James is A Hole-in-One

His steadfast devotion could have been plainly observed by anyone who played with him, knew him or had merely witnessed his “Happy Gilmore” distance drives!

To know James was to love James.

James P. B. McDonough, age 24, died February 26 in Charleston, South Carolina.Born in Boston and raised in Milton, he was the son of Dr. James and Margaret (Peggy) Sage McDonough. He is also survived by Uncles and Aunts Paul and Carla McDonough, and Judith McDonough of Charlestown, Sue Shepanek, William Sage, John and Lisa Sage, Christine Sage and Maureen Fletcher, all of Michigan, and Cousins Conor McDonough of NYC, Matthew Shepanek of Virginia, Amy Chandler, Colleen Sage, Marty Sage and Rebecca Sage, all of Michigan and Elizabeth Goncalves and Jennifer Dwivedi of Ontario, Canada.

He attended Cunningham Elementary School in Milton and the Dexter School in Brookline, where he was the 2000-2001 captain of the Massasoit team. He then attended St. Sebastian’s School in Needham. While there, he played hockey for two years before turning his full attention to golf. He played on the St. Sebastian’s varsity golf team for four years, and was the Independent School League boys co-champion in 2004. He co-captained his St. Sebastian’s team as a senior in 2005.

His athletic skills were honed during his years at Dexter, and within the Milton Little League and Youth Hockey programs. But his natural athletic abilities evolved at the age of 15 with an absolute passion for golf.  He embarked on a daily routine of strapping his golf clubs on his back, jumping on his bike and spending all his summer days at Wollaston Golf Club, his new second home. There, James developed his game, concentrating on skills he would need for competitive play. Rounds of 18-holes, followed by afternoons of caddying or challenge-matches with friends.

Starting locally and then nationally, he participated in many junior golf tournaments. With his parents on board, he was fortunate to travel to spectacular golf venues around the country, developing the skills necessary to pursue a career in professional golf.

His next step on that journey was acceptance of an athletic scholarship at the Division I golf program at the University of Rhode Island. After “red shirting” his first year there, he recognized the need to pursue his dream in a warm climate.

He transferred to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where he accepted a scholarship on the highly regarded Division II Rollins golf team. Under Coach Kyle Frakes, James continued to develop his game. He was awarded posthumously in May 2011, his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.

James’s future plans included returning to Massachusetts to resume participation in the New England amateur golf tournament schedule, where he had found success in previous seasons before returning to Florida to pursue his passion as a professional golfer.

Highlights of his young career include top-10 finishes in American Junior Golf Association and Future Collegians World Tour events.  At the age of 19, he was on the leader board after the first round of the United States Amateur Championship at Williamstown.

Closer to home, James had the distinction of being a three-time co-winner of the Bowen Cup at Wollaston Golf Club. In addition, after caddying for many years in the Fallon Cup, Wollaston’s member-guest tournament, James enjoyed two years of playing in the event, which was his favorite tournament at his home club. Other accomplishments at Wollaston include a double-eagle – one of the golf’s rarest scores. And during last summer’s Bowen Cup competition, on the 17th hole, he hit a five-iron for his third hole-in-one. According to the pro shop at Wollaston, this was the first time that feat had been accomplished in the history of the club. He also had a hole-in-one at Championsgate in Florida. Playing in a charity golf tournament at The Country Club in Brookline, he led his team to victory shooting 66, one shot over the amateur course record.

James was driven by his love for what he loved and his love for who he loved. His passions for family, friends and golf drove him to excel in his pursuit of success on and off the golf course.  Everyone who met James experienced his ability to light up a room with his smile, his positive energy, his humor, sensitivity, and his ability as a good listener. He loved everyone and for that he will be remembered.