DEAL – – It was early Monday morning, before the first shot had been struck at the Shore Conference Tournament, that Nicole Totland received the good luck text message from her big sister, Taylor, who captured the Southern Conference individual championship while leading Furman to the team title earlier this month.
And by early afternoon, it was the younger Totland who had captured her second straight SCT crown, while leading Red Bank Catholic to yet another team title in the event.
Totland’s round of 85 at Deal Golf & Country Club was good enough for a two-shot victory over Brynne Wiedman of St. John Vianney.
Between the Totland sisters, they have now won 10 of the last 12 area majors – the Monmouth County and Shore Conference tournaments – they’ve competed in.
With a four-player total of 367, the Caseys finished well ahead of second place Holmdel, which posted a 427, while Toms River North was third at 436.
“It feels really good, both for the team and myself, to win again,” Nicole Totland said. “It just gives you reassurance that you can do it and your hard work is paying off. It was nice to get the text from Taylor this morning. She’s very, very busy. I’m so proud of her and everything she’s accomplishing.”
Red Bank Catholic’s Arianna Palmeri finished third with an 88, while Pinelands’ Danielle Elia, runner-up at the Ocean County Tournament earlier this month, shot 89 to finish fourth.
Rounding out the scoring for the Caseys was Ceilie Reynolds, fifth overall at 90, and Amanda Hart at 101.
“I think they’re kind of pushing each other to do better,” RBC coach Bill Kusch said of his players. “”They’re all very competitive, but they’re great friends and everyone pushes each other to do well.”
On a windy day, with Deal’s difficult, undulating putting surfaces causing scores to rise, it was Totland who was able to navigate her way around the classic layout just a little bit better than the competition.
“It was really tough when the wind picked up,” she said. “I definitely think the greens were a struggle for everyone, including myself. I was putting well at first, but as the round went on the greens got tougher and tougher. There are so many tiers. Whoever made them was very creative.”
Ultimately, the difference was two birdies Totland, a junior, was able to put on her scorecard on a pair of par-5s.
On the second hole, her second shot missed the green but was able to chip to within five feet of the cup before rolling in the putt. On No. 12, she rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt.
Totland secured the victory with a solid par on Deal’s par-3 finishing hole.
“I definitely think this tournament will make us beter players as we move forward,” Totland said. “I’m really proud of the way our team has been working so hard, and it’s really showing. That’s nice to see.”
Next up for the Caseys is the NJSIAA Central-South sectional team event at Bey Lea in Toms River on May 11, when they’ll be looking to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, played on May 21 at Cherry Valley in Skillman.
“”We have to get used to playing tough courses like this, because Cherry Valley is similar in some ways,” Kusch said. “It’s definitely a good tuneup.”
Staff writer Stephen Edelson is an Asbury Park Press columnist: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @SteveEdelsonAPP
Team: 1. RBC 367; 2. Holmdel 425; 3. TR North 436; 4. Wall 450; 5. Lacey 454; 6. Southern 512.
Individual: 1. Nicole Totland (RBC) 85; 2. Brynne Wiedman (St. John Vianney) 87; 3. Arianna Palmeri (RBC) 88; 4. Danielle Elia (Pinelands) 89; 5. Ceilie Reynolds (RBC) 90; 6. Chrissie Wojciechowski (Brick) 92; 7. tie, Stefani Sciametta (Rumson-FH), Nicole Marinaro (Shore Regional) 94; 9. Mehr Savant (Holmdel) 95; 10. Haley Mander (Holmdel) 96; 11. tie, Rachel Rice (Central), Micaela Crines (Wall) 97.