MONROE TOWNSHIP – Despite being one of the first players to come off the Concordia Golf Club course on Friday afternoon, East Brunswick sophomore Sayaka Carpenter made her low round stand up.
Carpenter fired a two-over 37 on the front nine to win the individual title and her low score helped East Brunswick capture the team title at the Greater Middlesex Conference Girls Golf Championships.
“This is a great feeling; it’s only my second year and I just want to keep going strong through the next two years after this,” Carpenter said. “I didn’t know I had played so well until I got off the course, but I putted really well today and I just took that and hoped that I would stay in first place with everyone else coming in off the course. I had a bunch of birdie putts that I should have made, but that’s okay.”
Carpenter’s 37 was part of East Brunswick’s team total of 179, which was six strokes better than South Brunswick’s 185. Juniors Ruchita and Rachana Balasubramanian shot a 45 and 47 respectively and senior Lauren Geiger’s 50 rounded out the Bears’ effort. Carpenter said that having two seniors on the team this year helped her teammates ease the pressure of defending the county championship they earned in 2013.
“It’s great, because we have some seniors on this team and I’m really glad we were able to win for them,” she said.
East Brunswick coach Mark Motusesky said he thought the girls felt that pressure, but played excellent golf on Friday with sunny skies above, after a week in which clouds dominated the horizon.
“Absolutely proud of the girls today; we played OK in the division championship and we played a lot better today, so that’s positive,” Motusesky said. “They probably had a lot of pressure on themselves to repeat, but they played awesome, especially Sayaka.”
Motusesky noted that the Bears were a bit nervous coming into the season with expectations over their heads, after last season’s success, but they seemed to get it together at the right time of the year.
“We were a little nervous coming into this year in the big tournaments, but this is going to help catapult us, because we have our four lowest scores coming back. That’s big for us,” he said.
South Plainfield’s Nicole Eager, playing as an individual since she’s the only female member of the Tigers’ team, shot a 43 to place second on the day.
“It felt really good, especially because I’m the only girl on my team, so it’s nice to play this well today,” Eager said. “When one girl came in and she was really excited about how she had played, my heart almost stopped for a second because I thought I was going to get bumped down, so it was certainly nerve-wracking.”
South Brunswick’s Julie Bae (44), Samantha Bishop (45), Megan O’Brien (45) and Monika Bagle (51) put the pressure on East Brunswick for the team title, but came up just short.
TEAM SCORES: 1. East Brunswick 179; 2. South Brunswick 185; 3. Sayreville 203; 4. Metuchen 209; 5. Old Bridge 213; 6. J.P. Stevens 214.
INDIVIDUAL SCORES: 1. Sayaka Carpenter (East Brunswick) 37; 2. Nicole Eager (South Plainfield) 43; 3. Julia Bae (South Brunswick) 44; 4. Ruchita Balasubramanian (East Brunswick) 45; 4. Samantha Bishop (South Brunswick) 45; 4. Megan O’Brien (South Brunswick) 45; 7. Brittany Morgan (Metuchen) 46; 7. Erin Mcquade (Sayreville) 46; 9. Rachana Balasubramanian (East Brunswick) 47; 10. Jennifer Hayes (Old Bridge) 48; 10. Grace Wu (J.P. Stevens) 48.