Colin Spencer of Mashpee, a junior golf champion with big PGA dreams

by | Sep 3, 2021 | PGA

He’s Colin, and he carries himself with the modest confidence that a champion deserves.

Morikawa? Well, sure, it certainly could be. After all, after winning the British Open in July, he is “Champeen Golfer of the Year”. But that would be Collin … with two l’s.

This Colin – Colin Spencer of Mashpee – also excelled in golf this summer by winning the Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship.

It’s not the historic Claret Jug that Morikawa was awarded, but the handsome Charles Mason Trophy is a fine piece of hardware, and Spencer’s trophy has a prominent place in his room.

At 18, the Mashpee Falcon Senior was enjoying a breakout summer season and stamping himself as a rising star in the game. Recruited from Division 1 colleges like Maryland and Connecticut, Spencer has a long-term dream of joining Morikawa on the PGA Tour.

Since May when he played in a tournament in Roanoke, Virginia, his first on the national stage, Spencer has shown the potential and maturity to reach lofty heights.

Brotherly love:Mashpee’s Colin and Jack Spencer share a love for golf and success

“My goals really haven’t changed. I want to play in college, definitely D-1, ”Spencer said while enjoying a quiet morning at Cummaquid Golf Club, where his father and trainer Steve is the boss.

“I’ve traveled a lot this summer, seen new places and played a lot of golf. They’re two of my favorite things, ”added the young Spencer. “If I could combine that, it would be a dream scenario.”

Colin Spencer chips on the green of the first hole while training in Quashnet Valley this week.  “My goals really haven't changed.  I want to play in college, definitely D-1, ”Spencer said.

Spencer’s most distinctive moment so far was the Massachusetts Junior Amateur championship game last month at the Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston.

He made it through the 36-hole qualifier in stroke play easily and finished fourth for the 16-player match play competition. He then went on to win four games, culminating in a 3-and-2 win over Pleasant Valley’s Jack Moy to claim the title in an event dated to 1914.

“It was fantastic. There were some long days (due to weather delays) but it was a great time,” he said.

Spencer’s crowning achievement, his first state championship, was not entirely unexpected. The building blocks were laid at the beginning of the season with strong performances in several tournaments.

  • In May, he teamed up with Cummaquid’s Aidan O’Donovan to finish fourth in the State Four-Ball.
  • At the beginning of June he made the cut at the prestigious Hornblower Invitational.
  • In late June, he qualified for the USGA Junior Amateur by scoring a 3 under par 69 at Quinnatisset CC in Thompson, Conn.
  • In July he was third and first substitute in the 36-hole qualification for the US amateur. After a shaky start – 4-over through five holes – he fought his way back with seven birdies to stay in the mix.
  • Spencer then went through two days of qualifying at the Massachusetts Amateur and survived a 10-man playoff to make it into match play.
  • At the US Junior in Pinehurst, NC, he opened with a straight par 72 before missing the cut for match play.
  • After the state youth triumph in early August, Spencer finished second in the New England Junior Amateur at Val Halla in Cumberland, Maine, a two-day, 54-hole tournament. He was under par on all three rounds, including a sparkling 7-under 64 that broke the 1993 course record. It also led Massachusetts to the team title.
  • He ended his summer season by finishing seventh at the GreatHorse Invitational in Hampden, Massachusetts.

Wiry 6-foot-1,165-pound Spencer credits his successful rise in the state scene, where he currently ranks second on the Massachusetts Golf Association’s Junior Player of the Year list, with a focused dedication to the game to.

“A lot of that is confidence,” said Spencer. “When I play well, I always think I can get better. And when I have a bad punch or hole, I’m pretty good at letting go of it and not getting mad. It doesn’t help you. I just try to do better with the next shot. ”

Steve Spencer cites the US amateur qualification on the Jones course at Pinehills, Plymouth as an example of his son’s maturity. He was Colin’s caddy for the 36-hole test and remembers doing a triple bogey on the fourth hole. This was followed by a bogey.

It's been a great summer golf for Colin Spencer of Mashpee, who trained here in the Quashnet Valley this week.

“He has over five holes of 4 and it could have been the end, but he played the next 31 holes 3 under par,” said Steve Spencer. “I was proud of that, certainly as his father, but also because it is part of golf.

“The game is full of bad jumps and frustrating things, but I’ve never seen anything like this affect Colin’s behavior. He’s always been like that. He’s still a child, he’s upset, but he can let it go. Without question his greatest strength as a player. He has the mental faculties of a much older person. ”

However, a level-headed, level-headed approach to a crazy game won’t be enough if you don’t also drive it long and straight, hit approach shots to the green, and putts.

In addition to golf, Colin Spencer played baseball, basketball, and soccer as a teenager, but was more drawn to golf in middle school. As a seventh grader he was at Falcon University. He gave up basketball after his sophomore year at Mashpee High and focused solely on the little ball.

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In the past year he has gained 25-30 pounds through a strength and conditioning program. He’s improved his club head speed by about eight mph to 110, which translates into an additional 25 yards from the tee, making his average drives 275 yards.

“I’m not the longest,” he said. “I think my strengths are hitting the ball and playing iron, where I hit a lot of greens. There are always things you can do better like wedges and distance control from 125-130 yards. The closer you get to the pin, the more putts you are likely to do. ”

So far, so good for the newly crowned national champion.

Now it’s back to school, his senior year at Mashpee, and his final run with his Falcon teammates including younger brother Jack who is also a good player.

Spencer finished runner-up in the Division 3 high school tournament in his sophomore year and lost in a championship playoff. Mashpee finished third as a team. Last year’s tournament was canceled by Covid-19, so a team and individual title would be a fitting exclamation point for his school career.

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The future is waiting and it looks bright for Spencer, but it will not be without challenges. He would like to study business administration and play golf in some capacity, ideally as a PGA Tour player.

The forest is full of double-digit handicaps. Hitting 80 is a success. Equal par or better puts you in an elite class. Cashing checks and making a living at the top golf level is a rare air, however, and requires scorecards with red numbers and birdies.

But at 18 you can see the stars and aim high.

“That’s sure to be a goal,” said Spencer, who admires Tour stars Morikawa and Jordan Spieth. “I know it’s an incredibly tough game. Lots of people can hit the ball well and all have shots, but what sets the good guys on the PGA Tour apart is their ability to get the ball into the hole simply better than anyone else.

“I definitely want to try to take my golf game as far as possible. I don’t know where that is, but I would hate to look back and be amazed. I want to give myself a chance and see what happens. ”

Contact Bill Higgins at [email protected]