Category Archives: Golf

Carpenter leads East Brunswick to GMC girls golf title

East Brunswick's Sayaka Carpenter competes on Friday at the GMC Championships in Monroe Township. Photo by: Jason Towlen

East Brunswick’s Sayaka Carpenter competes on Friday at the GMC Championships in Monroe Township. Photo by: Jason Towlen

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.

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Montgomery’s Alice Chen captures 2nd straight T of C title

 

Montgomery's Alice Chen fired a 7-under 65 on Thursday, earning her second straight individual title at the girls golf Tournament of Champions. Photo by: Mike DeSocio

Montgomery’s Alice Chen fired a 7-under 65 on Thursday, earning her second straight individual title at the girls golf Tournament of Champions. Photo by: Mike DeSocio

In the final competitive round of her high school career, Montgomery’s Alice Chen saved her best for last. Thursday morning on her home course, Chen fired a 7-under 65, earning her second straight individual title at the girls golf Tournament of Champions at Cherry Valley Country Club.

In a bogey-free round in which she poured in seven birdies and hit 17-18 greens in regulation, Chen beat her 2013 score of 71 by six strokes. She posted a 33 on the front-nine and 32 on the back-nine.

After her round, in which she was one of the first three golfers to come off of the course, Chen said she was still in shock about the score she posted.

“I was trying to do my best and I started out really well with three birdies on the front nine and I kept on hitting greens,” Chen said. “My ball striking was pretty solid today and I was able to hit 17 out of 18 greens, and the one I didn’t hit was on 18 and I chipped it in from about 20 feet away, so it was a crazy day.”

Chen, who will attend Furman University in the fall on a full golf scholarship, said she didn’t expect to post a score as low as she did on Thursday, or to have this kind of career for that matter.

“To see the progression that I’ve gone through and to have everything come together on one day wasn’t just me. God was molding me and my game,” she said.

Chen’s 7-under score was six shots better than Lenape’s Erica Han, who carded a 1-under 71. Taking a page out of the film Caddyshack, Chen said she was out on the Cherry Valley greens Wednesday night, putting with a teammate until 7:40 p.m.

A year after winning the individual title as a junior, Chen said there was some pressure coming in as the defending champion, but she was nervous in the sense that she didn’t want to let herself down.

“I’m a very sentimental person and I wanted to make the best out of it today. I wanted to make the most out of the experience and I didn’t want to psyche myself out,” Chen said. “The biggest advantage of playing here today, with it being our home course, is that we know the greens really well and we know how to approach them. Being that it’s so close allowed me to get out here last night and having teammates and friends out here to support was great.”

Chen wasn’t the only competitor to repeat on Thursday, as Ridge won its fourth straight team title, posting a score of 303 to best Montgomery by 15 strokes.

Christine Wang finished with a 2-over 74, Monica Schumacher was one shot behind with a 75, Yunhee Kang carded a 76 and Carolyn Wang turned in a 78 to round out the Ridge contingent, as the Red Devils carved 22 strokes off of their record-breaking performance from 2013.

“Unbelievable performance. I’m so thrilled for them and the peaked at the right time; it’s a tribute to them and they followed the game plan,” Ridge head coach Siobhan Devlin said. “They were out there in December and January and February, finding a piece of grass and getting kicked off golf courses in 30-degree weather. We had some struggles throughout the year, but I just told them to stick to the plan and I thought we’d have a chance. Did I think that all four would shoot below 80? No, but I thought two would. The conditions ended up being a perfect storm for us and I told the girls that there’s a difference between deserving and earning it and they earned it big time today.”

Megan McLean of Voorhees finished in a four-way tie for fifth place with a two-over 74, along with Katie Lee from Hunterdon Central. Zora Moore of Delaware Valley joined Kang and Carley Hopton of Madison in a three-way tie for 10th-place with a 76.

TEAM SCORES: 1. Ridge 303; 2. Montgomery 318; 3. Hunterdon Central 327; 4. Red Bank Catholic 333; 5. Bergen Tech 359; 6. West Windsor Plainsboro-South 362; 7. Tenafly 366; 8. West Windsor Plainsboro-North 370.

INDIVIDUALS: 1. Alice Chen (Montgomery) 65; 2. Erica Han (Lenape) 71; 3. Christina Parsells (Kent Place) 73; 3. Nicole Totland (Red Bank Catholic) 73; 5. Megan McLean (Voorhees) 74; 5. Christine Wang (Ridge) 74; 5. Cindy Ha (Demarest) 74; 5. Katie Lee (Hunterdon Central) 74; 9. Monica Schumacher (Ridge) 75; 10. Zora Moore (Delaware Valley) 76; 10. Yunhee Kang (Ridge) 76; 10. Carley Hopton (Madison) 76.

Hunterdon Central’s Dylan Stein sets mark in Skyland golf championships

Hillsborough's Dylan Stein competes at Wednesday's Skyland Golf Championships. Photo by: Kathy Johnson

Hillsborough’s Dylan Stein competes at Wednesday’s Skyland Golf Championships. Photo by: Kathy Johnson

Despite missing a two-foot birdie putt on his opening hole of the day, Dylan Stein posted the round of his life Wednesday morning.

The junior from Hunterdon Central turned in a tournament-record 66, winning the individual title and helping the Red Devils capture the team title at the Skyland Conference Golf Tournament at Royce Brook Golf Club.

Stein birdied five holes in a row from the 7th to the 11th and then birdied the final two holes to card his lowest round ever, besting Alex Edfort’s previous tournament-record of 67, which he shot in 2009 when the tournament was held at Neshanic Valley.

“I didn’t start off that great; but when I made five in a row, I realized I could go low today,” Stein said. “I feel like I really improved down the stretch and I played really well today. I felt that unless someone else went really low, it would stand up and I would lock this one up.”

Stein’s 66, combined with James Wolfangel’s 74, Luke Wolkin’s 76 and Keith Noonan’s 77 gave Hunterdon Central the lowest team-score of 293, besting Pingry by 19 strokes.

Hunterdon Central, which played on Tuesday in the NJSIAA Sectionals but didn’t qualify for the Tournament of Champions, came back strong, according to coach Larry Ries.

“Yesterday, we didn’t play that well, but I’m proud that they came back the next day. I didn’t know how they’d react to playing 18 holes in another tournament, back-to-back. So I’m really proud,” Ries said. “For Dylan to shoot 66 is fantastic. I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise to me, but I thought he could shoot even-par (72). Posting 66 is a hell of a number and Dylan really works on his game and he’s very serious and when you put the time in, you become a good player.”

The 19 schools all played on Royce Brook’s private West Course Wednesday, which pushed 30 golfers’ scores over 90, making Stein’s 66 all the more impressive.

Another star from the day was Watchung Hills’ Mike Graboyes, who shot an even-par 72 to finish third in the individual competition.

“I definitely left a few out there, I burned the edge all day and I left a few short,” Graboyes said. “I hit the ball amazingly, but I couldn’t get it done on the greens, so it’s a little frustrating. But I had a good time out there.”

Graboyes and his Watchung Hills teammates did qualify for next Monday’s Tournament of Champions, which will be held at Hopewell Valley Golf Club, and he said that having some momentum going in will help.

“We don’t have as strong of a team as we did last year, but I was really happy that we made it back to the Tournament of Champions and I hope we repeat as Group IV champions and we’ll see how we do against the rest of the state,” Graboyes said.

Justin Chae of Pingry, who also qualified for the Tournament of Champions, finished second in the individual competition with a two-under 70. He and his Pingry teammates will join Watchung Hills on Monday in Hopewell.

 

TEAM SCORES: 1. Hunterdon Central 293; 2. Pingry 312; 3. Ridge 322; 4. Montgomery 324; 5. Phillipsburg 331; 6. Bridgewater-Raritan 341; 6. Watchung Hills 341; 8. North Hunterdon 346; 9. Hillsborough 356; 10. Delaware Valley 360; 11. Gill St. Bernard’s 362; 12. Bernards 363; 13. Somerville 377; 14. Warren Hills 390; 14. Voorhees 390; 16. Immaculata 396; 17. South Hunterdon 428; 18. Belvidere 469; 19. Franklin 215.

INDIVIDUAL TOP 20: 1. Dylan Stein (Hunterdon Central) 66; 2. Justin Chae (Pingry) 70; 3. Mike Graboyes (Watchung Hills) 72; 4. James Wolfangel (Hunterdon Central) 74; 5. Luke Wolkin (Hunterdon Central) 76; 5. Daniel McCreesh (Ridge) 76; 5. Ben Raff (Ridge) 76; 8. Keith Noonan (Hunterdon Central) 77; 8. Matt Dannenbaum (Pingry) 77; 10. Jake Mayer (Pingry) 78; 11. Justin Zheng (Montgomery) 79; 11. Matt Elander (Ridge) 79; 11. Ryan Lambert (Bridgewater-Raritan) 79; Shawn McDole (Bernards) 79; 15. Dan Altieri (Montgomery) 80; 15. Kyle Macklin (Montgomery) 80; 15. Travis Cote (Phillipsburg) 80; 18. Tom Wagner (Hillsborough) 81; 18. Alex Lundy (North Hunterdon) 81; 18. Leo Hernandez (Phillipsburg) 81.

Ku shoots 70, leads Ridge girls in sectional

The Ridge High School girls golf team showed why it has been regarded as one of the state’s best on the links all season long when the Red Devils won the NJSIAA North Sectional at Stanton Ridge Golf & Country Club in Whitehouse Station on Tuesday.

The Red Devils advanced as the top team, shooting a combined 330, and had all four golfers finish in the top 10 individually. Hana Ku, a senior, carded a 70 to pace the field and her teammates weren’t too far behind. Monica Schumacher placed seventh overall with an 84, Yunhee Kang scored an 87 to finish ninth and Katie Cappola tied for 10th with an 89.

“It’s really rewarding,” Ridge coach Siovhan Devlin said. “They’ve earned it with all of the hard work that they’ve put into it this season. We have eight girls that have been vying for the top four spots, so it’s been really tight and the reason we did so well today is that we’ve been competing against each other all season long.”

Devlin noted that losing three of her four players from last season’s squad has forced two sophomores, Schumacher and Kang, to step up and play big. But the steady influence of Ku and Cappola has helped ease the process.

“We lost an amazing senior group from last season, so to have the younger kids buy into it is fabulous,” Devlin said. “Katie has been filling big shoes all season and Hana is really steady, so it has worked out well.”

In order for Ridge to capture the Tournament of Champions title next week, Deviln said her girls need to remain focused on the task at hand and not worry about what’s happening on the rest of the course.

“I’ve told them that there are going to be days when they’re out of it physically, but they need to stay in it mentally,” she said. “That’s what we need to do next week.”

Hunterdon Central advanced to the T of C, shooting 367 as a team, led by eighth-place finisher Nicole Petrocchi, who turned in a card of 85.

Watchung Hills tames the course

The conditions didn’t cooperate with the golfers at Alpine Country Club in Demarest, but the Watchung Hills High School boys golf team tamed the course to finish first in the North 2 Group IV Sectional Tournament Monday morning.

Watchung Hills head coach Sean Mealey said the scores carded by his golfers weren’t typical of their ability, but it was the best they could do at Alpine.

“We were pleased to escape,” Mealey said. “With the scores that were coming in, we were hoping to squeak by in second.”

The Warriors’ foursome of Luke and Mike Graboyes, Alex Pomerantz and Ben Lerner finished with a team score of 335, nine strokes clear of second-place Livingston. The two schools will continue their seasons at next Monday’s Tournament of Champions.

Local contender Hunterdon Central finished one shot off a spot on the podium, coming in at 347.

Luke Graboyes led Watchung Hills with a 73, but he was the only one on his squad that put up a score that Mealey is used to seeing.

“The greens were extra fast and the kids struggled,” he said. “Luke was the exception today, everybody else was pretty high. But, we can always count on Luke; nothing fazes him.”

Mike Graboyes and Pomerantz each carded an 86 and Lerner finished with a 90. Regardless of their scores, Mealey knows that winning the sectional for the second straight season is something to be proud of.

“It’s a great win, two years in a row now,” Mealey said. “It’s a great accomplishment for our school.”

Dominic Diaz of Bridgewater-Raritan, Brad Lankler of Westfield and Jack Panagos of Hillsborough all fired rounds of 82 to advance to the Individual T of C.

Other local winners

New Providence finished 37 shots behind Metuchen in the Central Group I, but the Pioneers qualified for the T of C. Sam Villagrassa led the way with an 81, followed closely by Kevin Haggerty (82) and Ben Keller (83). Davis Berry rounded out the New Providence lineup with a 93.

In North 2 Group II, two locals advanced to the T of C as individuals. Sean Keane of Governor Livingston and Dan O’Rourke of Delaware Valley recorded scores of 78 and 79 respectively to move on to next Monday’s event.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood recorded a team-score of 329, six strokes clear of second-place Millburn in North 2 Group III.

On the girls side of the tournament, Montgomery took first place in the South Jersey Sectional with a team-score of 335. The Cougars finished two shots clear of Red Bank Catholic for the title.

Kim’s 64 leads Metuchen’s first-place showing

Peter Kim, the 2012 Tournament of Champions winner, fired a 7-under 64 to boost the Metuchen High School boys golf team to a first-place finish in Monday’s Central Group I Sectional Tournament at Town & Country Golf Links in Woodstown. Metuchen, the defending champion in Central Group I, scored 302 as a team and advanced Kim and two others to next week’s T of C.

“I think that was our goal from the beginning of the season, to repeat as sectional champions,” Metuchen head coach Rich Stoner said. “We wanted to repeat as State Group I champions as well, so we’ve completed one of our goals. We are aiming to be the Tournament of Champions winner as well. We have to work hard the rest of the week and hopefully we’ll be in the conversation and be able to win.”

Joining Kim in next week’s T of C are Jeremy Nevius and Matt Biancamano, who shot 72 and 80, respectively to finish second and fifth in the Sectional for Metuchen.

In the South Jersey Non-Public A Sectional, St. Joseph finished second behind Christian Brothers Academy to advance to the Tournament of Champions. The Falcons’ team score of 324 was 12 strokes behind CBA, but the four-man team will get a chance to capture a state title in less than a week.

“I think this is an accomplishment to keep the season going and play in the Tournament of Champions,” St. Joseph head coach Ryan Lechner said. “And for the seniors to go out on a high note this is great. The guys were disappointed that we couldn’t put as much pressure on CBA as we would have liked, but I’m just happy that we’ll get a chance to go back to the Tournament of Champions where we made a big splash last year.”

Hartej Gill led St. Joseph with a 79, Gabe Rivera carded an 80, Brian Fitzpatrick finished with a score of 82 and Steve Taraska rounded out the squad with an 83.

Seniors key to J.P. Stevens on links

For the J.P. Stevens High School girls golf team, the season’s first month has been one to remember. The Hawks wrapped up the first four weeks with a 12-1 record, boosted by the play of a trio of seniors who have played at the varsity level for the last three seasons.

Sophia Chen, Jen Kim and Kim Wu have carried the banner for J.P. Stevens this spring, much like they have since breaking into the Hawks’ starting lineup as freshmen.

“The three seniors are good role models and mentors for the younger girls,” coach Patty Savulich said. “Sophia has already qualified for the state individual tournament and both Jen and Kim are very close to doing the same.”

Along with the three senior leaders, Paulina Lee and Kobj Dent have helped round out the Hawks’ roster, adding depth to an already potent lineup. J.P. Stevens’ only loss came at the hands of Westfield on the season’s second day and, although they hung tight with the Blue Devils, Savulich said her girls were crushed by the defeat.

“We lost by only six strokes, which was heartbreaking for the girls,” she said. “But some of the girls learned a hard lesson; if you want to play well, you need to practice more.”

Since that defeat, the Hawks have rattled off 10 consecutive victories, including a commanding 186-260 decision against Bishop Ahr their last time out. Savulich has seen her squad’s averages trending down, which in golf is the way you want them to go, and that’s been encouraging for her as the season progresses.

“Some of our younger players’ handicaps are trending down and with a little more experience, both on the course and at the range, should create a good foundation for the future,” Savulich said.

Colonia boys flying high

For the Colonia boys golf team, the main goal all season has been to finish what they’ve started — reach the Greater Middlesex County Tournament finals and the State Tournament’s finals.

According to coach Jeff Holmes, whatever the Patriots accomplish in the regular season is just getting them primed for the postseason.

“We’re playing well so far and we have compiled a nice record,” Holmes said. “But losing to Monroe on Tuesday was tough for us. We get another crack at them next week, so we’d like to avenge that loss.”

In dual matches this spring, the Patriots boast a record full of victories, 14 of them to be exact, to overshadow that one loss. Holmes’ squad returned all but one player from last season’s team, giving them a lot of experience heading into 2013.

A core of three seniors, Mike Orak, Justin Rasmus and Bruce Thome, have buoyed Colonia to the top of the GMC standings, while junior Rob Coffman and sophomore Brendan Demitus have chipped in as well.

Holmes knows that there is still a lot in front of his experienced group and that they need not worry about individual performances down the stretch; he wants his players focused on winning the team titles.

“We want to achieve a lot as a team and get to the finals of the GMCT and states,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for in the rest of our season.”

Hunterdon Central golfers enjoy success on links

Larry Reis, boys golf coach at Hunterdon Central High School, doesn’t put too much into whether or not his teams win the matches they play this spring. Instead, he just wants them to have fun on the golf course, and the fun that the Red Devils are having is evident in their 10-0 record through Wednesday.

“We’re in the hunt and I’m happy about that,” Ries said. “I just want the kids to shoot well, whether we win or lose.”

But more often than not this season, Hunterdon Central has dominated its opponents, pleasing Ries.

Of the six players that have seen action in 2013, none has a scoring average higher than 42, and three players entered the week with identical averages. Consistency has been key for the Red Devils in the competitive Skyland Conference.

“They work as a team and the young guys are accepted,” Ries said. “It doesn’t matter what class they’re in. Everyone is just focused on the task at hand.”

Eric Mastrull leads in scoring average at 38, but Keith Noonan, Dylan Stein and James Wolfangel are all one stroke back at 39. Luke Wolklin (41) and Nick DalCortivo (42) round out the Red Devils’ lineup that has steamrolled the competition through the season’s first month.

The girls at Hunterdon Central have been enjoying similar success, rolling to a 7-3 mark through Wednesday. And if not for Montgomery and Ridge on their schedule, the Red Devils would be unbeaten just like their male classmates. All three of Hunterdon Central’s losses have come to the Skyland Conference’s top two squads (two to Ridge, one to Montgomery).

But coach Robert Nicolson believes that having those two powerhouses on the schedule has helped his very young team to be better.

“Playing Ridge and Montgomery help us a lot,” Nicolson said. “It’s great that our players can play against superstars from those schools. Those girls are very good at what they do and they’re respectful of the younger players on our squad. It definitely helps us out, because when you play with good players, you play better yourself.”

Hunterdon Central hasn’t needed much inspiration to play well this season, with a trio of captains leading the way. Junior Jess Wild, who posted the lowest score of her career Monday against Ridge, and classmate Julia Tonnesscen have been two of the stalwarts in the Red Devils’ lineup this spring, along with senior Nicole Petrocchi.

Those three players have helped close the gap between Ridge and Hunterdon Central as the season has progressed, according to Nicolson. When the two schools met in the first match of the year, Ridge emerged victorious by 23 strokes. But this past Monday, in heavy downpour and high wind, Ridge only won by seven strokes.

“They’re (Ridge) stronger (than us) but we’ve gotten better,” Nicolson said. “We don’t worry about what anyone else is doing and we are getting better. We’re going in the right direction.”

Tourney win a boost for Watchung Hills

For the Watchung Hills High School boys golf team, Monday’s tournament at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman was a good way to start the season.

Alex Pomerantz’s round of 73 was fourth-best of the more than 90 golfers and the Warriors’ team score of 222 was four shots better than Hunterdon Central for the team title.

Luke and Mike Graboyes finished with rounds of 74 and 75, respectively, to boost Watchung Hills in the 23-team field.

The Warriors will look to take their momentum into Monday’s Somerset County Tournament at Neshanic Valley.

“Obviously, our top three are very tournament-tested players,” Watchung Hills coach Sean Mealey said. “They’ve been playing for so long now and this is third year playing together. They push each other a lot and they set the tone for us.”

Ben Lerner rounded out the Watchung Hills foursome with a round of 84, but Mealey said that he’s still evaluating who’s going to be his fourth golfer this season.

“The fourth guy is always the deciding factor in tournaments,” Mealey said.

Pomerantz’s performance was just one shot off the lead that would have sent him into a playoff with three others.

Although he didn’t come out on top of the individual side of the tournament, Mealey was excited for what that kind of round could do for Pomerantz.

“He (Alex) gets overlooked by the Graboyes’, but Alex deserves the spotlight,” Mealey said. “He’s one of the hardest workers on the team and while he’s always been ready, he’s finally over the hump.”

But the fact that Watchung Hills was able to come out on top of a tournament where Luke Graboyes didn’t lead them is encouraging, according to Mealey.

“We showed we can win when Luke doesn’t shoot the lowest round every time out,” he said. “Alex and Mike have improved and that’s made us steadier. These guys are competitive and it gives us a nice balance for our team going forward.”

St. Joseph’s Taraska cards victory in playoff

Steve Taraska had never been in a playoff before Monday, but the St. Joseph High School golfer acted as if he’d been there all his life.

Taraska entered a three-way playoff for the individual title at the Cherry Valley Tournament and calmly made par while his two competitors, Jack Panagos of Hillsborough and Dylan Stein of Hunterdon Central, made bogey.

“I think it was a big win for Steve personally,” St. Joseph coach Ryan Lechner said. “He’s won before against smaller fields, but this was a bigger, more competitive field.”

Taraska had carded a round of 72, which is par for Cherry Valley Country Club, and headed out to the first tee to begin the playoff. From there, Lechner said, Taraska played it perfectly.

“He hit a beautiful tee shot,” Lechner said. “He left himself 160-165 yards and he told me he remembered how he’d played it the first time through and he laid in a perfect shot from the fairway to leave himself about a 15-20 footer for birdie.

“The other two guys got themselves into a little bit of trouble and Steve two-putted for par. He was very confident in the playoff .”

The Falcons have plenty of matches and tournaments left on their schedule this spring, but for Taraksa to get them started with an individual victory is encouraging, according to Lechner.

“I think this is something we can remember what we’re capable of,” Lechner said. “We have a lot of talent and we just need to harness it. If we have a day when everybody is playing well at the same time, we have a high ceiling and we’ll be hard to beat.”