By Warren Rappleyea
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s Reid Bedell ended his interscholastic golf career in style with a three-stroke victory in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions (TOC) at the Hopewell Valley Golf Club May 23.
Despite a nearly 45-minute rain delay prior to the final hole, the Bulldogs’ senior fired off a 6-under par 66 — his best score to date — to outdistance Chris Lee of Bergen Catholic High School and Noah Wilpon of Watchung Hills Regional High School, who both shot 69s.
One of just eight players affected by the delay, Bedell headed to the last hole with a two-stroke lead and knowing it was his tournament to win or lose. Apparently unfazed by the pressure, Bedell birdied the hole to extend his lead.
“I wasn’t going to let it get away,” he said. “I was having a good day, particularly on the greens, so I really just wanted to play the last hole and get it over with.”
As a result of his first overall finish, Bedell also won the state Group II individual crown. Consistent throughout the round, the Rumson-Fair Haven golfer carded five birdies and an eagle en route to his dual wins. At the last year’s TOC, Bedell ended up losing a playoff for the Group II championship.
A week earlier, Bedell qualified for the TOC by winning the Central/South Group II tournament for the second year in a row. He shot a 75 at the Running Deer Golf Course on Pittsgrove to edge out Wall High School’s Luke Dougherty and Cranford Hgih School’s John Bush, who were both one stroke back. His strong performance helped Rumson-Fair Haven finish seven strokes in front of Wall to take the team title.
Earlier in the season, Bedell came from behind to win the Wall Invitational in the rain at the Jumping Brook Country Club and also won the Garden State Cup at Blue Heron Pines. He led the Bulldogs to a 10-3 record and a second-place finish in the Shore Conference’s Class B Central Division. Last year, Bedell took third place at the New Jersey Summer Classic. He has also played on the JGA Tour.
A four-year varsity player, Bedell had a solid freshman campaign and by the time he was a sophomore was arguably the Bulldogs’ best player on some very talented squads. Consistency was his forte, and it was clear Bedell was poised for big things this spring after winning Group II last season.
“Reid was already a good player, but he wasn’t satisfied,” Rumson-Fair Haven coach Brad Margolis said. “He’s big and strong, too, yet he spent the winter working on his game, and he’s even better now. Reid has a strong all-around game, but his best aspect is the mental part of the game. He plays a smart game and never lets a poor shot get to him.”
Bedell’s play attracted attention from several NCAA Division I schools, and he will play at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Naturally, the hard-working Bedell will spend the summer further honing his game to prepare for college.
“It’s always been my goal to play in college,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge, and I want to be ready.”