Ladies First: Payton Smith first Lancer Lady golfer to win counties

Payton Smith putts a golf ball at a match.

courtesy of Natalie Smith

Payton Smith putts a golf ball at a match.

by Emily Webb, Reporter

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Sophomore Payton Smith has just made history as the first female golfer from Linganore to win the female title for the Frederick County Golf Championships alongside the men’s champion, Sam Driscoll of Walkersville High School.

Smith has golfing in her blood, as her brother, father and grandparents are golfers. She started playing competitively last year. Her family lives near the Holly Hills golf course, so she grew up around the sport.

“Starting golf competitively in high school was a little scary because I had never done it before, but I had my older brother, Cam Smith, on the team with me so that eased my nerves a bit. I was also the only girl on the team last year, so it was a different dynamic than I had expected,” said Smith.

According to Payton, controlling emotions in a golf match is crucial. “I really struggle keeping calm because I get frustrated easily, but I’ve been learning how to not let things get to me. My teammates and coaches are always telling me to calm down and to stay loose.”

That’s exactly what she did at the 2017 Frederick County Golf Championships. Scoring a 78, only 6 over par for the 18 hole course, she took home not only the championship, but the title of the first female from Linganore to win it.

“Winning the champs was so humbling. It really makes you appreciate everyone who gets you to where you are. It was one of the best feelings I’ve had so far in my life,” said Smith.

Payton’s father, Blaine Smith, said, “We are so proud of our daughter as her hard work and determination to constantly improve came to reality. She can accomplish amazing things when she believes in herself, and we are so excited for what the future holds for her and her passion for golf.”

Teammate Ryan McFadden said, ”I was so proud of her for accomplishing what she did. It’s really great to see her improvements from last year to this year.”

Although golf is an individual sport, Smith says that team bonding is important to her success.

Before a match, the teammates hype each other up by listening to Van Halen and other rock music to settle their nerves.

It’s this and other fun rituals that Smith say made this season a memorable one.

”It’s really cool having one of my best friends on the team. We are always making jokes and just trying to keep it fun. It has been a great season,” said McFadden.

For anyone who wants to try golf, Smith says, “Go for it! It’s the sport that everyone regrets not playing. You can play it your whole life because it’s a business sport. It’s honestly one of the best sports, it’s so much fun and it has taught me a lot.”

Although the season is almost over, Smith hopes to continue to improve and come back next season better than ever.

“My goals for the 2018 season are to make it to the second day of states and to come back and win counties again,” said Smith.

“I’m looking forward to competitions in the next two years, I’m beyond excited.”

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