By Tim Morris
Rebecca Hamilton wishes she had more time to play golf.
“I really do enjoy golf,” she said.
However, the Howell High School senior has another sport to focus on: soccer. She is headed to Penn State University on a scholarship this summer, and her commitment to that sport limits her time on the golf links. So did basketball, which kept her occupied during the winter.
Hamilton was only able to play three rounds of competitive golf this spring, and she made the most of them. She was ninth at the Monmouth County Tournament, 12th in the Shore Conference event and first at her very last high school competition, defending her Freehold Regional High School District title at Gamblers Ridge Golf Course in Upper Freehold.
The Rebels’ standout carded a 91 to beat Marlboro High School’s Alisha Patel (94) by three strokes.
When Hamilton teed he ball up for the competition, a lot of thoughts were running through her mind.
“I was thinking this is my last time playing a high school sport,” she said. “It was a weird round for me. I was all over the place. I’d par three or four holes in a row and then have a triple bogey and a double bogey.
“I had no idea I shot that low. It was the same score I shot last year. I was very happy to win it.”
Her father, David, bought Hamilton her first set of clubs.
“He got me lessons, and I went from there,” she said.
Whenever she can, Hamilton will play a round with her father, which is something she cherishes.
“I like bonding with my dad. I wish I could play more [with him],” she said.
After playing soccer and basketball, Hamilton admitted golf is a nice change of pace because everything that happens on the golf course is controlled by the individual.
“I do like that it is different,” she said. “It’s a relaxing sport. I like it for what it is — an individual sport.”
Some may argue about golf being a relaxing sport, but it keeps with Hamilton’s personality. She is very relaxed on the soccer pitch or basketball court. She brings that calmness with her to the golf links.
Hamilton also likes uncorking a long drive and watching it as it soars in the air. She averages 250 to 255 on her drives.
“It’s a great feeling, I stand there and stare at it,” she said of the perfect drive.
The Rebel also considers her short game (chipping and putting) to be a strength.
Over the years, she has learned to put bad shots behind her.
“Every shot matters,” she said. “I try to be consistent.”
If there is a common thread between soccer, basketball and golf to Hamilton, it has to do with her drive for excellence. Anything she does, she said she wants to get better at.
Th reason that Hamilton wasn’t able to get to the golf course more often this spring is her traveling soccer team. The Player Development Academy (PDA) Arsenal U-17 squad won the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) national championship last summer, and the team will defend its national championship.
Hamilton is going to enroll at Penn State in the summer, leaving three days after high school graduation (June 26). The first practice is Aug. 3, and Hamilton is ready. She said she has a good chance of playing right away at centerback.
While soccer is her favorite sport, Hamilton pointed out that she won’t be playing it forever.
“You can play golf your whole life,” she said.
Another reason Hamilton likes golf is because of her college major: business. A lot of business is done over a round of golf, and she’ll be right at home discussing business and her golf game.
When Hamilton packs up for Penn State, she’s sure to include her golf clubs. Any chance she gets, she’ll sneak in a round of golf whenever she can to prepare for life after soccer.