Two personal-best results, two top-five finishes and one new Seton Hall record to start the season –Pirate golfer Sammie Staudt is locked in.
The Pennsylvania native led Seton Hall as they topped a field of 13 programs at this weekend’s Princeton Invitational, held from Sept. 28-29. The Pirates’ one-under-par team score of 575 earned them top honors by seven strokes over host Princeton, followed closely by fellow Ivy League schools Penn and Yale.
Big East opponents St. John’s and Georgetown also competed in the event. They finished more than 30 strokes behind in 6th and in 9th place, respectively putting the Pirates in a nice position before conference play in the spring.
Staudt started as strong as anyone in the field with a first-round 68 on Saturday, following up the next day with a second-round 73.
“I was feeling pretty confident going into Princeton,” Staudt said. “It’s a pretty tight course, so I was really focused on my driver and hitting fairways, and since id been focusing on my putting at practice I felt pretty confident that it was going to go in the hole, and a lot of times it did.”
The three-under-par total over two rounds smashes the old par-72 record, set in 2013 by Pirate alum Erin McClure, by five strokes. Staudt’s 141 – topping the personal best she set at Penn State’s Nittany Lion Invitational the week before – tied her for the second-best individual score at Princeton. Sophomore star Sarah Fouratt joined her in the top-five, following her first individual title at Penn State the previous week with a one-under-par 143.
“We’ve all been coming out playing our best stuff,” Staudt said. “All six of us have proven we deserve to play. Coach is going to have a hard time picking lineups, but that’s a good problem to have in my opinion.”
Despite the early results, Staudt and the rest of the team refuse to rest on their early laurels.
“There’s definitely a lot we’re still working on,” Staudt said. “I’m mostly focused on my chipping and putting, it definitely helped me a lot at Princeton and at Penn State, getting up and on when I did miss greens. I’m always going to work on giving myself better opportunities to get closer to the hole.”
Staudt is one of four senior student-athletes on the veteran roster, and she noted the “need to stay focused” among the distractions of senior year and the transition to the next phase of their lives – “it’s very easy to get wrapped up in graduation and all that.”
The golf schedule goes throughout the year, but the fall season primarily serves as a tune-up for what’s to come later.
“The angle is really just to make sure morale is good coming into the spring and we just got our best ranking in school history at 72,” Staudt said. “So far, everything is going according to plan.”
Kyle Beck can be found at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @notkylebeck.