Although the Princeton High golf team finished in the middle of the pack at the Mercer County Tournament last week, Sheryl Severance liked the way her squad competed.
“They played well,” said longtime PHS head coach Severance, whose team placed ninth of 15 schools at the MCT, which was played on May 6 at Mountain View.
“The girls were a little disappointed that they had to play back, they were hitting long shots all day. The boys were happy; they played their games.”
Building on that effort, PHS finished the week with two encouraging wins, topping Hightstown 217-224 on Wednesday and defeating Lawrence 217-235 a day later.
“We hit our low for the season at 217 two matches in a row,” said Severance, whose team defeated Hamilton 232-291 last Monday to improve to 8-7 in dual match action this season.
Senior standout Laura Burke led the way for the Little Tigers in the victories last week, carding a 39 against Hightstown and a 38 against Lawrence.
“Consistency is her strength,” said Severance of Burke, who will be playing in the state girls’ tournament on May 22.
“Her approach shots are right on so that keeps her putts to a minimum. She drives it right down the middle, she spends matches walking down the fairway.”
PHS is also getting good play from two other female players in senior Diane Karloff and freshman Kelly Qiu.
“Diane is playing well; she had a 40 against Hightstown, that is her lowest round in four years and she was really excited,” said Severance.
“Kelly is a freshman and I am excited about her. She doesn’t hit a long ball but she hits it straight. Her chipping and putting are very accurate. She is going to be like Laura when she is older.”
Severance is excited by the progress made this spring by junior Max Rodewald and sophomore Andrew Huang.
“Max Rodewald is playing well; it is his first year with us,” said Severance. “He had a 42 in the win over Lawrence. Andrew Huang started out a little rough this spring; he was away on an orchestra trip and was a little out of synch. He is playing better. He wasn’t hitting well with his driver and that was getting him in trouble. Now he is hitting better with his driver.”
The trio of senior Paul Murray, junior Max Tarter, and freshman Joseph Phelan have also experienced some highs this season.
“Paul Murray is up and down; he has had some nice scores and some rounds in the 50s,” said Severance, whose team will wrap up the regular season by hosting Notre Dame on May 14.
“Max Tarter has had some rounds in the 40s. Joseph Phelan is a freshman and whenever I need a sixth player, I pick him right away. He is consistently between 45-50.”
With a lineup including three seniors in Burke, Karloff, and Murray, Severance believes the program is heading in the right direction.
“We’ll be fine; we will miss Laura at top of lineup and Paul and Diane have been constants in our top 5,” said Severance. “I told the younger players that they are going to have to step up more next year.”