Beating your close friend and teammate in match play is one thing, but beating her in the semifinals and facing another quality opponent 45 minutes later is another.
Those were the challenges facing defending champion and top-seed Taylor Totland of Hollywood in the 93rd NJSGA Women’s Amateur Championship at par-73, 6,469-yard The Bedens Brook Club in Skillman on Thursday.
“It’s always tough to play Alice (Chen); she’s such a good player. I was really nervous about that match. She’s my friend and my teammate and it puts me on edge,” said Totland, 20, a resident of Tinton Falls, who survived the semifinal match against 2013 champion Chen, 3 and 2. “I felt a little relief, but Scotland (Preston of Echo Lake) was next, and she’s been playing well and she was awesome today.”
With a hard-fought 3-and-1 victory over Berkeley Heights resident Preston, the 2011 champion, Totland became the first back-to-back champion since Donna Young of Springdale in 2006 and ’07.
“Winning two in a row is really cool. My swing coach, Karen Noble, did this three times (1987, ’88 and ’90), and I’m following in her footsteps,” said Totland, the Southern Conference Player of the Year who teams with Chen at Furman University in South Carolina.
This weekend, Totland leaves for the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Portland (Ore.) Golf Club where Chen will join her.