Amesbury golf coach George Dodier remembers seeing Paddy Flahardy on the golf course seven or eight years ago.
It wasn’t long after Flahardy took to Amesbury Country Club’s course for the first time as a 5-year-old, and the elementary school student was already showing some potential.
“I remember seeing him on the course many years ago as a really small guy,” Dodier said. “He always loved golf, and I’d see him get better every year.”
Now an Amesbury freshman, Flahardy has helped lift the program into contention for a Cape Ann League Division 2 title. At 6-3, the Indians are one match behind Manchester Essex in the league standings. The two teams will face off Monday in Amesbury with first place at stake.
Amesbury’s turnaround — the team was 5-11 last fall — has been in large part due to the contributions of a freshman class led by Flahardy, who has played out of the No. 1 spot this season. Flahardy, who has a quote average over 28 through nine matches, outdueled Pentucket’s top player, Krystal Knight, on Monday. Yesterday was an off-day for Flahardy in Amesbury’s 165-143 loss to Triton. Flahardy had a season-low 22 points.
“He came to tryouts, and he just hit the ball straight,” Dodier said. “He has a really good short game. He’s learning to be at the varsity level, but he’s very consistent. He’d score 26 to 30 points every day in practice, and he’s followed through in all of the matches.”
At 5-foot-6, Flahardy doesn’t rely on power to average a 3-over-par 38 for nine holes. He hits the ball less than 250 yards off the tee, but he gains strokes on his opponents around the greens. This summer, he won the Amesbury Country Club Junior Championship just before tryouts for Amesbury High.
“I’ve heard high school teams are mostly led by seniors and juniors, but almost half of our team is freshmen,” Flahardy said. “As long as I’m consistent and help the team, that’s all that matters.”
Fellow Amesbury freshman Kyle Patterson is also making a key contribution. He scored 25 points in yesterday’s loss playing out of the No. 4 spot.
Dodier believes his freshmen may lay the foundation for a run of success in the Amesbury program.
“Paddy is kind of quiet, but he’s always focused,” Dodier said. “He comes in from playing a round, and he gets in putting practice. He’s one of those kids who is a student of the game. He’s aware of everything around him. I’m impressed with him as a young man, and happy we’ll have him in the program for a while.”
Although he still has plenty of time to ponder his future plans, Flahardy has set a goal to earn a golf scholarship to college. His top choice at the moment is Stanford University.
“It’s a huge golf school, and a really good school,” Flahardy said. “I really like the difference of playing on a team since I’ve been at Amesbury. Every shot matters, but if you don’t do well, it might not always hurt you because you have your team to back you up.”