Pretty soon, the Middle Atlantic PGA may have to rename its women's championship the M.J. Smith Classic.
Smith won her seventh title recently at the 15th annual event at TPC at Avenel in Potomac, shooting a 7-over-par 78, two strokes ahead of Patricia Gates-Bremer of River Bend Golf & Country Club.
With her busy schedule as the director of instruction at Army Navy Country Club, where she has spent the last 13 years, Smith doesn't play competitively as much as she did during her 16 years on the LPGA Tour. Although she plays in fewer events, her skills have not diminished. Besides her success at the local level, Smith won the senior division of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Championship in 2002 and finished second last year. She will go to Daytona Beach, Fla., July 12-14 to try to reclaim the title.
"I'm lucky to be able to fall back on my experience," Smith said. "Before a tournament, I hit some balls, work on my short game. I think teaching sometimes helps you realize what you need to work on."
Smith, who switched her first name from Marilyn to M.J. when she joined the LPGA Tour to avoid being confused with tour founder Marilynn Smith -- who was playing at that time -- is also one of the area's top instructors. Golf for Women magazine named her one of the top 50 instructors in the country, and the MAPGA selected her its 2002 teacher of the year.
"I discovered that I actually enjoy teaching," Smith said.
Although she has dominated the MAPGA women's championship, Smith doesn't expect her run to continue. She said the influx of female teachers and club professionals in this area will make it more difficult to retain her title.
"The newer players coming in will enhance the competition," she said.
Tied for Second
Jamie Gough of Fairfax and Bill Stout of Arlington tied for second in the Virginia State Golf Association's 22nd annual Senior Four Ball Championship on May 18-19 at Jefferson Lakeside Country Club in Richmond. Gough and Stout shot 68-66 -- 134 (8 under), three strokes behind the winners, Steve Isaacs and Stan Fischer, both of Richmond. They tied with Richmonders Jordan Ball and Vinny Giles. . . .
Dave Markey and Dick Schmidt of Kenwood finished one stroke behind the leaders with a 4-under 66 in the Maryland State Golf Association's senior two-man team championship on May 21 at their home course. Ernie Kosmas and Steve Xintas of Mountain Branch GC outlasted the 55-team field to win the event. Dave King and Bruce Kessler of Bethesda tied with Dan Tate and Henri deLozier of Columbia for third with 67.
Siford Wins Scholarship
Kara Elizabeth Siford of Osbourn High School was one of 35 college-bound students to receive a 2004 VSGA scholarship. Siford, who will attend William & Mary, was awarded $2,000 and the VSGA women's division merit honor. . . .
Jim Schouller of Congressional CC and Ricky Touma of Burning Tree CC are this year's PGA member qualifiers for the Booz Allen Classic. Neither has played in the event. Schouller shot a 4-under 67 to earn medalist honors at TPC at Avenel on April 27. Touma finished three strokes back. The open qualifier for the tournament is June 21 at Little Bennett.