2008-06-27 / Sports

Freshman Golfer Swings For The Stars

By Christine Cea

Scholars' Academy has within its walls more than academic scholars. The establishment also can boast about its athletes, among them, new rising golf star Xander McDonald-Smith.

McDonald-Smith, on June 2, 2008, became the New York City 2007-2008 PSAL Boys Varsity Golf Champion, beating out over twenty other golfers at Bethpage Golf Course on Long Island. What is most impressive, however, is that he is merely a freshman in high school, yet proving his skill rapidly.

"I didn't really know the age or the ability of the other players, so it was nice to just go in and play my own game," McDonald-Smith commented about the June 2 competition. He is nonchalant with his remarks, claiming that he was not extremely intimidated, particularly because last year he had won a different tournament on the same course.

McDonald-Smith began his golf career at the age of eleven, when his grandfather, a scratch golfer, would bring him to the course and teach him different strokes. He is now under the guidance of his coach at Scholars'Academy, Dan Stiglitz.

"Xander made an impression the first night hitting straight shots with his natural swing," says Stiglitz. His skill was evident, and Stiglitz remarks that he is proud to have been able to coach him and glad that the young athlete will have the opportunity to utilize Scholars' to maximize his potential.

In addition to Stiglitz, McDonald-Smith also works with other golfers. He is part of The First Tee, a non-profit organization with over two million participants that strives to build golfing skills and character.

McDonald-Smith works with mentors at Eisenhower Park Golf Course, and at Brooklyn Golf Center to enhance his skills. In addition, he is involved with The First Tee located in Brooklyn where he helps younger kids learn the game.

Due to his city-wide win on June 2, he was able to advance to a state-wide competition on June 8. It was held in Elmira, New York and he tied for 10th place, shooting a score of 81. And the summer brings more competition and excitement for him: an AJGA tournament, a MetPGA tournament and other first tee tournaments. When asked if golf is simply a hobby or a possible career goal, McDonald-Smith claims, "I would love to be a professional golfer. I think it could be a great goal to work for."

Ambition is also apparent in the young freshmen, as well as a pure love for the game. "I really do love the competition."

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