PRINCETON — Throughout the girls golf season, there are not many alternative format tournaments in the area, while boys golf teams have tournaments such as the Bureau County Match Play Championship or the Mendota Modified Ryder Cup.
So Princeton decided to start the Princeton Girls Ryder Cup Tournament in which pairs play the first three holes best score, the second three holes alternate shot and the final three holes of the front nine scramble before repeating on the back nine.
It was initially scheduled to begin in 2020 but was canceled due to COVID-19, so it debuted in 2021 with the second annual event being played Saturday at Wyaton Hills Golf Course.
“It just takes a lot of pressure off early in the season when you’re still trying to work out your swing and your game,” PHS coach Brandon Crawford said about the Ryder Cup format. “We thought, let’s do one of these for the girls. The response we’ve gotten from parents, the players and the coaches has been great. Being our second tournament, girls were really excited about seeing this on their schedule again because it’s fun for them.
“They don’t get these kind of things for girls golf. Most of their matches are individual stroke play. They don’t get the fun formats so it was important for me to give them the same opportunities the boys get and just get to relax, have a teammate with them and have a fun day of golf where it’s still competitive.”
Rockridge dominated with three of the top five pairs — including winners Hannah and Neva Graves with an 80 — and the low team score of 174.
Each team counted its top two pairs toward the team score.
Ottawa, which won the inaugural tournament, placed second with a 190, while Bureau Valley rounded out the three team’s taking home trophies with a 201.
La Salle-Peru (204), the host Tigresses (209) and Sterling (241) rounded out the field.
The Cavaliers’ Avah Moriarty and Allie Thome were the top area duo as they carded an 85.
“We were excited (to place second),” Moriarty said. “I think we did pretty well. We had some shots that were really good.”
Thome said she enjoyed the format.
“I liked that we got to work together,” Thome said.
Ottawa’s Hannah Duggan and Marlie Orlandi placed third with an 86.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Duggan said. “There were a couple holes we could have done better, but that’s alright. We had some very good holes in there.
“It means a lot (to place third). This is my last year and I’m just happy to place. I had a lot of fun. I love (the Ryder Cup format). It’s awesome. We get to play as a team and I feel like it’s a lot less stress for everybody. It’s a nice, fun break in the middle of everything.”
Orlandi, who was playing in her first 18-hole event, also enjoyed the format.
“I liked how it was different every three holes,” Orlandi said. “We got to try new things out.”
The top Bureau Valley duo was Callie Schoff and Layne Sproston with a 98, while Emma Kruse-Carter and Hailey Pembleton led the Tigresses with a 104.
“I have four girls who hadn’t swung a club until Aug. 8,” Crawford said. “So for them to come out here after two weeks of playing golf, play 18 holes and come eight strokes from placing third, it’s hard to be disappointed with that. Their attitudes are great. Their camaraderie with their playing partners and within their groups was great and that says a lot for the future of their season. They have the right attitudes and they want to find success. I’m very proud of how all our girls did today.”