The Scituate boys' golf team is muddling its way through another season in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's tough Patriot League. Heading down the stretch of league competition, the Sailors have cobbled together a 5-7 record, good enough to remain in contention for the Patriot League crown. Yet the golfer who competes in the team's No. 1 slot consistently earns plaudits from opposing coaches regardless of team results, for two main reasons: That star is a she, and she routinely beats other teams' best male competitors.
According to the Boston Globe's Patrick McHugh, the top golfer on Scituate's boys' golf team is Mary Mulcahy, a 16-year-old junior at the school who has competed with the boys for all three years of her high school career. Mulcahy is allowed to compete with the boys' team so long as she hits off the same tees they do. She's never had a problem with that, and after starting as just another golfer on Scituate's varsity squad as a freshman, the junior is now the school's top golfer.
Mulcahy has also racked up a very impressive set of achievements within the past six months. She won the MIAA State Individual Girls championship as a sophomore in May, doing so by a massive five strokes. Mulcahy then followed that up by reaching the round of 16 in a prestigious Massachusetts amateur tournament in August.
“Whenever I was little I would always just go out with my dad at night and go to the course,’’ Mulcahy told the Globe. “I’ve been playing since I was old enough to swing a club.’’
This fall, she's left a major impression with some of her toughest opponents, including the state's reigning individual boys' champion.
"Mary is a really good golfer," Hanover senior Matt Montt, who won the 2009 state title as a sophomore, told the Globe. "It's fun to play against her because if you want to beat her you have to raise your game. She's one of the best in the state."
Mulcahy was first seen by her high school coach Gerry Chisholm as an eighth grader, and the Scituate coach said he instantly recognized her ability. Considering the fact that Chisholm previously played against both Mulcahy's father and grandfather, he wasn't surprised by her impressive swing, either.
"I saw her swinging the golf club and I looked twice," Chisholm told the Globe. "I thought, ‘Wow. There's a young lady with a golf swing.' ...
"I think her best asset is her mental ability to be able to control her emotions on the golf course. To be able to manage her golf game and know when to try and hit it hard or when to lay up. She has the mental ability to manage her golf game very well for a kid her age."
Despite all Mulcahy's success, Chisholm and others say that her most impressive trait is a deep commitment to sportsmanship. The junior is the reigning Patriot League Sportsmanship Award winner, proving she can walk the delicate tightrope of beating boys her age while impressing them with fairness to the point that they can't even be bitter about it.
The Globe's McHugh pointed out one particularly impressive moment of sportsmanship in his article:
Chisholm recalled how Mulcahy stopped a competitor from clearing a bunker, which would have necessitated a two-stroke penalty. She cleared the bunker herself instead.
"It's examples like that which show why she was voted the Patriot League's Sportsmanship Award," Chisholm said. "Think about that: She's playing with a bunch of boys and she's beating them and she's still voted to have the best sportsmanship in the league. That speaks volumes about her as a person."
Mulcalhy hasn't picked a college destination yet -- she said she's currently most interested in South Carolina and definitely wants to compete in the South -- but is not in a hurry to make a commitment. Not surprisingly, Mulcahy doesn't want her college choice distracting her from current goals in the game. With that commitment and what she's achieved behind her, Scituate's star is bound to find a successful home at the next level, no matter where she goes.