Pennsbury's Gu & CB East's Mancuso Finish One-Two at SOL Girls Golf Tournament:

Pennsbury freshman Jade Gu and CB East senior Sophia Mancuso finished one-two at the SOL Tournament on Wednesday. Photos provided courtesy of Keith Clemens Photography. CLICK HERE to go directiy to the Suburban One Sports GOLF GALLERY.

By Ben Reese

WARMINSTER -- Youth must be served.

And it certainly was on Wednesday when 14-year-old freshman Jade Gu of Pennsbury was the medalist in the Suburban One League girls tournament at Five Ponds Golf Club. She held off senior Sophia Mancuso of Central Bucks East to gain the win.

Gu shot a 73 and Mancuso a 77. They were the only two golfers under 80.

Gu grabbed the lead on the fourth hole with a par on the par-4 while Mancuso double-bogied the hole. It remained that way until the seventh when Mancuso notched a birdie to Gu's par, evening the scores.

Both players bogied the par-4 eighth. But Gu took the lead with a bogey on nine while Mancuso doubled the hole.

Gu retained her lead throughout the back nine. She pushed it to two shots on No. 10, three on No. 12 and four on the final hole.

Particularly impressive was the demeanor of the freshman playing in her first SOL championship. She did not seem rattled or nervous at any time during the round.

"If you had a bad hole, you try not to get too upset," Gu said. "No one is happy that they had a bad hole. I'm not happy either inside but I just try not to show it too much."

Does that help?

"(I try) not putting too much pressure on myself," she said. "At times, I do that and then things go really wrong. I just thought that if I mess up, it's going to be fine."

That could be where the nickname "Sunshine" came from.

"I started golf when I was really young (four years old)," Gu said. "My mom signed me up for my first tournament under my Chinese name which is pronounced in English like ShanShan.

"No one could say it right so they called me Shawn. So she (my mother) said that this is too hard. They're just going to call you Sunshine. It kind of stuck but now it's just a nickname."

For Mancuso, there had to be some letdown. She won the SOL title last year and would have liked to repeat.

"It was the same score (as last year)," Mancuso said. "But it was just kind of sloppy. It could have been better definitely.

"I didn't handle the wind as well as I could have. Sometimes I was short; sometimes I was long.

"The putts definitely could have been better. If I could have had a couple of one-putts that could have cancelled out the two-putts, I would have done better."

One example of the difficulties that Mancuso had on the course came on the ninth hole. Her tee shot ended up in the hazard, leading to a double bogey six on the par-4 hole.

"I hit a fairway wood and it had a little fade to it," she explained. "It started to slice.

"I just got unlucky. It hit the cart path and went in. I probably should have just taken a 4-iron and played for the middle."

The senior also had some problems with her course management.

"The biggest thing was that some of the decision-making was a little off," she said. "Some shots I either should have clubbed down or clubbed up. That's what kind of hurt me."

In all, 12 girls will advance to the District One tournament. While there were 18 spots allocated, only 12 girls recorded scores under the 98-stroke cut-off.

Making the cut in addition to Gu and Mancuso were Cristea Park of Wissahickon, Lizzie Palmieri of Central Bucks South, Min Kim and Josie Genuardi of North Penn, Council Rock South's April Xu, Victoria Monterossa and Parker Bria of Abington, Quakertown's MacKenzie Mulkiewicz, and Pennsbury's Jordan Hughes and Julie Cohen.

Mancuso is looking at the districts and regionals as something to be conquered.

"Last year, I made it to regionals and I didn't play that well," she said. "Right now, the goal is states.

"I'm going to take what I did today -- definitely not my best round -- and carry it forward. The goal is states so if I can make it there, that's what I'm looking for."

The District One Tournament will be held Monday, Oct. 9, and Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Turtle Creek and Gilbertsville. The boys will play both rounds at Turtle Creek while the girls will play their first round at Gilbertsville and then finish up the second round at Turtle Creek.


Suburban One League
Girls District One qualifiers
Jade Gu (Pb)                73
Sophia Mancuso (CBE)  77
Cristea Park (Wiss)       81
Min Kim (NP)               82
April Xu (CRS)             83
Lizzie Palmieri (CBS)    85
Victoria Monterossa (Ab)   90
Jordan Hughes (Pb)          92
MacKenzie Mulkiewicz (Q) 96
Josie Genuardi (NP)         97
Julie Cohen (Pb)              97
Parker Bria (Ab)              98