By Warren Rappleyea
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s boys golf team is off to a strong start thanks in large part to the play of senior Reid Bedell.
A key contributor to a Bulldogs team that won the overall NJSIAA Group II championship last year, he won the individual South-Central title and finished sixth at the Tournament of Champions. Impressive, sure, but the big lefty has been even better this spring, rarely shooting over par and helping his team to a 3-1 start. The lone loss came against St. Rose High School, which shared the Shore Conference’s B Central Division title with Rumson-Fair Haven last year.
“Reid really worked hard in the off-season because we lost several players to graduation and he wanted to fill the void,” Rumson-Fair Haven coach Brad Margolis said. “He’s always had success, but he’s just more focused this year. Reid has such a strong all-around game. He drives long, he can putt and he’s solid with the wedges. It’s exciting to watch him play.”
At the Wall Invitational April 4 at Jumping Brook Country Club, Bedell came from behind on the 18th hole, sinking a 30-foot plus putt to forge a tie with Westfield High School’s Justin Lankler and forcing a playoff. After the first extra hole, the two remained tied. Bedell made par and won the match on the second hole with an excellent shot out of a bunker that set up a short putt.
Westfield, however, won the tournament, edging the second-place Bulldogs by two strokes and ending Rumson-Fair Haven’s run of six straight.
“It was a tough day to play with the rain and wind,” Margolis said. “Reid didn’t let the conditions bother him at all. He’s the kind of player who doesn’t let a bad shot get to him. He recovers quickly and is right back on his game.”
Bedell, who will play for Lafayette College in the fall, won the Garden State Cup three days later at Blue Heron Pines in Galloway Township with a 3-over-par 75 to edge Jared Scheininger of St. Rose by one stroke. Rumson-Fair Haven tied for fourth in the team standings with Peddie School.
While Bedell has been outstanding, his Bulldogs teammates have been holding their own. Robby Coene shot an 84 to finish in a tie for 20th at the Wall Invitational. The senior is averaging 42 strokes on the year and has become a more consistent player, Margolis said.
Another senior, Luc Cogger, has earned a starting berth and is averaging about 40 strokes. Now in his fourth varsity campaign, Cogger’s steady improvement has made him a regular starter.
Sophomore Travis Weiner, who took second-place in the Shore Conference Tournament last spring, is averaging 41 strokes and is getting the ball where he wants it more often, the coach said. Weiner’s long tee shots generally put him in good position to break par.
Will Donovan has been a pleasant surprise. The sophomore played lacrosse last year but decided to concentrate on golf and has shown much potential in averaging 42 strokes. Sophomore Charles Cerami and freshman Cole Staisil are also playing important roles for the Bulldogs.
“We had a lot of talent last year, but this team is more consistent overall,” Margolis said. “Still, we can be better. It seems we have one player who shoots a little higher than the others. So overall, there’s always room for improvement.”