RBC's Totland turns attention to team goals in 2013

RBC's Totland turns attention to team goals in 2013

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RBC's Totland turns attention to team goals in 2013

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It’s hard to imagine how Taylor Totland could possibly maintain the intense focus that marked her first three seasons at Red Bank Catholic, given the fact that the reigning NJSIAA champion has won everything there is to win in high school golf, with her college career at Furman looming just around the corner.

“Definitely at the beginning of the year I struggled with it,” she admitted. “I really had a case of senioritis.”

But as the season approached, Totland once again started formulating goals in her mind, with many of them focusing on the Caseys and their team goals for the season.

Things like emerging on top in their heated rivalry with Colts Neck, with the two programs taking turns beating each other last spring. And then there’s trying to close the gap on Ridge, who the Caseys finished second to at last year’s Tournament of Champions.

“Senior year, with all the stuff going on, and the prom, I’m sure it hasn’t been easy,” said Caseys coach Bill Kusch. “But Taylor is definitely more focused on the other girls and getting them motivated. She really wants them to be as good as they can be as a team this season.”

In fact, the Caseys return their top four players from a year ago, including senior Molly McHugh and juniors Clare Rochford and Taylor Clark. Among the newcomers competing for a spot on the lineup will be Totland’s younger sister, Nicole, a freshman at Red Bank Catholic.

And the Caseys will find out where they stand right away, opening up against Colts Neck on April 8, before taking on Holmdel, another top contender, a day later. On April 15, they’ll defend their team title at the Red Devil Invitational at Copper Hill in Flemington.

But it’s hard to imagine Totland won’t show up with a purpose at Jumping Brook Country Club on April 22, when she’ll be looking to win the Monmouth County title for the fourth straight year. Or at Pine Barrens in Jackson eight days later when she’ll try to win the Shore Conference for the third time, having finished second to Colts Neck’s Emily Mills a year ago.

And then there’s the little matter of defending the state championship she won a year ago at Trump National in Colts Neck, carding a birdie on the final hole for a one-shot victory over defending champion Scotland Preston of Gov. Livingston and Ridge’s Hana Ku.

The NJSIAA has yet to announce where this year’s Tournament of Champions will be contested.

“What I really tried to do during the offseason was workout and try to work on my putting, which I think has improved,” Totland noted.

Come September, Totland will have a unique opportunity to develop her game under the watchful eye of Furman coach Kelley Hester, who came from Georgia last year after leading the Bulldogs to a pair of national championships.

“I was a little nervous because I was recruited by the former coach at Furman,” Totland noted. “I really didn’t know if they were going to honor the scholarship. But (Hester) reached out to me and said she still wanted me to play for her. She coached Stacy Lewis in college (at Arkansas), so I think it’s going to be a great experience.”

Mills appears poised to push Totland for the top spot in the area. At last year’s Monmouth County Tournament, Mills had the lead on the back nine before finishing second to Totland for the third straight time at a Shore Conference “major.” Mills finally broke through with a victory at last year’s Shore Conference Tournament.

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