With precise putting in his final holes, Alex Smyth ’24 nearly completed a match-changing comeback for Andover Golf against Phillips Exeter Academy as both teams gathered to watch. Playing at home at the Indian Ridge Country Club, Andover was defeated 2-6. The team is now 2-4.
According to Head Coach Brian Faulk ’00, there were numerous standout performances on the team that made for a competitive match.
“Angela Chen [’23] and Nolan Sun [’21] both won their matches. Angela had a great comeback from one down with four holes left to win on the last hole. Alex Smyth [’24] also rallied from three down but lost when his opponent made a birdie on the last hole. I would say Nolan and Angela’s wins were highlights. Nolan had a very impressive win in the eighth spot and Angela’s rally was needed to secure an additional point heading into the last leg of the Lovell Cup next weekend at Exeter,” wrote Faulk in an email to The Phillipian.
According to Co-Captain Griffin Hout ’21, Smyth’s play was a highlight of the match as all of the attention from both teams was on him during the last hole. Despite suffering a loss, Smyth demonstrated an ability to golf in a very high-pressure atmosphere.
“Our [Junior] Alex Smyth played really well. He was playing in the two spot. I think he was even par for 14 or 15 holes. His match was pretty intense. Near the 17th and 18th holes, our entire team and Exeter’s entire team were watching just that match between Alex and his opponent from Exeter. It was really intense but really exciting to watch. Alex eventually lost to a birdie on the last hole, but he played really great under a lot of pressure,” said Hout.
According to Co-Captain Kyle Simard ’21, the culminating match was most notable from the day even though it was a loss for Andover. He noted that the effort shown by Smyth will push the whole team to reach its full potential next week as Andover will face off against Exeter again.
“I will say Alex made a great comeback which is great news and really impressive, especially when we are going into playing Exeter next week. Ending with that, the team was motivated and this will be beneficial going into next week when we play them again,” said Simard.
Hout described the intensity of the match as the team squared off against its rival. He noted that the competitive environment was vastly different from any other match played this season.
“There is obviously a long history between Andover and Exeter, but especially in the last couple holes when we were all watching Alex at the end, [the match] had a different feel to it than any other match we have played this year. It was a really intense environment and that is what you get when you play Exeter,” Hout said.
As the team has its final match of the season on the horizon, Simard described the significance of his last match as an Andover golfer and his mentality going into it. He mentioned that the next match will be more competitive than any other this season as he is motivated by the historic rivalry.
“I am just going to try to enjoy my last match as an Andover golfer. I want to go out there and enjoy it and not think too much about it ending. I am going to be sad about it, but I am really excited to play and it will be a fun match. I am not too worried about it getting in the way of my playing, but I am excited to be out there playing and hopefully get [revenge on] Exeter. At the end of the day, I want to win every match, but the fact that it is Exeter mkes it mean a little bit more. It is one of the oldest rivalries in high school sports,” said Simard.
Andover will face off against Exeter away this Saturday.