Longmeadow High golf star swings towards college, future

Longmeadow High golf star swings towards college, future
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 11:43 PM EST
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LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Longmeadow High golfer and MIAA Division I champion Ryan Downes dominated on the golf course this year. Now, he turns his sights to playing in college and being on top of the world.

“Over the summer, I was really playing some good golf and I kind of just translated that into the fall season. Fortunately, got to states and I was playing pretty good, I was putting really well,” Downes said.

It was a busy year for Downes. Last month, the junior at Longmeadow High School claimed the MIAA boys’ golf Division I individual state championship with his three-under 69 at Renaissance Golf Club in Haverhill.

“The talent level’s always been there. It’s obviously skyrocketed the last few years with all the hard work and maturity, but it’s been a really fun path to watch,” said Ryan’s father, Billy Downes.

Billy Downes is the PGA head professional at Greathorse in Hampden. He’s a golf lifer, who played professionally and whose track record includes a top-10 finish on the PGA tour. It wasn’t until recently that the youngster finally beat his elder.

“Last year, it took until last year and he hasn’t stopped since,” Billy Downes added.

This summer, Ryan became the youngest player ever to win the Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament, named after one of the most influential golfers in American history.

“First two rounds were here at Greathorse and I think that was probably the biggest accomplishment for me so far on a great golf course, playing against all amateurs, all older than me, more experienced,” Ryan Downes explained.

The Longmeadow native told Western Mass News that he’s taking his talents to the top-ranking collegiate program in the country, Vanderbilt University, after a verbal commitment last month.

“I really enjoyed the campus, team is great, coaches are great, Nashville’s a really good area for me, so I think that was the place where I could take my game to the next level,” Ryan Downes noted.

Ryan said his ball striking is the best part of his game and added that he’s using this winter to train and get stronger.

“His attitude, he’s fearless…From 120 yards in, he’s world class already and as he gets stronger, he’s just going to get better,” Billy Downes said.

Ryan has no signs of stopping anytime soon.

“Ultimate goal is probably to be the number one player in the world. I think what I’ve done and what I’ve chosen to do in my past and future are going to lead me towards that goal, so hoping to eventually accomplish that,” Ryan Downes said.

Ryan’s sensational year also included a low round of a five-under 30 in a match against Pope Francis. He had a nice look for 29, but missed out by an inch. Although he old us, add it to the list of goals for his senior season.