Skoler Victorious In Classic Final Match At 120th Massachusetts Women's Amateur Championship - MASSGOLF

Rebecca Skoler Outlasts Molly Smith With Outstanding Short Game At Dedham Country & Polo Club

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2023

DEDHAM, Massachusetts – This time Rebecca Skoler isn’t leaving the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship disappointed nor is she returning to her University of Virginia campus empty-handed. One year after a crushing final match loss that went the distance, the Needham native came all the way back this year and finished the job she has set out for since she was a teenager.

With a short game that was dialed in from start to finish, Skoler never trailed against Westford teen Molly Smith on Friday, and with a pair of clutch par puts on holes 16 and 17 hoisted the trophy for the first time.

“It’s awesome, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said Skoler, 21, after her thrilling 2&1 victory Friday at Dedham Country & Polo Club. “It was special being so close to home. I came into the week with little expectations. I didn’t know where my game was in tournament play.”

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While Smith was the one who put pressure on most of her opponents during match play, it was Skoler who jumped on the lead from the beginning. She made birdie on the first hole and held on until the 5th when she was stuck short-sided in a bunker. The match was tied through six holes when players were called off the course for inclement weather.

The delay didn’t seem to bother Skoler as she retook the lead on the 8th hole by sinking a 40-foot putt reminiscent of her winning put against Mya Murphy in the quarterfinals.

“I knew Molly wasn’t going to put up an easy fight,” Skoler said. “Even when I won the first hole I was like ‘This is a long day, so you can never get ahead of yourself, and I think that’s what kept me mentally there.”

Smith pumped her first when she made a long birdie putt on the 10th after both players hit their approach shots to the front of the green, with the flagstick resting in the back.

Tied on the 12th, the sun began to emerge and heat the course, just in time for Skoler to do the same with her short game.

After hitting into the left rough on the downhill par-3 12th, Skoler hit a nice chip to about 12 feet and buried it to keep it tied. Skoler’s execution on the next two holes helped turn the tide. Despite hitting into the fairway bunker, which forced her to lay up short of the green, Skoler hit her wedge inside five feet to a middle pin guarded by a large greenside bunker. On the 14th, with its Biarritz green, Skoler hit her tee shot pin high left and made birdie to regain the lead.

“I really struggled with my ball striking the last few years, so I had to rely on my putting and short game,” Skoler said. “I practice it a lot because I know that’s going to be the difference in me playing well or not, so I felt comfortable over those [shots.]”

Smith rallied back by crushing her tee shot down the middle of the 15th, the Road hole (a nod to the famous 17th hole at St. Andrew’s), and made a birdie to bring the match back to even. But it wouldn’t stick for long. Though both were in the fairway on the 16th, Skoler’s shot rolled off the front left but rested on the fringe. Hitting second, Smith missed the green entirely to the left and couldn’t get up-and-down to save par. Skoler, meanwhile had a kick-in par putt to bring it to 1-up heading to the par-3 17th.

“That was the best iron I hit all day,” Skoler said, talking about her approach into the 16th. “A two-putt there was probably going to be good there for the push. A birdie would’ve been nice, but I was trying to get that one as close as possible.”

Rebecca Skoler sinks the winning putt on the 17th hole Friday at Dedham Country & Polo Club. (David Colt)

On 17, once again, Skoler found herself in an unfavorable position as her ball kicked down into the greenside bunker. Smith flushed a beautiful iron shot that took an unlucky bounce over the green. Trusting herself and her practice, Skoler left her bunker shot within makable distance, and once Smith was unable to save par, Skoler stepped up and sank the biggest putt of her life, and was greeted with a bearhug from her father and caddy, Mike Skoler.

“I felt comfortable with my reads this week,” Skoler said when discussing the 17th hole. “The last bunker shot, I was hoping that it would release a bit, but I had been putting great all day, so I had a lot of confidence there, and I just kind of blacked out there.”

Friday’s final match brought the end to Smith’s highly-accomplished junior golf tenure, as she will head to the University of Central Florida in the fall. However, she still earned medalist honors and a career-best finish in this event.

“I didn’t bring the A-game,” Smith said afterward. “When you’re playing deep into an event like this, you have to progressively get better in your matches because the players get better and better as you move on. Overall, I feel like I played some good golf this week.”

Molly Smith hits her third shot on the par-5 6th at Dedham Country & Polo Club. (David Colt)


Rebecca Skoler
Hometown: Needham, MA
Instagram: @rebeccaskoler

  • 2023 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Champion
  • Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play for the Baker Trophy Champion (2021, 2022)
  • Massachusetts Girls’ Junior Amateur Champion (2018, 2020)
  • Runner-Up At 2022 Mass Women’s Amateur; Stroke Play Medalist in 2021 (lost in quarterfinals)
  • Rising senior at the University of Virginia
  • Belongs to Pine Brook Country Club in Weston
  • Competed in 2022 R&A Women’s Amateur in Hunstanton, England

Stroke Play: 79-75–154 (T9)
R32: Def. Jillian Barend, 2&1
R16: Def. Clara Chae, 3&2
Quarterfinals: Def. Mya Murphy 3&2
Semifinals: Def. Morgan Smith 2-up
Final: Def. Molly Smith, 2&1

Watch: Final Match Video Highlights


Here are some other tidbits from the final match at the Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship: 

  • There was a delay of over two hours through six holes due to a dangerous weather situation.
  • The 2024 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur Championship will take place next summer at Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown for the first time.
  • The winners of this year’s Massachusetts state amateur championships both finished runner-up in 2022. (Ryan Downes & Rebecca Skoler).
  • Brittany Altomare, an LPGA Tour player, and Skoler have both played for the University of Virginia. Skoler and Altomare each have won the Massachusetts Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy, but Altomare never won the Mass Women’s Amateur.
  • Skoler has now faced Molly Smith four times in match play in the Mass Women’s Amateur (2023, 2022 & 2021 & 2019). Ironically, Skoler’s lone loss in that series is when she was the stroke-play medalist in 2021 at Plymouth Country Club.
  • Smith only played the 18th hole twice (stroke play rounds) during the entire championship.
  • The last person to win the final match 2&1 was former Georgetown standout Jacquelyn Eleey in 2016 at GreatHorse.


  • The more you play out here, the more you realize you have similar reads. You know which way the putts are breaking by the end. This course is definitely hard. I think it’s a great match-play course. Having that comfort in match play helped me as well. — Rebecca Skoler, on adjusting to Dedham as the week progressed.
  • I had a ton of support on the live video. I think a lot of my teammates were watching, I see a ton of texts from them. I’m really excited to be back with them tomorrow. — Rebecca Skoler on the support from her college teammates on Friday.
  • I usually confirm the read or ask him, and he saw something else and I missed that one on 7, and he said I’m done reading the putts now, you got it. — Rebecca Skoler on reading greens during the final match.
  • I would say spending time with my family and friends. It’s great that I have two sisters who play well. I get to spend a lot of time. They’re my best friends. — Molly Smith reflecting on her final event as a junior golfer.


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