown: Needham, MA
Instagram: @rebeccaskoler

  • Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play for the Baker Trophy Champion (2021, 2022)
  • Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Champion (2018, 2020)
  • Stroke play medalist at the 2021 Mass Women’s Amateur (lost in quarterfinals)
  • Rising junior at the University of Virginia
  • Belongs to Pine Brook Country Club in Weston
  • Competed in 2022 R&A Women’s Amateur in Hunstanton, England
  • The oldest remaining player (20 years, 8 months) to make the semifinals


ROAD TO THE FINAL
Stroke Play: 74-71–145 (2nd place)
R32: Def. Rio Pearlstein, 5&4
R16: Def. Keira Joshi, 6&4
Quarterfinals: Def. Molly Smith, 4&3
Semifinals: Def. Emma Abramson, 1-up

Rebecca Skoler

SEMIFINAL RECAPS

1-Morgan Smith (Vesper Country Club) def. 4-Catie Schernecker (The Country Club), 3&2

Morgan Smith continued to pump drives in the fairways and roll the ball well with her long putter to knock off last year’s Mass Women’s Amateur champion.

After making a 10-footer for birdie on the 4th hole to go 3-up, Schernecker hooked her tee shot left on the par-3 5th. However, it stayed in play, and she was able to chip-in to bring it back to 2-up. Smith remained steady as she won the 10th and 12th holes to push it to 4-up through 12.

In a rare display of outward emotion, Smith pumped her right fist and fist-bumped her little sister and caddie Maddie, as her 20-foot, right-to-left birdie putt fell into the hole on the 14th. Needing to make her difficult downhill putt to extend the match, Catie Schernecker stepped up and hit it right at the hole, and it fell in to keep it going.

“There’s some putts that you see that you know you’re going to make, and that was one of those,” Smith said. “But it’s match play, I have to think she’s making it so I had to make that putt. It was a swinger, so those are definitely the harder putts to make, so I was just pumped.”

On the 15th, Smith hit her drive down the middle, but hit one club two much as it flew the green, leaving her a difficult chip back toward the hole. Schernecker was able to two-putt her way to win the hole, bringing the match to a 3-up dormie. On the par-5 16th, Smith laid up short in the fairway before the creek, and Schernecker topped a hybrid into the rough in front. Schernecker had a shot at birdie but it missed, giving the victory to Smith.

Morgan Smith strokes a putt during the semifinals of the Mass Women’s Amateur. (David Colt)

 

2-Rebecca Skoler (Pine Brook Country Club) vs. 6-Emma Abramson (The Ridge Club), 1-up

Every time Rebecca Skoler tried to pull away, Emma Abramson found a way to claw herself back in it. Skoler got up-and-down from the left rough for birdie to take a 1-up lead at the turn and then went up 2-up with another birdie on the 13th.

On the 14th, Abramson fought her way back with a pair of 10-foot birdie putts on the 14th and 15th to tie the match, bringing it down to a showdown over the final three holes. Despite finding the fescue on the 16th, Abramson had a nice punch out into the fairway and then stuck her approach to about 5 feet and made it for birdie. Skoler then got up-and-down from in front of the green to earn a birdie herself.

Both players erred on the par-3 17th, which was playing downwind. Abramson missed far left, and her chip rolled down to the far right side of the green. Skoler was directly behind the green, but she hit a beautiful flop shot to about a foot, which was conceded for a birdie.

“I’m super comfortable with that flop shot, and I felt really good over it,” Skoler said. “When the ball striking is a little all over place, it’s really nice to have so much trust in your short game and your putting, and just grinding there to save par, and maybe get some good kicks and a few birdies.”

The drama didn’t end there, as Skoler’s tee shot on the par-4 18th sailed into the penalty area on the right lined with bushes, while Abramson was in the left rough. Skoler took a drop, and pulled a 3-hybrid. Her ball hit in front of the two-tiered green, rolled up toward the top shelf where the flagstick was located, and it sat for about a second before rolling back to the lower tier. Abramson’s approach shot sailed far right, leaving her a difficult chip, which rolled down to the left side of the green. Skoler then clinched the match with a difficult uphill putt to about 2 feet, and Abramson missed her putt to end it.

“I didn’t want to hit a fairway wood out of the rough,” Skoler said. “I took the 3-hybrid and got lucky. I hit a really great shot, it bounced up, so that was really nice.”

Rebecca Skoler hits her opening tee shot in her semifinal match Thursday at The Orchards Golf Club. (David Colt)

QUARTERFINAL RECAPS

1-Morgan Smith (Vesper Country Club) def. 8-Megan Buck (Thorny Lea GC), 3&2

A pair of early bogeys didn’t faze Morgan Smith as she dialed it in with birdies on the 3rd and 7th holes to move to 3-up at the turn and knock off the remaining mid-amateur player in the field. Despite missing the green on the 12th, Smith was able to save bogey and keep the lead at 2-up. An errant chip by Buck on the 15th helped put Smith 3-up, and she closed out the match by firing a dart into the 16th, and Buck missed the birdie putt to end it.

4-Catie Schernecker (The Country Club) def. 13-Piper Jordan (Boston Golf Club), 3&2

Despite losing the first two holes with bogies, Catie Schernecker rallied back to earn a return trip to the semifinals. Schernecker won the 4th and 5th holes and took the lead by winning the 8th. Piper Jordan, in her first quarterfinal appearance, tied the match with a clutch par on the 11th, but Schernecker birdied the 13th and won the 14th and closed the match out on the 16th.

2-Rebecca Skoler (Pine Brook Country Club) def. 7-Molly Smith (Vesper Country Club), 4&3

In a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal matchup, Rebecca Skoler came out on top this time by shooting 35 on the front nine, taking the lead with a par on the 8th and adding to it by winning the 10th and 11th with a clutch par putts. Molly Smith matched Skoler with birdies on the 12th and 13th, but Skoler closed it out by winning the 14th with a par.

6-Emma Abramson (The Ridge Club) def. 14-Tate Hadges (Thorny Lea Golf Club), 7&6

Emma Abramson led wire-to-wire, shooting an even-par 36 on the front nine that included a challenging made birdie putt on the 3rd and another from pin high on the 9th to put her 5-up at the turn. Tate Hadges, the Holy Cross rising senior, tied the 10th hole, but Abramson closed out the match by making par on the 11th and 12th.

WATCH: DAY 4 VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

NOTABLE

Here are some other tidbits from Day 4 at the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship. 

  • For the first time since 2018, none of the quarterfinal matches required all 18 holes to be played.
  • Morgan Smith grew up in Westford, the same town as World Golf Hall of Famer Pat Bradley. Coincidentally, Bradley won the 1972 Mass Women’s Amateur, 50 years ago at Worcester Country Club.
  • Morgan Smith hasn’t played the 17th or 18th holes since the stroke play rounds. She made par both times on the 17th and bogey and birdie on the 18th.
  • Rebecca Skoler faced all junior golfers (18 and younger) en route to the final: Rio Pearlstein, Keira Joshi, Molly Smith, and Emma Abramson.
  • Rebecca Skoler is trying to become the 10th person to win the Mass Women’s Amateur and Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy in the same year.
  • Emma Abramson, 16, was attempting to become the youngest person to win the Mass Women’s Amateur Championship. In 2002, Kelly Rob won the title just after turning 17.
  • One day after caddying for his sister Julia, James Imai caddied for Catie Schernecker, a member of The Country Club. Imai has been a caddy at TCC for the past two years.

QUOTABLE

  • “On the 15th earlier today, I hit my tee ball left, and this is when the match was getting down to the end with Megan [Buck]. She was pin-high in the rough, so I needed to made par, but I’m blocked by this tree. I said I’m going to club up, punch a 6-iron around the tree. I said, ‘Maddie, go over there, watch this shot, I don’t know where it’s going,’ and I hit it to about 20 feet. It clipped the tree a bit, but it was a really good shot. — Morgan Smith on her remarkable shot that helped her win her quarterfinal match against Megan Buck.
  • “She’s definitely more disappointed than me. I’d like to face Molly, but she’s still a competitor.” — Morgan Smith on not having the chance to face her younger sister Molly Smith in the Mass Women’s Amateur.
  • “She made a ton of putts today, so it was super fun. We had a great competition, and she’s such a sweet girl so we had a lot of fun. I had to keep sticking with it, try to stay positive and trust my game. I knew it was going to be a battle and that I was probably going to be playing 18 holes.” — Rebecca Skoler on playing Emma Abramson.
  • “She’s a great player, she’s had a great summer, so it should be fun.” — Rebecca Skoler on facing Morgan Smith in the final.

 

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