Neither of the Montgomery High golf teams came away with a team title at Monday’s Somerset County Tournament, which was held at Neshanic Valley Golf Course.
But that didn’t mean the rainy and windy day wasn’t without highlights for the Cougars.
On the girls’ side, senior Maddie Jin shot a 74 to finish one shot ahead of Pingry’s Christine Shao and capture the individual title. Montgomery’s Tiya Motamarry shot a 78 to finish fourth and the Cougars’ Lauren Chung posted an 85 to finish in a tie for fifth.
“It was a pretty good day,” Jin said. “There was a lot of bad weather. It was pouring for about an hour and a half and the rest of the round there were 25 mile per hour winds. It was the first time for me playing in conditions that bad. But I feel like I am pretty accustomed to playing in the rain and it was okay. Tiya and Christine are my main two competitors and we’re usually close and this time I just came out ahead.”
The Montgomery girls finished second as a team, just two shots behind Pingry. The Cougars finished with a score of 331, while Pingry shot 329.
“For all of them it was not their best day,” Montgomery coach Jen Jones said. “Tiya can do better. She’s a sophomore who has played very well. She put one or two in the water and still put up a pretty good score. She had done very well at our first tournament, the Red Devil Invitational, and shot a 74. She also was first at the Lady Bomber.”
Montgomery won the Red Devil tournament and was second at the Lady Bomber. The team boosts a strong top of the lineup.
“They are neck and neck all the time,” Jones said. “The competition is fantastic and both Maddie and Tiya thrive on competition. As teammates they push each other and right behind them we have Lauren Chung and Joy Cao, who have shot well.
“This has the potential to be one of the best teams we’ve had, which mean the best six we have had. We have clearly had some top players and we’re always just needing that one or two more players to so we have that fourth or fifth player being consistently low. This year we have a good top six and a strong top four.”
For Jin, the SCT title was her second of her career. She won the tournament as a freshman and now gets a second title as a senior.
“It was nice,” said Jin, who is committed to play golf at Boston College next year. “When I won it my freshman year I played much better. I shot a 67. This time I shot a 74 but the conditions were tougher. I have never gone into a tournament with the mindset of trying to compete with the other players’ scores. I bring my best game on that day and as long as I play well and don’t give up mentally, I am satisfied. Monday I missed a few puts and gave up some shots. But overall, I am happy with where my game right now.”
The Montgomery boys finished fifth with a score of 360. Pingry placed first with a 321. The Cougars did not put a golfer in the top 10, but there was a big highlight to the day as Tim Walker recorded a hole-in-one on the par-3 sixth hole.
“I was 155 yards away,” Walker said of the shot. “The weather was horrible. It was cold and there was so much wind and it had been pouring all day. I decided to hit an 8-iron, which is a little less club than I usually take. But it was cold and raining. The shot felt good coming off the club face. It was tracking left of the hole when I hit it. The ball hit the front of the green ran up and was curling towards the hole and we saw it going straight in.”
Not only did Walker celebrate making the shot every golfer dreams of, but so did those around him.
“Everyone was pretty excited,” Walker said. “When you’re in a tournament there are multiple groups out there. There was a group on the hole ahead of us and a couple on the holds around us. Everyone saw us celebrating and started cheering.”
Walker, a senior, could recall just one other time when he had even come close to sinking a tee shot for a hole-in-one.
“I was about 12 years old and playing at Hopewell Valley Country Club,” Walker recalled. “I hit a 3-wood off a par 3 and it went straight at the hole. It bounced off the pin and wound up about an inch away. That was the closest I had ever been before.
“Everyone was saying that some people play forever and never make one. The pro at Neshanic Valley said people have played 50 or 60 years and never had it happen.”
The poor weather on Monday kept the Cougars from shooting their best scores. Freshman Andy Xin shot an 84 for the low round for Montgomery. Walker finished with a 90.