Spicer twins doubly good
Jessica and Sarah Spicer are getting a lot of attention around the Carolinas and neighboring states these days. But that’s just par for the course for these Bahama sisters, who have made their mark while putting a round. Or three.
The 16-year-old identical twins must seem like a double bogey for their hard-pressed opponents in Carolinas Golf Association and Peggy Kirk Bell Golf Tour tournaments, at which they have achieved a fair amount of success.
They are separated by a tenth of a point on the Tarheel Youth Golf Association Junior Girls’ state rankings. Sarah is No. 4 with an average tournament score of 76.83, and Jessica is No. 5 at 76.95.
Last week, Jessica shot a final round 73 to win the Carolinas Golf Association’s 58th Carolinas Junior Girls’ Championship at Hope Valley Country Club by eight strokes. She finished even par at 216 over three days. Sarah finished tied for sixth at 231. The CGA, headquartered in West End, just west of Pinehurst, is the country’s second largest golf association, with 685 member clubs and 150,000 golfers.
“I shot a 68 the second day, and I wasn’t even feeling like I was at the top of my game. But I just played with what I had and everything came together,” Jessica said. “I really didn’t feel that nervous with that big of a lead. I just kept doing what I had been doing” while playing Hope Valley for the first time ever, she said.
Treyburn County Club is the twins’ home course.
Jessica won the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour 2013 Tournament of Champions at Moss Creek Country Club in Hilton Head, S.C., with a 3-over-par 75 and 150 total. The Greensboro-based PKBGT is the nation’s largest junior tour that's just for girls, and many of its alumnae have gone on to play college golf.
Jessica qualified for and played in the United States Golf Association’s 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship nationals for female golfers 18 and under at the par-72 Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“My sister caddied for me, so that was fun,” Jessica said.
Sarah finished second in a two-hole, sudden-death shootout at the USGA’s 36th Junior Girls North and South Championship at Pinehurst Country Club July 8-10.
She finished regular match play tied atop the leaderboard 1 under par at 215 against eventual winner Brigitte Dunn of Camarillo, California, in a field of 90 players from throughout the U.S., Spain, Puerto Rico, Colombia and South Africa. Jessica tied at 24th, 8 over par at 224.
“That was probably the best golf I ever played, at that tournament. I hit the ball really well, and I was putting and chipping,” Sarah said. But the playoff on the 18th hole was a challenge, she said.
“I actually struggled with that hole. I bogeyed it the first two days,” Sarah said. But she parred it on day three to force the playoff, and carded a par on both playoff rounds, but Dunn birdied the second sudden death to win.
Last year, Sarah stroked a 2-under-par 70 and 143 overall to win the PKBGT Precision Golf School Junior Girls’ Championships at Forest Oaks Country Club near Greensboro. She won the fifth Women’s Carolinas Golf Association Junior Girls’ Golf Championship at Whispering Pines in 2011 with a final round 74 and overall 147.
The sisters won their head-to-head matches at the two-day 13th Mid-Atlantic Girls’ Challenge that concluded July 27 to help the combined North Carolina-South Carolina team defeat the Virginia eight-player squad for the team title at Olde Mill Resort in Laurel Fork, Va.
And they are looking to repeat their 2013 first-team selection to the North Carolina Girls’ All-State Golf Team by the Tarheel Youth Golf Association and the Carolinas Golf Association.
“We don’t know where yet, but we’re definitely looking to play golf in college somewhere,” Jessica said.
The home-schooled rising juniors have visited High Point and Wake Forest universities, will visit UNC-Chapel Hill this week and make a choice in the coming months, she said.
“I think for both of us, playing professionally would be our dream and our goal,” Sarah said. “If we can’t play professionally, we would like to do something in the golf industry. I really do love the game, and I’m really passionate about it.”
“We’ve been playing since we were 7,” Jessica said. “My dad played a little bit, and he took me and my sister to the North and South Championship, and we watched all 36 holes of the final, and we just really liked it and wanted to start.”
So their father took them to practice daily “and we just fell in love with it, and we’ve been doing it ever since,” Jessica said.
They are now coached by Erica Gonzalez, who played collegiately at Florida State.
“I think I’m just a really competitive person, and I thrive on being under pressure. I like having it all come down to one moment … trying to perform under the pressure,” Jessica said.
But what’s her best skill set?
“I would have to say my short game in general, chipping and putting. I can be a pretty good ball striker, but my putting and chipping are what really always help my game,” Jessica said.
In perhaps predictable mirror image, Sarah echoed her twin.
“Probably the same as my sister,” she said of her strong suits. “My short game, my chipping and putting is pretty solid. I also think staying levelheaded on the course. I don’t let anything affect me. If I make a bogey, I just move on and play the next hole.”
“We’ve been really close for all of our lives. I know some siblings don’t get along very well, but that’s definitely not us,” Sarah said. “I feel like we definitely finish each other’s sentences a lot, and we say the same thing at the same time. We have similar interests. We’re just similar personalities.
“I’ll be on the golf course, and I’ll be wodering how she’s doing, and I’ll just have a feeling that she’s playing well — and she is playing well. We’re kind of in sync with each other,” she said. “Maybe there’s a little twin telepathy going on.”
“It works pretty well,” said Jessica, talking about playing and competing against her sister.
“We’re very competitive with each other, and it gives us an automatic competition … to be the best we can be. We also help each other with our swings and our games,” Jessica said.
“When she’s in the lead and if I’m out of the tournament, I’m definitely pulling for her. She does the same thing for me. We’re supportive of each other,” Sarah said.
OK, but which twin is better?
“It really depends on the day. I guess that’s the diplomatic answer,” Sarah laughed. “This past weekend she played better than me, but we really do go back and forth as to who plays better.”