A year ago, Red Bank Catholic’s Nicole Totland finished second at the Monmouth County Tournament to Colts Neck’s Emily Mills, now playing at Rutgers.
And while Totland reversed the order of finish at the Shore Conference Tournament, winning her first MCT crown has been on her to-do list for 12 months now.
On Tuesday, the Caseys’ junior checked that box by firing a 78 at Suneagles Golf Club in Eatontown, which was seven shots clear of teammate Arianna Palmeri and Holmdel’s Haley Mander.
With her victory in an event her older sister, Taylor, won four times, Totland led the Caseys to the team title with a solid four-player total of 342. Holmdel finished second at 392, while Wall grabbed the final qualifying spot for next Monday’s Shore Conference Tournament with a total of 440.
“”It was a great experience playing against Emily last season,” said Totland. “”””She’s a great competitor and I really respect her. It really challenged me and I feel like it helped me improve, especially mentally.”
In all, the Caseys finished with all five players in the top 10, including Amanda Hart (89), Ceilie Reynolds (90) and Ivy Babson (96).
“”I think this performance obviously bodes well for the SCT,” said RBC coach Bill Kusch. “”When we get into the states we’re going to see teams like Montgomery and Ridge, and we haven’t gotten over that hump yet. But this group is coming together heading into these tournaments.”
Totland used her length off the tee to take advantage of the first two par-5s at Suneagles and put some distance between herself and the field.
On the third hole, she had a half-wedge into the green on her third shot. Her ball came to rest within 25-feet of the cup and she rolled in the putt for birdie.
Three holes later she pulled out her 4-wood and drilled her second shot into a greenside bunker, blasting out to three feet to set up another birdie.
On the back nine, she made several good saves to keep her momentum going. She missed the green on No. 12, but was able to chip to within five feet and hole the putt for par.
“”I think Nicole’s short game is really good right now, and just her whole demeanor on the course,” said Kusch.
Added Totland: “”A win like this definitely gets me pumped up even more for the rest of the season. I’m really looking forward to it. And this team has a great bond. We respect each other, we all get together and pull for each other, which is the most important thing.”
Staff writer Stephen Edelson is an Asbury Park Press columnist: email@example.com; Twitter: @SteveEdelsonAPP
Team: 1 . RBC 342*; 2. Holmdel 392*; 3. Wall 440*; 4. Ranney 441; 5. Rumson 445; 6. St. John Vianney 449; 7. Marlboro 472; 8. St. Rose 476; 9. Colts Neck 479.
* – qualify for Shore Conference Tournament.
Individual (SCT qualifiers): 1. Nicole Totland (RBC) 78; 2. tie, Mehr Savant (Holmdel), Arianna Palmeri (RBC) 85; 4. Haley Mander (Holmdel) 88; 5. Amanda Hart (RBC) 89; 6. tie, Ceilie Reynolds (RBC) 90; 7. Brynne Weiderman (SJV) 90; 8. Nicole Marinaro (Shore) 93; 9. Ivy Babson (RBC) 96; 10. Lily Anderson (Shore) 97