FLANDERS _ Mary Cate McGlone texted her mother, Catherine, shortly after completing her nine-hole round at the Morris County Girls Golf Championship with a 12-foot putt for par.
I shot a 44. I might win.
It didn't take long for the elder McGlone, who was at work, to respond.
Wowzer! You're a winner either way. Love you.
McGlone's 44, as it turned out, put her atop the 41-player field competing on the blue course at Flanders Valley Golf Course. The title was the first for McGlone, a junior at Villa Walsh. She was extremely proud of her achievement, which was the result of exceptional putting and on-target approach shots.
"This is just great," McGlone said. "It's so exciting. I'm honored to win this."
Last year's champion, Christi Conroy of Morris Knolls, was one of three players with a 46 and was fourth after a match of cards. In second and third place, respectively, were Caroline Fischbach and Lindsay Perrin of Mendham. Rayne Yelinko of Morris Tech fired a 47 and was fifth. Montville's Pooja Shetty (48) and Emily Cheng (49) were sixth and seventh.
McGlone revealed that staying out of the bunkers was another key to her victory.
"I wasn't in them at all," said McGlone, who lives in Boonton. "That really helped my confidence."
McGlone began playing golf at the age of 7 and refined her skills, her putting in particular, at Rockaway River Country Club. She recalls taking to the course every Sunday with her mother and her father, Joseph.
"My parents aren't super serious about golf," McGlone said. "I think they play for fun and to be outside when the weather gets nice."
She was in the junior program, which was run by club pro Greg Baker, at RRCC. Also in the program were Conroy and Renee Monaco, another Morris Knolls golfer. Both were delighted for McGlone. Villa Walsh coach Mark Yannotta praised McGlone, who finished eighth in 2017.
"Mary Cate has experience," Yannotta said. "It was her day, a perfect day. She made a few putts here and there. Golf is a funny game. Mary Cate has been improving despite the weather."
McGlone considered the par-5 fifth hole, her last hole, her best. She hit her tee shot into the rough on the right side before using a hybrid to launch a 170-yard second shot. She left a 35-foot putt, uphill with a break, 12 feet short. McGlone then sank the ensuing putt for par, congratulated those in her group and contacted her mom.
"I had a good finish," McGlone said. "I was standing over the putt and I told myself 'Make this and you have a chance.'"
Her round was a steady one and featured three pars. McGlone had a double bogey on a par 5 after driving her ball into the woods and having to punch out.
Of course, McGlone is accustomed to overcoming adversity due to her year-round participation in sports. A middle hitter for the volleyball team, she led the Vikings in kills. In basketball, her favorite sport, she averaged 9.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks last winter.
McGlone may have benefitted from strong putting but Conroy was the opposite. The Golden Eagles senior bemoaned her effort on the greens.
"I didn't putt well," Conroy said. "My drives were pretty good. Maybe I could have put some of my chips closer."
The hole that will haunt her is No. 7, which she reached in three shots. However, she four putted. She left a 30-foot putt 10 feet short then sent the ball past the hole.
Morris County Girls Golf Championship Results
Mary Kate McGlone, Villa Walsh 44
Caroline Fischbach, Mendham 46
Lindsay Perrin, Mendham 46
Christi Conroy, Morris Knolls 46
Rayne Yelinko, Morris Tech 47
Pooja Shetty, Montville 48
Emily Cheng, Montville 49
Marina Hussain, Kinnelon 50
Heather Ivans, Chatham 52
Alexandra Artigliere, Madison 53
Ellie Ackerman, Villa Walsh 54
Renee Monaco, Morris Knolls 55
Tessa Reilly, Villa Walsh 56
Emma Wright, Parsippany 57
Holly Padko, Pequannock 57
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