New Jersey's Alice Chen of Princeon and Taylor Totland of Tinton Falls are U.S. Four-Ball champions!
The best friends and teammates at Furman University defeated University of Georgia teammates Sammi Lee of Winter Park, Fla., and Mary Ellen Shuman of St. Simon's Island, Ga.., 4 and 3, in the championship match on Wednesday, May 31.
Chen and Totland had little trouble in the final, winning five holes with birdies and adding another on the par-5 No. 15 to close out the match with a halve. It is the second national championship for Chen. Three years ago, she led New Jersey, sponsored by the NJSGA, to the U.S. State Team Championship.
The duo won the first two holes of their Wednesday morning semifinal match and never trailed in defeating Jennifer Chang of Cary N.C., and Gina Kim of Chapel Hill, N.C., the No. 5 seeds, 3 and 2, to advance to the final match of the Women’s U.S. Four-Ball Championships at Dunes Beach and Golf Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Going into the final, Chen said the teammates had a strategy:
"Just take it one shot at a time. I think this has really taught me to love match play. It's just been so much fun to be able to be aggressive and have someone have your back at the same time, and we do a really good job of that. So we're just covering each other really well, and it's definitely such a team effort. A lot of pars, a lot of birdies," Chen noted.
Totland and Chen, the No. 1 seeds, won the first hole with par and the second with a birdie. They still led, 1 up, through six holes. They won the par-four No. 10 qith a birdie and the par-four No. 14 with a birdie to go 3-up. They halved the par-4 No. 16 wit a birdie to close out the match.
At 1 p.m. today (Wednesday), they go for the gold against two recent graduates of
In the quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon, Chen and Totland, the top-seeded duo, won two of the final three holes to oust University of Florida teammates and No. 8 seeds Maria Torres and Samantha Wagner, 1 up.
It was Totland who biridied the par 4 No. 16 with a gap wedge from 100 yards and a 10-foot putt, and then won the match when her 8-iron ended 18 feet from the hole and she drained the putt. .
In the Tuesday morning Round of 16, Chen and Totland bested Morgan Goldstein and Veronica Joels of Las Vegas, 2 and 1,
"It's awseome. It was a great match. We halved holes with birdies four or five times. I think the adrenaline kicked in down at the end. Allice and I were doing things we never do on a golf course. She was yelling and I was fist-pumping. We were out of our elements," said Totland after Tuesday's quarterfinal victory. She joins the Symetra Tour as a full-status player in two weeks.
"We got off to a slow start today. We werem't making putts and we fought through it. Tomorrow it's about playing one shot at a time and having fun," Totland said.
Torres and Wagner needed 19 holes to oust Josephine Chang and Sarah Shipley in the Round of 16.
.Chen (2013 and 2016) and Totland (2014, 2015) have domianted txhe NJSGA Womew's Amateur Championship the past four years.
This winter, Totland she tied for fourth in Stage II of the Symetra Tour and LPGA Qualifying School at the Plantation Golf Country Club in Venice, Florida, and earned full status on the Symetra Tour.
She then participated in Stage III, Nov. 28-Dec. 4, at LPGA International, in Daytona Beach, Fla. She had placed T-18 in Stage I of Q-School.
“Originally, I had no intention of going to third stage because I thought you had to declare professional in order to play, which I found out was not the case,” stated Totland, who lives in Tinton Falls. “So going into second stage I really had no expectations, which I think led to me playing well.
“I was just going there trying to get the best Symetra Tour status I could get and ended placing T-4 which has made going to third stage very tempting.”
In 2016, she was 20th at the NCAA Championships. She won the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions in 2013 as a student at Red Bank Catholic.
Chen is the most decorated women's golfer in NJSGA history. Besides the two Women's Amateur titles, she has won two Public Links championships (2014, 2015) and two Junior Girls crowns (2012 and 2013). She has also won the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions.