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Globe North sports

Golfing brothers aim high

Masconomet wins state title with a flourish

Charlie May (left) and his younger brother George are key players on the Masconomet Regional High School golf team, which won the Division 2 state championship. Charlie May (left) and his younger brother George are key players on the Masconomet Regional High School golf team, which won the Division 2 state championship. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
By Cat Calsolaro
Globe Correspondent / November 13, 2011

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Earlier this season, before a match against Lynnfield, George May, a freshman at Masconomet Regional, replaced his brother’s putter with that of another player. An innocent prank by a little brother.

He figured that Charlie, a junior, would discover the swap while warming up on the practice green. But when the Chieftains arrived at the course, there was no putting green.

Charlie had already started his round when he realized what had happened, said Masconomet coach Ben Hodges, in his eighth season. “It was a little stressful.’’

Charlie, the Chieftains’ No. 1 golfer, recalled that he was on the first hole, with a putt for birdie, “and I pulled out the club. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s not my putter.’ ’’

But because he teed off with that putter in his bag, he had to play through the rest of his round.

“Leave it to Charlie to still shoot 1-under,’’ said Hodges.

The same poised 16-year-old drained a 10-foot putt on the first playoff hole last Monday at Juniper Hill Golf Club in Northborough to clinch the Division 2 individual title, edging Jason Steele of Pentucket Regional. He also carded a 2-under 68 through 18 holes as Masconomet captured the team title with a four-stroke win over Hudson.

The May brothers each had breakout seasons in leading Masconomet to a 14-1-1 season and the first state title in program history.

“Since its my freshman year, it’s a really nice introduction to the team,’’ said 14-year-old George, who gave up soccer to commit to golf. “We knew that if we had a good day we would have a really good chance of winning.’’ He finished 13th overall at the state championship.

Hodges said he’s glad George chose golf, “because it would have been tough to win the states’’ without both brothers.

The Cape Ann League Large champions, Masconomet also won the Division 2 North title behind third- and fourth-place finishes from Charlie and George, respectively.

“It’s great that he’s playing so well,’’ said Charlie of his younger brother. “He’s been practicing a lot all summer. I knew he was capable of doing it.’’

Charlie, who placed 25th at last year’s state tournament, made great strides in his game too, surpassing senior Alex Kane for the top position this year.

“Alex is one of the best golfers to ever go through Masconomet,’’ said Hodges. “He is a motivator for Charlie and a good role model. Now Charlie has taken over the reins.’’

Kane and junior Zach Staub are the other two top scorers for the Chieftains.

Charlie and Kane also won the CAL Open Championship, a tournament in which two players from every team compete in a 6-hole scramble, best ball, and ultimate shot.

“I definitely looked up to [Kane] my freshman and sophomore years and he’s still a great player,’’ said Charlie. “He is probably the same kind of person [to me] as I am to George.’’

Charlie started playing the game at age 8, but not competitively until he was 14, with the US Challenge Cup and the New England PGA Junior Tour.

“I got two concussions when I was 13 so I had to stop playing hockey,’’ he said. “And that pushed me to start playing golf more because it’s a noncontact sport.’’

The Mays play out of Ferncroft Country Club in Danvers. Charlie was at the course at least five days per week last summer, and if he’s not teeing it up for 18 holes, he’s at the range, or working on his short game.

He plans to continue playing golf in college, “hopefully down South so I can practice year-round and work on my game.’’

Although Charlie sparked George’s interest in golf, the boys each have their own style of play.

“They have two distinct personalities but the results are very similar,’’ said Hodges.

“Charlie is a thinker out on the golf course. He always plays two or three shots ahead. And George has so much confidence when he hits the ball. You don’t see that a lot in young players.’’

George says that his favorite golfer is Rickie Fowler, the 2010 PGA Rookie of the Year. He’s an appropriate idol, considering their similarly laid-back styles of play.

“I go out and try to have a good time and not focus too much,’’ said George. “I’m not nervous or anything, so I can just play my own game.’’

With one more year together, Masconomet has an excellent shot at defending its state title. And perhaps the May brothers will be going head-to-head for individual honors.

Cat Calsolaro can be reached at catcalso@bu.edu.