Five SOL Golfers Advance to State Tournament

Five SOL golfers – three boys and two girls – advanced to next week’s PIAA Golf Championships. 

By Ben Reese

FLEETWOOD -- It wasn't exactly a day you would pick to play golf.

But it was the day of the Eastern Regionals of the PIAA golf championships at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood. So play they did.

The wind was gusting 15-20 miles per hour, and the temperature never reached the 60s. Probably a more fitting day for football.

However, it was the day that three Suburban One League boys and two girls overcame the elements and qualified for the state tournament next week.

Advancing to states for the boys were William Tennent's Colin Walsh (75), Greg DeLuca of Neshaminy (77) and Central Bucks South's Kevin Anthony (78) along with CB East's Sophia Mancuso (81) and Cristea Park of Wissahickon (86) for the girls.

The cut line for the boys came at 79, meaning everyone who shot 79 or lower advanced. The cut line for the girls was 88.

Unfortunately, two SOL boys and one SOL girl did not make the cut. CB East's Patrick Sheehan just missed by one stroke with an 80 while Matt Fleming of Council Rock South (88) and Lizzie Palmieri of CB South (91) also fell short.

The only returnee to the state tourney is Park, who traveled to York last year. The rest of the golfers are all first-timers.

"It feels good," said Park. "I was really happy when I found out but I didn't shoot so well but no one did."

She did pass along a little insight into states, though.

"States is so much calmer," she said. "You're there and you've made it so far. You stay either way (there is no cut) and you can work on your game throughout the two days."

However, Park was bothered by the wind.

"I didn't realize how much it would affect my putting," she said. "The greens are fast here. It just kept rolling off the green or coming up short."

Anthony had the right idea when playing in the wind.

"It was brutal out there," the CB South senior said. "I was playing my ball a little lower than I normally do and I play a low ball. It was a big factor today.

"There were some holes where you can get into trouble. You've really got to keep the ball in play, get it on the green and make the putt."

He was also excited about his upcoming trip to states.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "It's my senior year so I wanted to try to do my best. I never thought I was going to states but I managed to get it done."

Mancuso had some trouble with the conditions.

"The conditions were fine in the beginning," she said, " and then there were two holes where the conditions got me."

The two holes she was talking about were the 15th and 16th on the par-72 course. She double bogeyed both holes, which completed a 44-stroke back nine to go with a 37 on the front.

"Fifteen was a par-3," Mancuso said. "I hit my 6-iron well, but the wind took it to the right.

"I got unlucky. It went across the cart path. I had a tricky up and down.

"On 16, my approach shot from 140 - the wind carried it and it went down the hill."

Despite the finish, Mancuso was happy about reaching states.

"I was going down 17, my last hole, and I was just hoping," she said. "Once I saw the scores, I was happy. It's my senior year and I'm just happy to make it."

DeLuca was aware of the wind conditions but managed to play through it.

"We knew the weather was going to be something to think about," he said, "but I try to go out and play the same golf no matter what the conditions are.

"I've only got one goal, to hit as many greens as I possibly can. It didn't help today but I still think it was an all-right day out there."

As a first-timer, DeLuca was a bit awestruck.

"Right now, I'm just trying to calm myself down and make sure everything goes as planned," he said. "As a senior, this is my last shot.

"I had to do it. To do it in my last year is awesome, incredible."

Walsh was more stoic about the weather.

"In the morning, it affected it a lot but toward the end it kind of slowed down," Walsh said. "I haven't played in this kind of weather in a while, so it was tough to get used to again."

Walsh remained stoic, even after making states for the first time and being the first Panther in 12 years to advance that far.

"I can't even say anything about it," he said. "It just shows me that hard work pays off.

"I just can't say anything right now. I'm just happy I worked hard to get there."

Walsh isn’t lacking in confidence.

"I started off a little shaky the first couple holes," he said, "but I remembered that I can hang with these guys. I just stayed in there and made a couple of birdies coming in. Making it through districts was a big confidence booster."

Now, the five will prepare for two days of individual golf against the best in Pennsylvania. The tournament will be played Monday, Oct. 23, and Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York. On Wednesday, teams will compete although no SOL team advanced to states.

2017 PIAA AAA East Region Golf Championships (Boys PIAA Qualifiers)
1. 3-3 Brock Fassnacht  Warwick  36-34 70  -2
2. 1-1 Ben Pochet  Spring-Ford  35-36  71 -1
3. 1-4 Caleb Ryan  Norristown  36-37  73  +1
   1-5 JT Sping  Pope John Paul II  37-36  73 +1
5. 3-5 Alex Seelig Exeter 36-39  75  +3
    1-5 Colin Walsh William Tennent 41-34  75  +3
7. 1-7 Ward McHenry Owen J Roberts 41-35  76  +4
    3-10 Karsen Rush Chambersburg  37-39  76  +4
   11-2 Brett Wagner Pocono Mountain East  36-40  +4
    3-16 Mason Wills Warwick  37-39  76  +4
11. 3-2 Timothy Cooper Central Dauphin 40-37  77 +5
      1-3 Greg DeLuca Neshaminy  39-38   77 +5
      1-10 Morgan Lofland Conestoga 39-39  77  +5
      3-12 Jacob Macinati Manheim Township  36-41  77  +5
      1-13 Joshua Ryan Norristown  37-40  77  +5
      3-7 Austin Schreffler Northern York  39-38  77  +5
17. 2-2 Shane Angle  Crestwood  40-38  78  +6
     1-7 Kevin Anthony CB South  40-38   78 +6
     1-10 Connor Bennick  Unionville  37-41  78  +6
20. 1-7 Liam Hart Holy Ghost Prep  39-40   79  +7
      11-7 Matthew Kalamar Allentown Central Catholic  39-40  79   +7
      3-4 Trey Kuntz Manheim Township  41-38  79  +7
      3-1 Joe Parrini Central York  40-39  79  +7
      2-1 Alex Pillar Wallenpaupack  40-39  +7

2017 PIAA AAA East Region Golf Championships (Girls PIAA Qualifiers)
1. 3-1 Kendel Abrams* Susquehannock  40-40 80  +8
2. 1-1 Samantha Yao  Conestoga  40-40 80 +8
3. 1-2 Sophia Mancuso Central Bucks East  37-44 81  +9
4. 3-7 Mary Kate Norcross  Chambersburg  44-39  83  +11
5. 11-2 Olivia Paltrow  Stroudsburg  43-41  84  +12
6. 3-4 Julianne Lee Central York  41-44  85  +13
    3-2 Ellen Wager  Manheim Township  44-41  85  +13
8. 1-2 Liddie McCook  Downingtown East  44-42  86  +14
    1-4 Cristea Park  Wissahickon  46-40  86 +14
    1-6 Charlotte Scully  Unionville  44-42   86  +14
11. 22-2 Allie Craig  Pittston Area  49-39  88  +16
     11-1 Sophie Orsulak  Blue Mountain  41-47  88  +16
*Kendel Abrams won the tournament in a playoff