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For Georgetown Prep's Denny McCarthy, the 'sky's the limit' on the links.

August 25, 2010
Georgetown Prep

During a recent practice round, Denny McCarthy made birdie on nine of the holes he played. He nearly had his first career hole-in-one, when his nine-iron hit the pin on the fly.

But the only time McCarthy got excited to see where his shot was headed was when he bombed his drive through the fairway and behind a line of trees, which required the three-time All-Met from Georgetown Prep to play like a regular hack.

"I've got this shot," McCarthy said confidently.

He then punched his ball back into the fairway, chipped to within 15 feet and rolled in the par putt.

It was a rare occasion that McCarthy found trouble on the golf course this summer. The 17-year-old has put together one of the finest seasons ever for a Washington-area junior golfer. Monday morning, he will tee off in the 110th U.S. Amateur Championship at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

"I feel he has accomplished more than anyone else has coming through," said former DeMatha golf coach Ben Spotts, who still follows local junior golf. "He looks like a pro - his mannerisms, his approach to the game. There is a certain swagger, just something different I see about him from the other kids." 

McCarthy, the All-Met Player of the Year last spring, won the Maryland Junior Open and the Maryland Open. He advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, losing in a sudden-death playoff. Then he won the Junior PGA Championship, earning a berth on the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team that will play next month in Scotland.

He followed that by shooting a staggering 63-65-128 to finish 14 under par and easily place first in the Williamson Cup, a junior team tournament in Essex, Ontario. McCarthy birdied 16 of the event's 36 holes.

And that practice round with the par save? McCarthy finished with a 9-under 62, tying the course record at Argyle Country Club, which was set by longtime pro Peter Jacobsen.

"Yeah, I'm playing well, but the summer isn't over," McCarthy said. "I can make it a special summer. But that's talk. I have to go out and do it."

So far, McCarthy has made things look easy. His game is not terribly flashy. At 5 feet 9, he's not the longest hitter off the tee, but he hits a driver plenty far. He then grooves precision-like iron shots and takes advantage of opportunities with his short game.

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