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    Friday, August 12, 2022

    The Day's All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year: East Lyme's Sarah Healy

    East Lyme High School senior Sarah Healy was named The Day's 2022 All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year. Healy shot a personal-best 41 to win the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship on June 2 at Quinnatisset Country Club in Thompson. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

    Looking for a spring sport to play as a freshman at East Lyme High School, Sarah Healy told her grandmother that she wanted to play golf.

    "Next thing I knew there were golf clubs sitting in my living room," Healy said.

    Thanks to her generous grandmother who gave her the clubs, Healy embarked on a high school golf career that she capped off by winning the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship individual title earlier this month at Quinnatisset Country Club in Thompson.

    Healy, who is The Day's first All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year, fired a five-over 41, four strokes better than her previous best, to win the ECC championship. She was a first team ECC all-star and played at No. 1 for the Vikings.

    While Healy said she never saw a 41 coming, calling it a lucky day, her coach, Ted Hespeler did.

    "I knew she had it in her," Hespeler said. "She shot in the mid-40s several times. I wasn't shocked at all. She did everything well. She was just dialed in. ... Shooting that well to only have been playing for essentially three years — she lost a year due to COVID — it's unbelievable. I can't even shoot in the low 40s now and I've been playing for 30 years."

    So why did Healy decide to play golf?

    Healy said she was always drawn to the sport.

    "I went golfing once with my uncle when I was in seventh grade," Healy said. "And I always had this weird thing for it. Then one of my friends said, 'I'm playing golf.' So I was like, 'Might as well.' ... I liked the concept of it. There's no running, so that was nice."

    Healy, who comes from an athletic family and has three sisters, including her twin Meredith, was a natural at the sport from the start.

    There's nothing fancy about Healy's game. She's steady, consistent and regularly keeps the ball in the fairway.

    She also remains relatively calm and cool on the course.

    "She's a great kid," Hespeler said. "She's the type of kid that you want on your team. You look at her, you don't know if she's losing by 20 strokes or winning by 20 strokes. Every time I walk up to her on the course and ask her how she is doing, she says, 'I'm doing OK.'

    "The only time I ever saw any kind of smile from her was the ECC championship where she shot a 41."

    A pretty darn good score for someone who rarely plays golf during the offseason and shows up at the season's first practice cold.

    "I usually just jump in in the spring and hope it goes well," Healy said.

    While Healy's competitive golf days are over, she hopes to occasionally play for fun.

    Field hockey is Healy's favorite sport. She earned a spot on The Day's All-Area team. She plans to play at Springfield College this fall, while her sister Meredith will be a member of Springfield's women's soccer team.

    "I'm excited to be part of a new team and hopefully make an impact," Healy said.

    To get ready for her first college season, Healy is going to work out with her sisters. She will also work as a sailing instructor at Niantic Bay Yacht Club.

    "My two older sisters played field hockey in high school, so I'm just going to have to drag them out to the turf with me," Healy said.

    She'll major in physical education at Springfield and plans to be a PE teacher.

    "That's going to fit her well," Hespeler said.

    g.keefe@theday.com

    East Lyme senior Sarah Healy is The Day's inaugural All-Area Girls' Golfer of the Year. Healy is an All-ECC selection in golf and field hockey and will play field hockey beginning in the fall at Springfield College. She shot a 41 to win the ECC title June 2 at Quinnatisset Country Club. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

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