Local golfer playing less, enjoying it more

Sheedy (Sheedy, Carroll County Times)

After a frustrating title drought, golfer Ray Sheedy returned to the top of the leaderboard recently with a come-from-behind victory at the Mid-Amateur Championship of the Maryland State Golf Association.

"This Maryland Mid-Am was the first big win I've had since college," said the Francis Scott Key High School graduate.

Sheedy used a spectacular finish to win.

In the final round, Sheedy said he knew as he teed off on the 18th hole that he needed to eagle the par 5 to tie the leader. An eagle - completing a hole in two strokes under par - is rare. Sheedy said even very good golfers only make 5-10 eagles a year.

After hitting the first two shots on the 18th hole, Sheedy was set up for a 15-foot putt to force the championship to a playoff. With the leader watching from the side, Sheedy drained his putt for a 3, forcing a playoff.

"It was really sweet," said Sheedy.

Sheedy said he recalls feeling such a high during the playoff. On the first playoff hole, Sheedy lined up for a 20-foot birdie putt - and he knocked that in as well.

He said that coming into the last hole knowing he needed an eagle and then being able to hit the shot was a "huge confidence builder."

"It was by far one of the best finishes I've ever had in my golfing life," Sheedy said of his victory.

Sheedy also played well in other state events this summer, finishing second in the Metropolitan Open and 10th in the Amateur Public Links. He is sixth in the MSGA points standings.

But Sheedy said he has his eyes on first place.

"I would love to win Maryland Player of the Year," he said.

In addition, Sheedy said he would like to win a US Championship like the US Mid-Amateur.

"If you win that, you get to play in the Masters and the US Open," Sheedy said.

In order to keep himself in golfing shape to be able to win a title like the Maryland Mid-Amateur, Sheedy has had to learn what works for him.

While in college, Sheedy recalls playing golf around 40 hours a week. But today with a full-time job, Sheedy said "now I'm working 40 hours a week, sometimes more."

When asked how exactly he is able to stay so good at golf while juggling a job and family, Sheedy replied that he had to find a schedule. Sheedy said that when his wife works evenings or on the weekend, he gets the opportunity to play golf. Also, Sheedy said he sometimes is able to practice in the morning for 90 minutes before work.

"I feel like I'm very lucky that my wife's schedule is flexible," said the four-time Times all-countian. "It really is just trying to utilize your time better."

Even though he is unable to practice as much as he used to, Sheedy said, "it is enough to keep me half-way sharp."

To Sheedy, who plays in 10-12 tournaments per season, that makes his finish at the Maryland Mid-Amateur even more special.

After graduating from the University of UNC-Charlotte, Sheedy had the opportunity to turn pro, but he decided against it. And now more than four years after, he said of his choice, "I don't regret it."

"I doubt that I would have a lot of the things that I have, if I would have turned pro," he said.

Sheedy said he is content with his decision. He also said he has seen a lot of his former college teammates who turned pro after graduation now struggling financially and not seeming to not enjoy golf as much.

"When you have to do something as your job, it tends to take a lot of the fun out of things," said Sheedy, "When I basically gave up on going pro, I found that I really started to enjoy the game a lot more."