May 4, 2022

As Noone Takes the Helm of PHS Golf Program, Tigers Haven’t Missed a Beat, Taking 2nd at MCT

By Bill Alden

Although this is the first season in nearly 30 years without Sheryl Severance at the helm of the Princeton High boys’ golf team, it has been business as usual for the program.

“You are never going to fill those shoes, you just hope you are not going to mess it up,” said PHS head coach Pat Noone, who previously served as an assistant for the program and is also the head coach of the PHS boys’ basketball team.

“Luckily we have the team to do it. Sheryl was such a legend. We are building a bridge and really just trying to replicate what she did.”

Last week at the Mercer County Tournament held at the Mercer Oaks West Golf Course, PHS replicated that success, tying Peddie for second with a score of 305, three strokes behind winner Lawrenceville.

“They loved it; it is an awesome tournament and they performed really well,” said Noone. “That was the lowest Princeton has ever scored in the MCT.”

Sophomore Brooks Cahill-Sanidas led the way for the Tigers at the April 26 event, taking fifth individually with a one-over 73.

“Brooks had an awesome day at the county tournament,” said Noone. “As a freshman he came out and I worked with him a lot and he grew a big passion for the game. From last summer to now, I haven’t seen anyone make a jump in any sport like he has. He went out and he played in every tournament that he could. He is a range rat. He is always there, he is always playing no matter the weather. You can see that has really paid off. He double-bogeyed the first hole and it didn’t get him overwhelmed where it could for a lot of people.”

The Zang sisters, junior Maddie and freshman Jackie, didn’t get overwhelmed competing against the boys. Maddie fired a 75 while Jackie carded a 73, good for eighth place individually on a tie-breaker.

“Maddie is a captain, she is a great leader,” said Noone. “She is an unbelievable golfer but she is even a better person. She is really good for the team, she is always complimenting everybody. Jackie as a freshman to step in there was great. They play in the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) tournaments. You can see that they are a little bit more comfortable when playing in that atmosphere.”

Junior Wes Yonish also starred at the MCT, carding an 84. “Wes is another guy who last year as a sophomore,  played a couple of matches and was in the low 40s,” said Noone.

“We did a lot of work with him in the spring and he has got a huge bug for the game. He is always playing, his improvement has been great. He has three 36s this year already. He has been an integral part of the team. He is only a junior so he has more room to grow.”

The PHS squad has benefited this spring from steady play across the board.

“We had one really low score last year in a lot of matches;  this year we have been really consistent, we have been having about 3 in the 30s,” said Noone, noting that Benji Tarter, Peter Eaton and Chris Shen have also been playing well.

“It has been really complementary. I think they all know that so there is a little bit more freedom. They also have a little competitive battle between themselves.”

In Noone’s view, a passion for the sport and camaraderie have been keys for PHS.

“Our team is in big-time love with the game, they love being there,” said Noone, whose squad is 7-0 in dual match play. “There are a lot of range rats, all they want to do is play. On the weekends, they are playing on their own, getting side matches with their friends and each other. It is a really good situation and it all because of them. I don’t have to push them, they want to do it. It is a really good squad, it is young. The future is bright. They are always hanging out.”

With the girls’ county tourney slated for May 6 and the state sectional taking place on May 9, Noone believes that the good showing at the MCT can be a springboard for the Tigers.

“I think that is really going to help that we had that one experience,” said Noone. “We are going to discuss this week about how to handle it better. Those things are difficult when you get in those situations; 18 holes is a lot of shots. These guys are taking 38, 39 shots and now they are doubling their shots. You have to be that much more mentally engaged for a longer period. The big thing is they don’t want to let each other down, it is a really tight-knit group.”