Golf: Tigers cap fall with 1st-place finishes
“In most tournaments that we play, we are one out of eight to 20 teams. Wins are hard to come by. Putting one on the books to finish the fall season means a lot for this team,” head coach Will Green said. “Team captain [senior] Bernie D’Amato has been working toward this weekend for the past four years.”
The match-play format provided the team with an opportunity to play in a different setting than the traditional style of stroke play. Princeton defeated Cornell 4-0-1 in the first round, Brown 3-0-2 in the second and Dartmouth 3-1-1.
“Match play isn’t something we get to do much in college golf — it is very rare. It was incredibly exciting, and the players really enjoyed it,” Green said.
Junior Nick Ricci played very well, defeating every one of his opponents with at least three holes to spare.
“Nick provided some momentum for the whole team,” Green said. “I’m really proud of all of my guys. They came out competing from the first tee to the final green.”
The women’s team matched the high-level play of the men throughout its tournament, rounding out a successful weekend for Princeton golf. The field of eight teams included Yale, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Siena and Georgetown, in addition to the host team, Lehigh.
Princeton, led by junior Kelly Shon and senior Anna Jang, edged Seton Hall by one stroke to take first place in the tournament. Shon was named the individual champion, tying with Jang and Rutgers’ Kortnie Maxoutopouli and winning the low-round tiebreak for the third individual victory of her Princeton career.
Shon shot a 75 on the first day, which put her three strokes off the lead going into day two.
“I was feeling really lousy after the first day,” Shon said. “I had a solid first half, but I lost my focus for the second. My goal for the second day was to stay focused the entire time.”
She upped her game for the final day of the tournament, shooting an even-par 72. She birdied the last hole to give her team a one-stroke lead over Seton Hall, which proved to be the difference.
“I’m proud of myself because I bounced back after not playing well on the first day. If I didn’t make the [last] putt, the team wouldn’t have won,” Shon said.
Both teams head into the offseason on a positive note. They will have a lot of downtime early in the winter, as there are seven weeks of no organized practice.
“I encourage the players to put the clubs away for a while and explore the opportunities that Princeton has to offer,” Green said.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will head to Florida for fall break, where they will relax and play a bit of golf. They will start up again formally in February, preparing for the spring season that lies ahead.