Kennedy and McCarthy Lang continued a brotherly tradition by playing golf for Niagara County Community College. This week, they led the way among the first group of players participating in the NJCAA Division III Championships.
Following the fairways of the Hogan and Murphy brothers to represent NCCC at the National Tournament, the Lang sisters teeed off today at Chautauqua Golf Course, joining regional champion Thunderwolves men’s team in the 72-hole event.
“I’m really excited,” Kennedy said. “It’s a great experience that I never thought I could have.”
Kennedy began playing competitive golf in her sophomore year at the NCCC, after being a varsity athlete in track and field, cross country and swimming for Royalton-Hartland. She learned the game in the family backyard and grew up around the Willowbrook golf course, where she now works in the pro shop, and regained her interest through her friendship with Buffalo District Golf Association champion Anthony Delisanti. of Niagara Wheatfield who qualified for the NCAA. Tournament DI by winning the Missouri Valley Conference title as a rookie in Valparaiso.
“She used to joke about playing golf and fighting me, but I never thought she would actually do it,” said McCarthy, a graduating Niagara-Orléans League golf star. his freshman year at NCCC working in the pro shop at Shelfridge Country Club. “Since she started working at Willowbrook and talking to Anthony, she’s been working hard on her game.”
“It’s been an amazing experience playing with her this year,” McCarthy said.
“We have a lot of fun playing together,” added Kennedy. “Having Mac on the team helps a lot because she played in high school and this is my first time playing competitive golf.”
After playing for her father Mike Lang at Roy-Hart, McCarthy committed to St. John Fisher last summer but remained unsure of her college career. The opportunity to team up with her sister and the positive experience her brothers had playing for coach Matt Oleski drew her to the NCCC.
Grandchildren of National Wrestling Hall of Fame coach Dick Lang, older brother Hogan was the first to join the NCCC team en route to playing DI golf for North Carolina Central. Hogan helped the Thunderwolves win their first of three consecutive Region III championships in 2019, alongside medalist Murphy, who returned for another regional triumph last year before moving to NAIA Montreat (NC). Murphy is now a professional assistant at Willowbrook. Another brother, Madigan, played for the NCCC for the fall semester in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the spring season.
“They’re a wonderful family that I’ve come to know very well,” Oleski said. “Hogan still holds our men’s low round at nationals. He and Murphy helped break a 51-year drought by winning a regional title. And now Kennedy and Mac wrap up the Lang legacy here at NCCC.
McCarthy was a medalist in three events in her freshman season, and Kennedy used home course advantage at Willowbrook to medal at the NCCC tournament. Both played well enough for Oleski to enter them into the National Open Tournament.
Oleski pushed the NJCAA to add an open event for female golfers, arguing that the qualifying standards for the DI/D-II tournament in Florida were too difficult for a player from the Northeast to meet.
“The yardage benchmarks come from courses in hot states where they get 60 or 70 yards of roll,” Oleski said. “Here in April, we get negative roll and the ball clogs up. It’s physically impossible to play those distances.
The Lang sisters are one of six golfers on the course. At last month’s regional tournament in Chautauqua, Kennedy shot 195 over 36 holes and McCarthy shot a 196.
With five entrants in the NJCAA D-III men’s 75-tournament field, the Thunderwolves are poised to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish after an undefeated season and a dominating regional tournament. This included medalist Sean Barrett who shot a par 71 from 1 under to highlight a team score (76.6 average) that was the lowest at the event in over a decade.
“We shot really well in regionals,” Oleski said. “If we’re able to shoot those scores again…I think we’ll be there in contention for the final groups at the Nationals.”