Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 34
 
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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(Photo Courtesy of Rutgers Office of Athletic Communications)

FINAL ROUND: Jordan Gibbs is all smiles in his team shot for the Rutgers University men’s golf squad. Gibbs, a former Princeton High standout, is entering his final campaign with the Scarlet Knights. After averaging 76.55 this past spring, Gibbs will look to pick up where he left off when he tees off for his senior season at the annual Rutgers Invitational on September 11-12.

Emerging as Team Leader for Rutgers Men’s Golf, PHS Alum Gibbs Poised for Big Senior Campaign

Bill Alden

Based on how things went for Jordan Gibbs during his freshman season on the Rutgers University men’s golf squad, it didn’t look like he was going to be a team leader anytime soon.

“I only qualified for two tournaments and I struggled a bit in school,” said Gibbs, a former Princeton High standout upon reflecting on his introduction to college life in 2006-07.

“The transition was pretty difficult; the biggest challenge is time management. It is a pretty demanding schedule, balancing everything. You have to be a lot more disciplined than when in high school.”

During the summer after his freshman year, Gibbs displayed a lot of discipline as he worked to improve his game.

“I tried to play in as many tournaments as I could against college guys,” said Gibbs, who helped PHS win two Mercer County Tournament titles and make two appearances in the prestigious Tournament of Champions during his Little Tiger career.

“I had a few good tournaments; I got my confidence back. I felt much more confident when I came back for my sophomore year.”

Gibbs’ confidence showed as he produced a fine sophomore season, averaging 76.92 in five tournaments in the fall season and 77.2 in five spring events.

As he started his junior season last fall, Gibbs’ emergence as a leader was solidified when he was named team captain.

“I wasn’t totally expecting it, we had a senior on the team who had been captain the year before but then I got it,” said Gibbs.

“I had to be more vocal and do stuff with the players and coaches. I had to keep my head on straight. It was a little difficult with the senior still around but he helped me out.”

With his new duties, Gibbs’ game suffered a bit during the fall season of his junior year.

“Things were a bit of a rush in the fall; I got burned out,” acknowledged Gibbs. “I played a lot in the summer and I didn’t focus as well as I should’ve at practice. I was distracted.”

Over the winter break, Gibbs took a step back to help regain his focus. “I took some time off and rededicated myself,” said Gibbs.

“I went back to my old swing coach Tony Forfare. He knows my swing and how it has changed. I had gotten into some bad habits. My swing plane had gotten flat; it needed to be more rounded and more repeatable.”

Things went better for Gibbs this past spring as he averaged 76.55, highlighted by a tie for sixth at the Princeton Invitational at the Springdale Golf Club, his PHS course.

“I hit the ball great in the spring season,” asserted Gibbs. “I struggled with my putting; I could’ve scored even better.

Gibbs has been hitting a lot of balls this summer as he looks to fine-tune his game.

“I have been working at Bedens Brook, practicing four hours a day,” said Gibbs.

“I work two hours on range, one hour on putting and one hour on the short game. I have also been working with Tony one day a week at the Princeton Golf Center.”

That practice paid dividends this June at the New Jersey Amateur at the Fairmount Country Club in Chatham, N.J as Gibbs tied for sixth, shooting a four-round total of 296 (eight-over-par).

“In the first round, I hit all 18 greens in regulation and had a 71,” recalled Gibbs in assessing his performance.

“I would have done much better if I hadn’t 3-putted so much; 71 was about the worst I could score. The rest of the week, I didn’t hit the ball as well. I have grown a lot as a player; it was a good learning experience.”

As he looks ahead to his senior season at Rutgers, Gibbs is looking to be at the top of the leaderboard.

“I would like to win at least one tournament,” said Gibbs, whose senior season begins with the annual Rutgers Invitational on September 11-12. “I think I can if I play well.”

Depending on how well Gibbs plays this year, he may take a shot at pro golf after graduation.

“I could stay with it after college,” said Gibbs, who should have plenty of options next year as 2008-09 and 2007-08 Big East All-Academic selection with multiple citations on the Dean’s List.

“I would consider giving it a shot if I was ready to be 100 percent dedicated. It is a tough lifestyle.”

Gibbs has certainly shown his toughness at Rutgers, overcoming a shaky start to become a team stalwart.

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