SOL Golf PIAA Wrap (10-24-17)

Ben Reese recaps the action for SOL golfers at the PIAA State Championships this week.

By Ben Reese

YORK -- None of the five Suburban One League golfers who advanced to the PIAA Championships at Heritage Hills Golf Resort won a medal.

None of them finished in the top five or the top 10. None of them burned up the course in Tuesday’s second round.

Holy Ghost Prep's Liam Hart captured the boys AAA title with a 72-71--143, 1-over par. The girls AAA crown went to Pine Richland's Lauren Freyvogel with a 73-74--147.

But all five of the SOL golfers did come away from the tournament with a greater appreciation of what goes into the state competition and what is necessary to win it. Of the five, only one, Cristea Park of Wissahickon, had been there before. And she has another year to go.

"This round wasn't that bad but it's not my best," Park said. "But it's OK because I still have a year left.

"It's not even about placing. The way I think about it is that it's just about beating my score from last year."

She did, but just barely. Last year, Park shot an 83-89 for a total of 172; this year she shot an 88-83 for a 171 total and a tie for 14th place.

"It was a lot different for me this year, I think," Park said. "I changed as a person.

"The way I came into it I was a lot more relaxed. It's really mental right now.

"I know my skills will get a lot better. I know that this year my skills got better."

The other four golfers all agreed that the state tournament was "fun," not something you would expect in a competitive situation. Perhaps "fun" isn't the right word. Maybe "enjoyable" would be better.

For Central Bucks South's Kevin Anthony, it was "cool."

"It was certainly cool," said Anthony, who finished in 34th place with a 85-80--165. "It was a fun time."

For both Neshaminy's Greg DeLuca and Colin Walsh of William Tennent, that "fun" word came into the conversation.

"It was a lot of fun," DeLuca said, "other than a couple hours I spent on the golf course yesterday and one or two today.

"Everybody here was so great. It was fun to come here."

"It's been a very fun year," said Walsh. "I accomplished a lot of goals. I'm just a little disappointed that I didn't finish in the top 10 but that's all right."

DeLuca finished in 22nd place with a 87-75--156. Walsh was one shot behind him, in a tie for 23rd, with 79-78.

For CB East's Sophia Mancuso, it went as she expected.

"The experience was what I expected," she said. "Just the overall atmosphere and stuff like that."

Mancuso took 12th place in the AAA girls competition. She shot 89-81 for a 170 total.

Each of the five did experience their difficulties on Tuesday.

For Mancuso, it was her putting.

"I started out on 10, so my back nine was the front nine," she said. "I went 8-over there. On the front nine, I went 1-over.

"I definitely struggled with my putting, getting it in the three-foot circle in the beginning (of the round). My back nine, I had four one-putts whether it was for a birdie or a par save.

"Eighteen, I eagled yesterday and today. I guess I really like that hole. It's really a short par-5.

"The back nine was huge. I had a lot more confidence (on the back). I don't know why. I was just hitting the ball better and making putts finally."

For Anthony, it was his tee ball.

"Today was certainly better but still not what I was looking for at all," he said. "I just had a lot of trouble off the tee and you can't really do that at this course.

"It's a beautiful layout but it's just really tough. I just wish I could have played better. You have your stuff sometimes and sometimes you don't."

DeLuca acknowledged it was a struggle.

"It went a bit better," he said, "but it was still a struggle to score. I found it on the back nine for sure.

"I just like how I played on the back nine. I ended up shooting 2-under 34 (on the back nine).

"If I could have just put together one or two of those nines it would have been a different tournament for me. I couldn't get going and was struggling to make a lot of pars."

Walsh agreed with Mancuso on the difficulty with his putting.

"It was really tough out there," Walsh said. "It didn't help that I wasn't swinging too well either.

"Putts weren't falling. It was really rough.

"It was definitely a good test for everyone, but I just didn't hit it good at all. I'd like to finish a lot better senior year but I guess I could say I got here. Not many people can say that."

All in all, although no one came home with a championship, it was still a good representation for the Suburban One League.