Chen, Ridge capture T of C girls golf titles

Chen, Ridge capture T of C girls golf titles

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Chen, Ridge capture T of C girls golf titles

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MONTGOMERY

Somerset County was well represented on Thursday afternoon at Cherry Valley Country Club, sweeping the girls golf Tournament of Champions due to Montgomery High School junior Alice Chen’s stellar individual performance and Ridge High School’s third straight team title.

Chen, who was worried about the added pressure of being expected to win on her home course, broke a three-way tie on the par-4 17th hole by dropping in a 30-foot birdie putt. She followed that up with a par on the 18th, giving her an overall score of a one-under 71 and a one-stroke victory over Red Bank Catholic’s Taylor Totland, the defending champion.

“To be the best golfer in the state, I wouldn’t really say that because everybody in my group had such potential to go out and win,” Chen said. “It just means so much because we’re all hard workers. God’s work was done today, and I’m just really happy that it went the way I wanted it too.”

With each of the eventual top four finisher playing in the same foursome, it was a back-and-forth match from the outset.

By the time they made the turn on the 5,750-yard test, Chen and Cindy Ha from Demarest were tied for the lead at even-par, while Totland and Ridge’s Hana Ku were two shots back.

Chen promptly grabbed a one-shot lead with a birdie on the par-5 10th hole, but Totland got it right back with a birdie of her own on No. 11.

Still trailing by two shots, Totland got one back when Chen bogeyed No. 15, missing an eight-footer to save par. Then, on the par-5 16th hole, both Totland and Ha made birdie, while Chen could do no better than par, putting the three into a tie for the lead at level par.

After all four players hit the 17th green in regulation, it was Chen who provided the winning margin by rolling in the deciding birdie putt.

With the Tournament of Champions individual plaque and a place in history on the line, Chen asserted that she was very confident before the left-to-right birdie putt followed her line perfectly and found the bottom of the cup. Of course, a lot of that poise and composure is attributed to her constantly being placed in groups with other elite players.

“The more that you’re faced with that kind of pressure, the less nervous and anxious you get about it,” she said. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t anxiety and pressure–you just become more familiar with it and you know to keep on playing and stay strong.”

Whereas Chen returned to the T of C this year more mature and better than ever, the Basking Ridge foursome featured a couple of new faces–three of them, to be exact. After losing a talented senior class last season, Red Devils head coach Siobhan Devlin doesn’t think anybody expected her girls to three-peat as state champions.

“We definitely didn’t see ourselves as the favorites,” Devlin said. “Since this same time last year, we thought we would have to prove ourselves. And I know, because the coaches told me. They were doing the math–we lost three people that were in last year’s tournament.”

Ridge, who also won the North Jersey sectionals, put together a team score of 325, winning the crown by 16 strokes over second-place Red Bank. Senior Hana Ku shot a 73, while sophomores Yunhee Kang and Monica Schumacher each went for 81. Senior Katie Cappola contributed with a 90.

“We had a group of sophomores who just bought into the program and committed in the offseason led by our [current] three seniors who just lead the way,” Devlin said. “It’s a perfect example of great leadership and great fellowship. The young kids have worked extremely, extremely hard and I can honestly say they’ve earned it.”

Hunterdon Central rounded out the top-three with a mark of 345, as junior Jess Wild shot a team-best 78. Junior Julia Tonnessen had an 86, Nicole Petrocchi an 89, and junior Marissa Castaldo finished with a 92.

Chen’s Cougars finished with a cumulative 356, good enough for fourth place. Besides Chen’s 71, senior Molly Beer threw in an 86. Sophomore Allison Herring shot a 90 and junior Caroline McDonald chipped in with a 109.

Results from the NJSIAA Girls Golf Tournament of Champions at Cherry Valley CC, Skillman (par 72; 5,750 yards)

Team: 1. Ridge 325; 2. Red Bank Catholic 341; 3. Hunterdon Central 345; 4. Montgomery 356; 5. Tenafly 363; 6. Chatham 366; 7. Holmdel 372; 8. Rumson-Fair Haven 375.

Individual: 1. Alice Chen (Montgomery) 71; 2. Taylor Totland (Red Bank Catholic) 72; 3. tie, Hana Ku ( Ridge), Cindy Ha (Demarest) 73; 5. tie, Abby Lim (Tenafly), Emily Mills (Colts Neck), Megan McLean (Voorhees) 77; 8. tie, Carley Hopton (Madison), Phoebe Mattana (Dwight-Englewood), Jess Wild (Hunterdon Central) 78; 11. tie, Zara Moore (Delaware Valley), Sarah Kokotajlo (Ewing) 79; 13. tie, Claire Serruto (Millburn), Katie Veasey (Rumson-Fair Haven), Laura Burke (Princeton) 80; 16. tie, Eun-Won Park (Tenafly), Sayaka Carpenter (East Brunswick), Monica Schumacher (Ridge), Yunhee Kang (Ridge) 81; 20. tie, Nicole Totland (RBC), Erin DiDonato (Hammonton), Janice Shadier (Buena) 82; 23. tie, Erica Han (Lenape), Katie Howard-Johnson (Chatham), Christina Parsells (Kent Place) 83; 26. Kenaida Mills (Voorhees) 84; 27. tie, Nicole Kim (Bergen Tech), Beth Bohny (Holmdel) 85; 29. tie, Allyson Wentworth (Phillipsburg), Madison Beer (Montgomery), Julia Tonnessen (Hunterdon Central) 86; 32. tie, Sandrine Yesilian (Holy Angels), Yeji Shin (Old Tappan) 87; 34. Rachel Tarnopoll (Pope John) 88; 35. Nicole Petrocchi (Hunterdon Central) 89; 36. tie, Paulina Miller (Holmdel), Katie Cappola (Ridge), Allison Herring (Montgomery) 90. Other Locals: Arianna Palmeri (RBC) 92; Meghan Foos (Rumson) 94; Molly McHugh (RBC) 95; Stefani Sciametta (Rumson) 98 Danielle Monetti (Holmdel) 101; Nicki Liang (Rumson) 103; Sarah Vallee (Jackson Mem.) 108.

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