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North Warren grad aims for PGA competition

Raymond A. Smith, a 2007 graduate of North Warren high School, achieved the top score in a PGA qualifier held recently in Portland, Maine. Smith is seeking to compete in the PGA, and this tourney was a preliminary step toward that goal.

Raymond A. Smith, a 2007 graduate of North Warren high School, achieved the top score in a PGA qualifier held recently in Portland, Maine. Smith is seeking to compete in the PGA, and this tourney was a preliminary step toward that goal. Photo provided

— A man with local roots has set his sights on competing in professional golf, and two weeks ago he took a major step toward that goal.

Raymond A. Smith, 2007 graduate of North Warren Central School, completed in the PGA’s Player Ability tournament, a qualifier for becoming a fully accredited competitor in Professional Golfers’ Association events.

Smith not only passed the test, but he was named the event’s medalist, achieving the lowest score among the 55 competitors in the 36-hole tourney held at the Portland Municipal Golf Course, Portland, Maine.

Smith shot 140, or four under par for the series. His score was 13 strokes under the cut for the preliminary PGA certification, and four ahead of the next best score. Seven other players made the cut, Smith said.

“I was very enthused about the outcome,” Smith said Monday.

He said the experience prompted him to recall how his grandfather Joseph R. Tennyson had first taught him to play golf in his front yard on Tennyson Road in Chestertown when Smith was only 3 years old.

Tennyson gave him golfing tips, encouraging the toddler as he hit golf balls into a nearby field, Smith recalled.

“The competition brought back feelings of when I was a kid playing with my grandfather,” Smith said.

In the Aug. 3 PGA qualifier, Tennyson served as his quasi-caddy.

“Ray did a helluva good job,” Tennyson said of his grandson, who works now as an assistant golf pro at the exclusive Nashua Country Club, Nashua, N.H.

The Tennyson/Smith family members enjoy golf. Smith’s uncle, Joe Tennyson Jr., of Chester, is superintendent of The Sagamore Golf Course in Bolton.

While at North Warren, Raymond Smith proved he had a bright future in golf ahead of him. Smith won the Section II title in golf twice, and played in the state championship series, achieving a rank of 14th in the state. He went on to play golf for several years at Delhi University.

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