During one match at Centennial Golf Club three years ago, Carmel coach Matt Murphy had his first introduction to Lauren Peter. The pint-sized Peter spent her afternoons on the range, which is exactly where a Centennial staff member introduced Murphy to the future of his program.
“She was there practicing all the time,” Murphy remembered. “You could tell she loved playing and practicing and was 100 percent into becoming a top golfer.”
Lo and behold, she has. Although Peter just completed her freshman season, The Journal News’ girls golfer of the year left little doubt that she was Section 1’s top female. She won the sectional tournament with a birdie on the final hole and went on to place second at states, falling short by just a shot.
“I think she has a very unique combination of work ethic and skill,” Murphy said. “She works very, very hard and she loves to compete.”
To refine those skills, Peter customarily arrives at practice or a match a half hour or hour before her teammates to work on her swing or short game. She is one of several Carmel players, boys and girls, to benefit from Centennial’s vast practice facility and the chance to practice and play matches on the course itself.
Her effort to improve produced an even better year than Peter expected.
“I was just hoping for a good year, but I didn’t really have any goals,” said Peter, who is 15. “I was very surprised.”
Peter shared that same emotion in the wake of her birdie at the 36th hole to win the Section 1 tournament early last month. She came into the last hole of the final round tied with Rye’s Frida Henningsson and Ursuline’s Caroline Hodge, but stuck her tee shot to 5 feet and rolled in the putt. Peter was just about the only person greenside who didn’t know she’d won, a fact that continued to resonate with her a month later.
“I’m just really surprised when I look back at it,” she said. “I’m really happy I made that putt. I think about now that if I didn’t, I would’ve been in a playoff.”
Peter will be busy this summer on the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) circuit. She won the AJGA’s Junior All-Star at Forsgate in New Jersey in early May and currently ranks as 185th in the AJGA’s Polo Golf Rankings.
Peter spent last week in Arkansas competing in the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational, an event that coincided with an LPGA Tour stop.
All of Peter’s experience should serve her the next three years as she tries to challenge for a state championship.
“I really look forward to the future and what’s going to happen next year,” she said.
Emily Corrigan, Sr., Ursuline
Frida Henningson, Sr., Rye
Alice Hodge, 7th, Ursuline
Caroline Hodge, Fr., Ursuline
Lauren Peter, Fr., Carmel (player of the year)
Amanda Tully, Fr., Carmel
Coach of the year – Matt Murphy, Carmel
Caitlin Tully, 7th, Carmel
Vienna Chiu, So., Edgemont
Christina Liu, Sr., Edgemont
Ally Steffen, So., Byram Hills
Rina Jung, So., Hackley
Kate Weiss, Sr., Rye Country Day
Honorable mention: Kim Bacon, Sr., Byram Hills; Kaelyn Chi, Jr., Suffern; Danielle Cohen, So., Edgemont; Tara Slattery, Sr., Carmel; McKenna Stolz, 8th, Bronxville; Lauren Young, So., Scarsdale.
Girls all-stars golf fan voting
Girls golfer: Caroline Hodge, Ursuline (214 votes)
Girls first team:
Vienna Chiu, Edgemont (176 votes)
Lauren Peter (20 votes)
Alice Hodge, Ursuilne (7 votes)
Christina Liu, Edgemont (3 votes)
Frida Henningsson, Rye (2 votes)
Amanda Tully, Carmel (2 votes)
Girls coach: Laurie Adamo, Ursuline (41 votes)