For Greg Jarmas, making the most of his summer vacation last year laid the foundation for a big junior campaign with the Princeton University men’s golf team.
The Wynnewood, Pa. native was the runner-up in the Philadelphia Amateur, made the quarterfinals of the Pennsylvania Match Play championships, and placed 12th in the Pennsylvania Amateur.
“I had a good summer,” said Jarmas. “I had some good results, that helped me coming into my junior year.”
Once he arrived on campus this past fall, Jarmas kept rolling. He took second in the Philly Big 5 Classic in mid-October and then helped Princeton win the Ivy Match Play Tournament title later that month at TPC at Jasna Polana.
Last month, Jarmas hit new heights as he won the individual title at the Ivy League Championships and helped Princeton take the team title.
“It was definitely a step forward in terms of being composed and trusting the work I had put in and not dwelling on the bad things that could happen,” said Jarmas, who had placed placed 10th at the Ivy tournament as a sophomore.
While Jarmas didn’t place first at the NCAA regional last weekend in Pullman, Wash., he took another step forward in his development as a player.
Jarmas was Princeton’s top performer, shooting a one-under 215 for the three-round event as Princeton placed 13th in the team standings.
“I was very comfortable with the course” said Jarmas, who put together rounds of 75-68-72 at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club as he tied for 30th overall in the individual standings.
“I was trying to do too much the first day. I was proud of the way I bounced back; I had two good rounds. It was a little bit of everything, putting is a strength of mine. I didn’t get off to a good start and I tried to have a smile on my face for each hole.”
In Jarmas’ view, he will benefit from last weekend’s experience. “It can only help,” added Jarmas. “It is invaluable, there is no substitute for playing against strong competition like that and testing yourself against those players. It was exciting to be playing against teams like that and being on a big stage.”
Coming into the Ivy tourney last month at Caves Valley in Owings Mill, Md., Jarmas felt he had a strong chance to win.
“I have been playing well, I have been playing well in practice,” said Jarmas, who put in extra time with Tiger head coach Will Green the week before the tournament.
“I had to trust my game and the work I have put in. Once the first round started, I knew what I could do. Coach walked with me and helped keep me in the right place mentally. I putted a little better each day. The greens were fast so I had to putt defensively. I made almost all of my putts from 3 to 6 feet, which is why I didn’t three-putt. I don’t look at the leaderboard. I was focusing on playing as well as I could.”
Once he found out that he had won and that Princeton was the team champion, Jarmas was filled with emotion.
“It was a lot of relief and a lot of happiness,” said Jarmas, carded a +3 total of 213 (71-72-70) in winning the title. “It was probably my best afternoon ever on a golf course.”
Coach Green, for his part, was more than happy with Jarmas’ effort at the Ivy tourney.
“Greg took an awesome step forward that weekend,” said Green. “It is not that he hadn’t been good enough. It is is the mentality of saying this is what I need to do and I am going to do it. You have to learn to take the good with the bad and you have to learn how to win. You have to be able to stay in the present and focus only on what you have to do on the next shot and not worry about bad shots. He grew a lot as a competitor. He didn’t have one 3-putt in the whole tournament, that doesn’t happen very often.”
As Jarmas goes back to the grindstone this summer, he is looking to continue that growth process.
“I need to be more consistent off the tee,” said Jarmas, who plans to again play the Pennsylvania amateur circuit.
“I am hitting it farther than I ever have and striking the ball well. When I get the ball in the fairway, I am getting good numbers. I want to get more consistent and confident off the tee.”