RINGOES >> Angelina Tolentino made quite a first impression in her first high school golf tournament.
A freshman at Lenape High School, Tolentino shot a two-over-par 74 to capture the 2021 Red Devil Invitational April 12 in adverse conditions at the Copper Hill Country Club.
“I have been following Angelina’s progress over the past three years,” said Lenape coach Andre Lopez. “I taught her older sister and would often see Angelina and her father at the golf course. However, this was my first opportunity to really see her in action. The girls competing at the tournament had minimal time on the range to avoid any social distance violations. Fifteen minutes to be exact. But what I saw accomplished in that 15 minutes was beyond impressive. Angelina knows her game and her swing very well and prepares with a purpose. She did not waste one minute on that range or on the practice putting green immediately after.”
Tolentino’s preparation started long before she teed off at the 337-yard, par-4 first hole of the first girls high school tournament in the state in two years.
“Angelina’s focus and dedication to success — her own and the team’s — is unparalleled,” said Lopez. She spent hours the week before the tournament previewing the course details and flyovers available on Copper Hill’s website. Angelina leaves no stone unturned. And it shows on the course. Despite the miserable weather—cold, rainy—and very wet course conditions, Angelina attacked the course the only way she knows how, with a dedicated focus on each and every shot.”
Lopez continued: “After opening the front nine with a 40, she turned her game around and found some momentum to shoot two-under-par coming home. That impressed the tournament organizers at the scoring table following her round.”
Lopez believes he is seeing something special in Tolentino.
“We do not see this caliber of golfer in South Jersey very often. Girls golf in South Jersey has just taken off within the last year or two, so there have been minimal girls from this area who really had an opportunity to compete at these levels or could match the prowess of North/Central Jersey girls golf. I am sincerely impressed with how well she carries herself on and off the course. She is a classy and humble young lady who lets her game do the talking. It is easy in this sport to become over confident. I am certain that will not happen with Angelina. She is aware that her success requires constant attention to detail in every aspect of the game from preparation to the final putt.”
Tolentino finished two strokes better than Jenelle Valera and Sarah Shao of Wardlaw and Hartridge and Ava Lozito of West Essex, all of whom finished tied for second place at 76.
“It is an honor to be able to be a part of this young lady’s career and potential future in the game,” said Lopez. “She definitely made a statement on Monday, not only beating several of the top girls in the state, but also leading her teammates to a seventh-place team finish behind NJ.com’s top five teams to beat in the whole state. I am looking forward to seeing her game continue to grow and mature over the next four years as a Lenape High School golfer.”
Lenape placed seventh with a score of 401. Other scorers for the Indians were junior Kathryn Skidmore (36th; 104), senior Alexandra Kahn (tie 38th; 106) and junior Emily Farbaniec (tie 49th; 117).
The Indians won their first three matches of the season this week and Tolentino's has had the best score in each of those competitions.
When asked what he thought were the strong parts of Tolentino’s golf game, Lopez commented:
“I am truly impressed with every aspect of her game. From her practice/preparation to her pre-shot routines and on course play, she is a standout in every sense of the word. From tee to green, she has few, if any, weak spots. And if she does, she puts in the time to make them strengths. That innate and intrinsic motivation will open many doors for her in golf this year and into the future.”
Shawnee placed ninth with a 447 score.
Junior Maggie Bowman finished tied for 38th with a 106 for the Renegades, followed by freshman Holley Thomas (tie 41st; 107), sophomore Sam Tepes (tie 49th; 117) and junior Brielle Gilbert (63rd; 130).
For Cherokee, junior Alyna Densi finished tied for 30th with a round of 99. Senior Lauren Cotton (tie 52nd; 118) also competed for the Chiefs.
Wardlaw and Hartridge won the team title with a 307 score, followed by Montgomery (2nd; 340), Bridgewater-Raritan (3rd; 343), Pingry (4th; 378), Ridge (5th; 381) and Kent Place (6th; 386) ahead of Lenape.