Tradition can be a beautiful thing, and for one golfer, the past four years have been nothing but enjoyable.
At this year’s Somerset County Tournament, held at Neshanic Valley Golf Course in Neshanic Station, tradition held firm as Alice Chen of Montgomery took home her fourth straight individual title, winning with a low score of 71.
“It’s been a goal to retain the title all four years,” said Chen, who beat out teammate Allison Herring by two strokes. “I’m just really grateful that I was able to compete today and get the win.”
After having to practice through rough weather, the skies were clear and the wind was nearly non-existent for the tournament, something many golfers, including Chen, found to be very satisfying.
“It was so nice, today had perfect conditions,” Chen said. “It wasn’t that windy and it ended up being a beautiful spring day.”
Chen has won this tournament every year she’s been at Montgomery, and while the feeling of winning will never get old, Chen notices a difference in her play as the years have progressed forward.
“I think it evolved from trying to compete with other girls to just trying to do it for myself,” Chen said. “I’m pretty hard on myself trying to always give my best and today was really just about trying to keep up and doing my best … and it just feels really great.”
Chen has more season to look forward to before she departs to Furman University in the fall, but with her team on the rise, Chen and the Cougars have high expectations moving on.
“I’m just going to try and keep improving,” Chen said. “It was an OK round today, I gave it my best and I know there is more potential out there this season so I’m excited to keep improving.”
Chen’s efforts weren’t enough to capture the team title, as Ridge took home the trophy, shooting a 321.
Monica Schumacher led the way for the Red Devils, shooting a 77 and finishing in third place. Carolyn Wang (78), Yunhee Kang (83) and Christine Wang (83) also finished in the top five to secure the championship.
“They stayed focused for 18,” Red Devils coach Siobhan Devlin said. “They stayed within their game plan and they just stayed in it mentally for all 18, which is tough to do.”
The final scores were close, as the Red Devils beat second-place Montgomery by four strokes. While there is still season left to play, the Red Devils will shift focus to the state tournament later this season.
“Going forward we have to try and qualify for states,” Devlin said. “We’re only .500 and the next goal is to get that 60 percent. Montgomery is a great team, Hunterdon Central is a great team and anyone can win on any given day so our goal is to go and qualify for states.”
GIRLS TEAM SCORES: 1. Ridge 321; 2. Montgomery 325; 3. Bridgewater-Raritan 359; 4. Pingry 422; 5. Hillsborough 445
GIRLS TOP INDIVIDUALS: 1. Alice Chen (Montgomery) 71; 2. Allison Herring (Montgomery) 73; 3. Monica Schumacher (Ridge) 77; 4. Carolyn Wang (Ridge) 78; 5. Yunhee Kang (Ridge) 83; 6. Christine Wang (Ridge) 83; 7. Nicole Kaplan (Bridgewater-Raritan) 84; 8. Ariel Rung (Bridgewater-Raritan) 84; 9. Rosey Li (Montgomery) 87; 10. Evanna Wang (Bridgewater-Raritan) 88.