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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 9, 2010
Jess Madsen tees off and shoots low for Dutch varsity golf team
By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND For a 16-year-old girl, Jess Madsen spends a lot of time on a golf course. She aims high and shoots low.
Madsen, a junior at Guilderland High School, is spending her second year on the varsity golf team. She’s the only girl, but that doesn’t stop her from shooting lower than her male counterparts while teeing off from the same distance.
“Some of the guys are impressed, but they know I can shoot low,” said Madsen, who shot a team low round of 38 at home against Ballston Spa last Thursday. She followed that up with a 41 against Mohonasen on Tuesday. “Not that many people are surprised because plenty of women are coming up in golf,” she said.
Madsen was the Colonie Golf and Country Club Women’s champion in 2008 and 2009; Albany City champion in 2009; and the Northeastern New York PGA Player of the Year in 2009. She’s won close to 15 local tournaments over the last two years and sometimes travels out of state to compete.
During the first week in August, Madsen and her father, Kris, traveled to Fort Wayne, Ind. for the 35th Junior PGA Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club, a course that has hosted Professional Golf Association Tour events. Madsen shot an 87 on both days, but she was there for the experience.
“It felt like I was on a professional tour,” said Madsen. “I didn’t play very well, but it definitely improved my game. The course was extremely hard.”
Madsen told The Enterprise that Sycamore played at 6,400 yards, but it was more like 6,800 yards because it was “wet, tight, and had no rolls.”
“I had a lot of miss-hits,” said Madsen. “I knew that my scores weren’t going to be great because it was a tough situation. Hopefully, I’ll go back and do better next year.”
August was a busy month for Madsen The Bob Mix at Albany Country Club on Aug. 5, the Gazette Tournament on Aug 6, and the NENY PGA Junior Tour Championship at the Edison Club on Aug. 14, where she finished first with a score of 77. And on top of all that, tryouts for the Guilderland team.
“I’ve played a lot of golf in a short period of time,” said Madsen, who tries to get in five practice rounds per week.
Madsen has created a friendly rivalry with two other local female golfers, Bailey Cocca and Macy Raimo. The three players have been sharing tournament wins of late, but it wasn’t always like that.
“Last year, they would always beat me,” Madsen said. “But, now, I’ve made so many improvements. We’re out there playing to have fun and to make names for ourselves.”
Madsen started swinging clubs with her father at a young age and eventually got inspired by Ashley Prange, a player on the Futures Tour who was staying at Madsen’s house when she was 10 years old.
“There weren’t many girls playing golf in the area and I knew if I kept practicing I would get better and better,” Madsen said. “I ended up getting really into it and I don’t even know why. It was fun.”
Madsen has dreams of playing golf in college and in the Ladies Professional Golf Association, but “it’s getting tougher and tougher,” she said. “Women are getting a lot more financial support now. There aren’t as many openings.”
Currently, Madsen can drive the ball up to 230 yards and her lowest-ever score for 18 holes is a 73 at both Fox Run and Schenectady Municipal. Her lowest score for a nine- hole round is a 35.
What does Madsen focus on most when she’s playing a round? Usually, it’s course management and keeping the ball in the fairway. “I search for my best options,” she said. “I feel the course.”
Madsen has never made a hole-in-one, but she’s gotten close several times. “Once, I pulled my third shot right under a pine tree,” she said. “I punched out from 20 yards and it skipped up the green and into the hole.”
Golf isn’t Madsen’s only calling; she plays basketball and lacrosse, where she spends time in net as a goalie. But, if playing in the LPGA is a true goal, she’ll have to focus on just golf.
“It would take an incredible effort,” said Madsen, who travels to Tampa, Fla. on Friday for the Ryan Wells Memorial Junior Classic Tournament at the Innisbrook Resort. “I’ll have to get up and down.”