Smith leads the way on links for Strasburg

By Tommy Keeler Jr.

When Strasburg coach Jordan Hardy was looking for a leader for his golf team this season, he knew exactly who to turn to — No. 1 player Jacob Smith.

Smith, a senior, always gave Hardy what he was looking for in a leader.

“He was a guy who leads by example. He’s out working on his game, he’s shooting good scores,” Hardy said. “But he also has fun when he plays. I think that’s important, to keep guys loose when you play. He keeps guys loose and he makes sure the game is fun. He has a good time when he plays, and that’s been beneficial especially on the young guys because it’s easy for them to get real tense and not score and everything else. He enjoys the game and he leads by example.

“You can tell that he really loves golf, and to have somebody like that really lead by example, the other guys fall right after him in his footsteps. So he’s been a good leader, and I’m proud of him.”

Smith’s season came to an end on Monday, but he had a strong year for the Rams. Perhaps the highlight of his season came last week at the Conference 35 tournament at Heritage Oaks Golf Course.

Smith shot a 73, despite struggling on his first nine holes. He shot a 39 on the front nine, but responded with a 34 on the back nine to finish second overall.

For his performance, Smith earned The Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for Sept. 28-Oct. 4.

“I played well last week. I hit the ball real well. I putted real well last week,” Smith said. “I had a very good back nine.”

Smith’s round helped lead the Rams to the Conference 35 title.

“It’s all about the team, so it felt good to help the team win,” Smith said.

Smith said he began playing golf when he was 8 years old, and played a lot with his father. He said he’s been hooked on the game ever since.

Smith said his favorite thing to do is chip and his short game is one of his biggest strengths on the golf course.

Hardy said Smith’s confidence is also one of his best assets on the course.

“He knows he can shoot a good number,” Hardy said. “Last week he can go out on a not so good nine, and he knows on the back nine I’m going to get a couple back. He just knows because he’s good — he has confidence. I think for a kid like him, he doesn’t hit the ball a long ways, he’s not real flashy in terms of a golf game, you have to be confident. He has that bulldog mentality, and that serves him well in his golf game.”

Smith said he tries to play at least once a week in the winter, and five times a week when it’s warm enough. Hardy said he also has a great work ethic.

“He works hard,” Hardy said. “His work ethic has been there from the beginning. That’s to his credit. He has a real desire to get better.”

That work ethic helped Smith to a very good season for the Rams. Even though it came to an end on Monday in the Region 2A East tournament, where Smith shot an 80, Smith and the Rams had a lot to be proud about this year.

“It all clicked senior year,” Smith said. “I was pretty happy with how I played in most of my matches. I feel like I had a pretty good year.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com