By Jim Sullivan
---- — Senior co-captain Brendan Crowther is the best golfer the Newburyport Clippers have ever seen; at least he was last week when he shot a school-record 40 points at Topsfield’s New Meadows Golf Club.
“I was 2-under par,” said Crowther. “So I knew I had a good day on my hands. But coming off the ninth hole, I didn’t think that I had the best. I’ve shot 38 before, but 40 is just a different feeling.”
One might think this 18-year-old has been sleeping and eating golf since he was in diapers, but nothing could be further from the truth. Until his freshman year at NHS, Crowther was all-baseball-all-the-time. But he found golf as a social opportunity, and then his life changed.
“I found that I like playing it more than baseball and hockey,” Crowther said of the gentlemen’s game. “It keeps me calm. I can just go out on the course at any time and clear my thoughts.”
Crowther made the golf team as a freshman, but things didn’t go quite as planned.
“In his freshman year, he kind of struggled,” Clippers coach Steve Malenfant said of his player. “What he needed was more confidence than anything else. Then he just kept working at the game. Meanwhile, he had stopped playing hockey and baseball and focused on golf. He became a better golfer in his sophomore year. Then in his junior year, he just came into his own.”
Not only did Crowther come into his own, he excelled, coming in first place in Eastern Mass. Division 3 North Championships, and eventually ended up coming in fourth in the state, shooting a 77.
“It was surreal,” Crowther said of the D3 State Finals. “I made it into the clubhouse, and I knew I had a good day. But when I started to see that my score still came up on the leaderboard when everyone else came in, I was speechless. But that’s what’s so good about golf; anyone can go out there and just light it up.”
“I’m not a fan of people focusing only on one sport,” said Malenfant. “But in his case, he probably made a great decision. Because he is golf, 24-7. He is someone who cares passionately about the game, and, more specifically, he cares about his game. He respects the game like he’s supposed to respect the game.”
Another impressive story from last season was the Clippers’ reversal of fortune, which saw the squad starting out 0-6 and ending up at 10-8, a testament to Crowther’s leadership as well as his fellow co-captains, Kyle Bushnell and Dylan McCloy.
“He carries the role of optimist with him,” said Malenfant. “And everyone within his family has always been positive. They are good folks. We have a very good relationship as a player and coach. I understand how he approaches the game. He pays attention to the details. He’s a terrific competitor. He keeps his composure. On the golf course, he has incredible poise. But what I find with him that is amazing is that you don’t know when he is doing well or when he is not doing well. Nothing changes. He doesn’t change his approach.”
“I don’t like to show my opponents how I’m feeling,” said Crowther. “I like to stay at an even level if I’m doing good or doing badly, to have the same thoughts every shot, because if you’re doing badly and you’re mad at yourself, you’re going to keep hitting bad shots.”
As the season gets going, Crowther is looking to make an impact not only for himself but for his team, which has gotten off to a hot 3-0 start.
“I want to go out with a title for our team,” said Crowther. “We have a great team. Everyone is always picking each other up. We always have confidence. The Clippers are sailing right now.”
Name: Brendan Crowther
Last year: Won individual Division 3 North championship.
This year: Broke school record (2-under par) with 40 points.