Harvard-bound Anina Ku of Neshanic Valley Golf Course made herself right at home after one practice round on Wednesday at the Mercer Oaks Golf Course (East Course) in West Windsor.
Ku fired a round of four-under-par 68 to win the New Jersey State Golf Association’s 15th Women’s Public Links Championship by 10 strokes on Thursday, Aug. 16, at Mercer Oaks.
Kelsey Solan of Moggy Brook, runner-up in the 2014 NJSGA Women’s Amateur, took second place by shooting a 78. Katie Lee of Royce Brook Golf Club and Remi Shendell of Plainfield West tied for third with 81s.
Karen Stepsus of WGA of NJ, a Morris Plains resident, claimed low net honors with a 91-27-64 over runner-up Patricia Moore of Wessex WGA, who shot 83-15-68.
“I noticed in the practice round that there were a lot of holes where I could be aggressive,” said Ku, 18, who was co-runner-up with Abby Lim of Overpeck Golf Course in the 2012 Women’s Amateur that was won by Alice Chen of Neshanic Valley.
“I tried to position myself on the par fives so I would have the best angle into the greens. I reached in two on three of the four par fives. I hit it straight enough times. The long shots gave me some chances at eagle from 15 or 20 feet,” she said.
That strategy paid off when she sank a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5 No. 13. The eagle put Ku at three-under par and a birdie on the par-4 No. 14 enabled her to get to four under par. Her round included the eagle, four birdies and two bogeys.
“I feel stronger this summer. I started training seriously two winters ago, and this summer I could see a big difference,” she said.
Ku returned from a 10-day trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Island on Monday and was anxious to see how her game would unfold on Thursday.
“I had been working on my swing plane before I left, and it kicked in well today. And I decided to switch my putter from a blade to a mallet and I was happy how I putted today,” said Ku whose sister Hana was runner-up in the 2011 NJSGA Women’s Amateur and went on to play golf at Princeton.
Before enrolling this fall at Harvard, where she will be a member of the golf team, Ku will play next week in the three-day national AJGA event at Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster.
“There will be a lot of top players at that event who are entering college like myself, so I hope to take some momentum from this championship into that tournament and into my college season,” Ku said.