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MDNG Soldier to Participate in All-Army Golf Team Trials

Article by Staff Sgt. Chazz Kibler, 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment; Courtesy photos

RANDALLSTOWN, Md. – Amid an ongoing pandemic, some people have discovered an abundance of free time on their hands since many activities have been postponed or canceled. One soldier in the Maryland Army National Guard utilized off-duty time to rekindle his love for golf.

U.S. Army Capt. William Cagney IV, commander of B. Co. 629th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, MDARNG, received notification that he was selected to participate in the All-Army Golf Team Trials which is currently delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. 

“I started playing a little [golf] in 2019 when I went to [a Counterintelligence Officer Course] at Ft. Huachuca and noticed that the All-Army Golf Team competed in Arizona while I was there,” said Cagney. “When I saw the scores posted, I knew I could get back to that level.”

Cagney’s opportunity to participate in the trials required him to shake off nearly a decade of rust in order to regain past skills.

“While I have many golf accolades, the issue I ran into was that the majority were not recent,” stated Cagney. “I quit playing golf after college and took an almost nine-year break from the game.”

Capt. William Cagney, right, and his brother-in-law Robert Cantwell.

Cagney expressed that his inspiration to play comes from family, specifically his brother-in-law, Robert Cantwell. Cagney explains that Robert did not have golf experience but learned the game to impress and bond with the family. Eventually, Robert developed a love and passion for the game like Cagney. Cantwell’s willingness to learn golf to build a family connection was something he found admirable.

“It was Robert who helped get me motivated about golf again and inspired me to fully immerse myself in the game,” stated Cagney. “I witnessed him go from a hacker to a 12-handicap in a matter of five to six years.” 

During the height of the pandemic, Cagney used his spare time to get back into the swing of things on the golf course, as outside activities were best for practicing safe social-distancing procedures.

“I used 2020 and the limitations of activities due to COVID19 to play significantly

more golf and build my game,” said Cagney. “I played in some smaller events to measure my progress.”

Cagney’s resume alone was not enough to get him qualified. For consideration to join the team, he had to prove himself on the golf course by displaying recent skills along with current tournament scores. Cagney applied to a variety of tournaments including the U.S. Amateur Championship qualifier. 

“I gambled on myself and applied for the largest tournaments I could get into,” said Cagney. “While I missed qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Championship, the scores were enough to impress the program director and get me selected for the team [trials].”

During the U.S. Amateur Championship qualifier, he shot a 74 during his first round, which is two shots over par, and shot a 70 during his second round, totaling 36 holes in one day, finishing in a tie for 19th place.

According to Cagney, his military career contributed to his golf endeavors by allowing him to maintain composure during stressful situations, resulting in an elevation to his golf game.

“I would certainly say that my military experiences have prepared me for this challenge and given me new strengths I did not have when I was younger,” said Cagney. “Serving as a commander, I know ensuring that I’m squared away is a must if I am going to issue orders and requirements to my Soldiers.”

In addition to being the 629th EMIB company commander, Cagney also works full-time for the MDNG as an intelligence officer, which kept him busy this past year supporting the state’s COVID-19 response.  

Some of Cagney’s responsibilities during pandemic operations included providing intelligence briefings to the adjutant general of Maryland and other senior leaders. He also led his unit’s response, which provided support to COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites, as well as the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, the All-Army Golf Team Trials have been delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Cagney speculates it will likely take place in the spring or summer of 2022.

“I wasn’t happy to hear that it was delayed but I like to look at everything as a glass half-full,” said Cagney. “I’m going to use that extra time as an opportunity to keep preparing and improve my game to make sure I’m ready next year.”

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