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Quiogue tops field at MCT

Featured Four of the top five finishers pose at the conclusion of the MCT. Photos by Sandy Seegers Four of the top five finishers pose at the conclusion of the MCT.
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FLANDERS _ It was March of 2012 and Todd Hartman was overseeing and evaluating the teenage golfers launching tee shots onto the range at Anchor Golf Land.

A freshman girl, Rianna Quiogue, was among the many boys vying for a spot on the Park Regional team.

Quiogue impressed Hartman, causing him to pause at her stall. As soon as he did, Quiogue would politely ask him to go away.

"I'd check in and Rianna would tell me she didn't want me to watch her hit," Hartman recalled.

Quiogue didn't like the attention or the pressure of having to hit every shot perfectly. It seems Quiogue, now a senior at Hanover Park and the recently crowned 2015 Morris County Girls Golf Tournament champion, has, for the most part, gotten past that.

On Thursday, April 30, Quiogue's shotmaking ability, steadiness and calm demeanor enabled her to shoot a career-best 44 at the nine-hole tournament held on Flanders Valley Blue Course. Chatham's Jess Barry, who shot a 45, was runnerup for the second consecutive year. Francesca Bello of Kinnelon fired a 46 to finish third.

Two-time defending champion Carley Hopton of Madison did not vie for a third title. Last August, Hopton took her game to Florida, where she attends the IMG Academy.

Was Quiogue elated upon finding out she had won? Not exactly. Even then, Quiogue remained composed. She said that coming out on top was "nice."

Oddly enough, Hartman was the coach assigned to accompany Quiogue's group and her round didn't start out well, partially because of his presence. She and Hartman get along fine. She just feels pressure when he's around.

"Fast forward to today," Hartman said. "Rianna wanted someone else with her group. She freaked out a little bit."

Quiogue began the tournament, a shotgun start, on the 11th hole, a par 5, and got a double bogey. Her tee shot was low and to the left, traveling maybe 170 yards. It took her four more shots to get on the green.

"I was nervous about playing with my coach there," said Quiogue.

Hartman, of course, laid low. Quiogue, in an effort to calm down, dissected each part of her swing. She bogeyed the next two holes on the par-36 layout and got back on track.

The drive Quiogue hit on the 13th was her best. The ball "hopped over the curve, went through the rough and onto the fairway."

She made the first of her two pars on No. 14, her fourth hole. Quiogue, who will play golf at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., recorded her second par on the 17th.

According to Quiogue, putting is her forte. So are her drives. She honed her putting abilities at Pinch Brook, where she went even when she wasn't playing a round.

Her father, Gary, taught her to play. There are family photos of Quiogue holding a club at the age of 3. At 10, she was competing in Junior PGA events.

Quiogue isn't just a golfer. She is a defender for the Hornets' soccer team and plays on a club squad. In the winter, she ran indoor track, taking part in the sprints and hurdles.

Perhaps Quiogue's greatest triumph on Thursday was conquering the Blue Course at Flanders Valley one day after shooting a 52 in a tri-match versus Randolph and Morris Catholic.

Hartman wasn't surprised that Quiogue took so many strokes off her score literally overnight.

"Rianna has worked really hard," he said. "She had a 47 in last year's NJAC Tournament and that gave her a lot of confidence. Rianna takes things hard. She deserves this. She doesn't get very emotional. She doesn't let one shot affect her. Rianna chugs and chugs and chugs."

After the 7 on her opening hole, Hartman noticed Quiogue was frustrated and advised her to relax. Just like that, she settled down.

"I like how Rianna handles herself," Hartman said. "She's so focused. Many of the boys on our team with her socialize but she's right on her bag, right on her yardage finder. Rianna is in the moment and does what she has to do. She's usually among our top four."

Bello, whose chips and drives were solid, was proud of her showing and matched her average score. She had never played the Blue Course at Flanders Valley, only the White.

"I'm happy," Bello said. "It was good. I could've done a few things better. There's always room for improvement in golf."

Bello, who will attend the Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall, had some interesting holes and got herself out of a few tight spots. For example, on her last hole, her tee shot went right and landed under a tree. She got back onto the fairway and ended with a 6.

She was very unhappy with how she did on the 12th hole, a par 3. Bello's tee shot soared over the green.

"My ball was in poison ivy, near a bush and next to a rock," Bello said. "It took me two shots to get out. Putting was impossible on that green."

Barry played in Quiogue's group and posted three pars. Two other Chatham golfers - Sarah Ethridge (52) and Jennifer McCann (53) - were among the top 10 in the 28-player field.

MCT GIRLS TOURNAMENT SCORING

Rianna Quiogue, Park Regional, 44

Jess Barry, Chatham, 45

Francesca Bello, Kinnelon 46

Nicole Cheng, Montville 49

Caroline Fishbach, Mendham 51

Emily Cheng, Montville, 52

Julia Taormina, Pequannock 52

Kathleen Won, Morris Tech, 52

Sarah Ethridge, Chatham, 52

Jennifer McCann, Chatham, 53

Emma Boyd, Mendham, 53

***PHOTO GALLERY BELOW***

Last modified onThursday, 28 May 2015 01:57
Sandy Seegers

Sandy will post her bio soon

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