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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bergstol dominates at Shawnee and some other things I've missed

   One thing I’ve discovered since trying to expand the reach of this blog a couple of years ago is that there is a lot of golf going on out there, more than this humble blogger can ever get to. And that’s a good thing. I’ve been running around the last few weeks trying to do some live blogging of some of the postseason high school championships. Here’s a couple of things I missed …

   Brian Bergstol seems pretty comfortable on the course where the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort assistant pro works.
   The Shawnee Open, which has a long and distinguished history, was played Oct. 7 and 8 and Bergstol, after grabbing the lead with an opening round of 5-under 67, really turned it on with a spectacular 8-under 64 in the second round to take the Philadelphia Section PGA event by six shots with a 13-under 131 total.
   Bergstol blistered the Shawnee layout with six birdies and an eagle.
   In the process, Bergstol beat probably the hottest assistant pro in the Section, The ACE Club’s Billy Stewart, who has captured the Philadelphia Open and his first Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship in recent months.
   Stewart, a product of Malvern Prep and Saint Joseph’s University, trailed Bergstol by two shots after opening with a 3-under 69. He added a solid 4-under 68 in the second round, which left him alone in second at 7-under 137.
   According to Philadelphia Section PGA website, Stewart is leading the Omega Player of the Year points standings.
   Bergstol and Stewart will head the contingent of assistant pros representing the Philadelphia Section PGA at the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship next month at the PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
   The senior division winner at Shawnee was Philmont Country Club’s Dave Quinn, who added a 2-under 70 to his opening-round 69 to finish fourth overall at 139.
   Quinn will be part of the group of senior pros representing the Philadelphia Section PGA when the Senior PGA Professional Championship, presented by Mercedes-Benz USA, tees off next week, also at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Laushell a winner in IJGT Philly Open

   Patrick Laushell of Morrisville bettered par in the second round with a 1-under 71 to cruise to 14-shot victory in the 19-and-under division of the IJGT Philly Open at Radley Run Country Club Oct. 6 and 7.
   Laushell had opened with a 76 over the 6,394-yard, par-72 Radley Run layout and ended up with a 3-over 147 total. Benny Hagerty of Manasquan, N.J. improved nine shots from his opening-round 85 with a second-round 76 to finish second at 161.
   Another local player, John Bradbeer of Philadelphia, was equally dominant in capturing a 15-shot victory in the 16-and-under division. Bradbeer finished up with a solid 1-over 73 after opening with a 79 for an 8-over 152 total.
   Peter Meehan of Fairfield, Conn. was the runnerup as he added an 84 in the second round to his opening-round 83 for a 167 total.
   Strath Haven sophomore Jackson Debusschere was another two shots behind Meehan in third at 169 after opening with an 865 and adding an 83.
   Debusschere’s remarkable recovery from giant cell myocarditis, an autoimmune attack on the heart muscle that was diagnosed in November of 2016, was the subject of really nice story by my former Delaware County Daily Times colleague Matthew DeGeorge last month. Looks like you can still get at it with a Google search and I can highly recommend it.
   Sarah Hendrickson’s trip to West Chester from Bel Air, Md. for the IJGT Philly Open was well worthwhile as she captured the girls 19-and-under division as she opened with a 94 and added a 99 for a 193 total.
   Rebecca Maude of Scarsdale, N.Y. was the runnerup as she improved 14 shots from her opening-round 107 with a 93 in the second round for a 200 total.

Semenetz-Wallace pair earn another trip to U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

   Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hill Course was the perfect venue for Sean Semenetz and Jack Wallace to try to earn a ticket to the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship for the fourth time in the short, five-year history of the event.
   The 31-year-old Semenetz is a Philadelphia Cricket Club member and the 34-year-old Wallace was a Cricket Club member before moving on to Burlington Country Club.
   Semenetz of Philadelphia and Wallace of Norristown teamed up for a 7-under-par 65 over the 7,113-yard, par-72 Militia Hill layout in a qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia Oct. 10 to grab one of just two available berths to next spring’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship along with co-medalists Andrew Rice and Josh Notes, a couple of Maryland guys from Parkton and Laurel, respectively.
   Notes and Rice, both 34, took a road trip to Whitemarsh Township because they felt the Militia Hill Course fit their games better than their home qualifier.
   They are such good golf buddies that when Rice earned a ticket into match play in the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall, Notes drove up to northwest Chester County and caddied for his buddy.
   Sementz and Wallace missed a seven-team playoff for the final six spots in match play by a shot in last spring’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at the Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Fla.
   They’ll give it another shot beginning May 25 at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore.
   Bandon Dunes hosted the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2015 when Brynn Walker, in the middle of an outstanding scholastic career at Radnor High, and her pal Madelein Herr, a Council Rock North standout, made it all the way to the semifinals. Walker is a junior on the North Carolina golf team while Herr is a junior on the Penn State golf team.
   It was the first time I had ever heard of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship and Bandon Dunes, which I saw during Fox’s coverage of the quarterfinal matches. I’ve been a fan of both ever since. The matches were played on the Tom Doak-designed Pacific Dunes Course and the breathtaking scenery was evident on the broadcast.
   Cory Siegfried, the 2010 Pennsylvania Amateur champion and a former Haverford School standout, and his partner, Adam Hofmann of Tampa, Fla. are the first alternates after carding a 6-under 66.
   A couple of other Maryland guys, Benjamin Shields and Mike Filler of Towson, matched the 66 posted by Siegfried and Hofmann and are the second alternates.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Haverford School completes perfect run through Inter-Ac invitationals

   With three of its players among the seven who shared medalist honors with a 36 on the tough Huntingdon Valley Country Club layout, The Haverford School completed perfect 30-0-0 run through the Inter-Ac League’s regular-season gauntlet of six invitationals with its sixth straight sweep Tuesday.
   Two of the Haverford School seniors, A.J. Aivazoglou and Peter Garno, carded a 36 and sophomore Jake Maddaloni also had a 36 as the Fords put together a 183 total to edge Episcopal Academy by three shots.
   Mac Costin added a 37 and Sam Walker had a 38 as the Fords put together another solid round. Episcopal Academy and Malvern Prep are both very good teams and shared second place in the final standings at 21-9. Both came close to at least denying Haverford School the top spot in a couple of the invitationals, but the Fords always had the answer.
   The Haverford School had already wrapped up the league title after five invitationals, but this team matches the feat of the 2012 team that featured Scott Jaster as a senior and Cole Berman as a junior in going 30-0-0. They are the only two teams to have pulled that off since the Inter-Ac went to the invitational format when golf moved from the spring to the fall in 2011.
Episcopal Academy, which carded a solid 186 team score, was led by junior Jacob Zeng and senior co-captain Robbie Copit, both of whom were among the large group of co-medalists at 36.
   Jacob Zeng’s solid round enabled him to finish first in the points standings the Inter-Ac puts together to determine the top player during the regular season. He is the first Episcopal player to capture that title and his 35.8 average was also the best in the league. More on the final individual standings in a minute.
   Episcopal Academy’s other senior co-captain and Jacob Zeng’s older brother, Mike Zeng, added a 37 and classmates James LeRoux and J.R. Rauscher added respective rounds of 38 and 39 to round out the counters for the Churchmen.
   Malvern Prep, which took third with a 189 total, was led by senior Matt Civitella, who also got a piece of medalist honors for the day with a 36. 
  Senior John Updike capped four years of excellence in Inter-Ac regular-season invitationals with a 38 and seniors Kevin Hagan and Chuck Andress posted respective scores of 39 and 40. Senior Andrew Curran and freshman Keller Mulhern each carded a 41, so either could be credited with the Friars’ final counter. Let’s give it to Curran since he has been an outstanding representative of the Malvern Prep program throughout his four years.
   The last of the seven players who shared medalist honors at Huntingdon Valley was Penn Charter sophomore Patrick Isztwan, who joined the group with a 36 on his home course. Penn Charter was the host for the invitational at Huntingdon Valley.
   Isztwan will be the defending champion when the top players gather Tuesday at Sunnybrook Golf Club for the Bert Linton Memorial Inter-Ac League Individual Championship. Isztwan carded a 75 at Huntingdon Valley to claim a win in the Bert Linton as a freshman last fall.
   The top 18 finishers in the points standings from the regular season qualify for the Bert Linton with each coach getting a wild card into the tournament. Isztwan was a wild card a year ago.
   Jacob Zeng held off Aivazoglou to finish atop the regular-season points standings at 241-24-17. To measure how much of an accomplishment it is for Zeng, you need only to check out the roster of talented players he beat.
   Aivazoglou, a left-hander who plays out of Rolling Green Golf Club, came on strong in the last few invitationals to finish second at 234-33-15 with a scoring average of 36.8.
   The Haverford School’s Mac Costin finished third with a 230-32-20 mark, his 36.7 scoring average slightly better than his teammate Aivazoglou.
   Civitella was solid all season for Malvern Prep and finished fourth with a record of 229-33-20 and 36.8 scoring average.
   The Haverford School’s Walker finished fifth with a 223-41-18 mark and a 37.2 scoring average. Malvern Prep’s Updike was sixth with a 219-49-14 mark and a 37.3 scoring average. And Haverford School’s Garno was seventh with a 214-49-19 and a 37.2 scoring average.
   The Haverford School had a remarkable seven players among the final top 12 in the individual standings with David Hurly finishing 10th, Charlie Baker 11th and Maddaloni 12th.
   Following Episcopal Academy and Malvern Prep in the final team standings were Germantown Academy (10-19-1) in fourth, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (6-23-1) in fifth and Penn Charter (1-29-0) in sixth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Penn State finishes 10th as host East Tennessee State takes Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate

   Penn State could be forgiven for being a little rusty in its first tournament action in a month last weekend, although the Nittany Lions probably would have been no match for host East Tennessee State, which edged Louisville by a shot to claim its first Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate team title in its 21st start in the event.
   Penn State had opened the season in impressive fashion by capturing the team title in the Rod Myers Invitational, hosted by Duke. But a rain cloud had been following the Nittany Lions around since then as first the Virginia Commonwealth Janney Invitational and then Cincinnati’s Bear Invitational were rained out.
   So Penn State was probably just happy to be on the golf course last weekend, even if the result was a 10th-place finish in defense of a team title the Nittany Lions won a year ago at the Blackthorn Club at the Ridges in Jonesborough, Tenn.
   East Tennessee State got the jump on the field with a sizzling 18-under 270 last Friday over the 7,147-yard, par-72 Blackthorn Club layout and never really backed off, adding a 9-under 279 Saturday and finishing up with a 5-under 283 that gave the Bucs a 32-under 832 total as they held off hard-charging Louisville.
   The Cardinals, behind individual winner Simon Zach, a senior from the Czech Republic, strung together three strong rounds themselves, opening with an 11-under 277, adding a 9-under 279 and finishing up with another 11-under 277 that left them at 31-under 833.
   Tennessee wasn’t much further back in third at 29-under 835. The Volunteers had a strong first two rounds, an 11-under 277 and a 10-under 278, before falling back a little with a final round of 8-under 280.
   Kent State got off to a pretty hot start itself with a opening round of 12-under 276 and doing that one better with a 13-under 275 Saturday that left it trailing East Tennessee State by just two shots heading into the final round. The Golden Flashes could only match par in the final round with a 288 that left them in fourth place at 25-under 839.
   Virginia Tech was another six shots behind Kent State in fifth place with a 19-under 845 total as the Hokies finished up with an 8-under 280 in Sunday’s final round.
   Penn State started slowly with a 6-over 294 before rebounding with a pair of 6-under 282 rounds that gave the Nittany Lions a solid 6-under 858 total. Not bad, but not in the same zip code as the top three teams.
   Jim Wilkes gave his young Villanova team a taste of the big time with a trip to Jonesborough and the Wildcats finished last in the field of 14 with a 27-over 891 total. After opening with a 299, Villanova posted a pair of 8-over 296 rounds Saturday and Sunday.
   You’ll never hear me criticize a coach for seeking some tough competition for his team. It can only make the Wildcats better in the long run.
   East Tennessee State was led by Shiso Go, a sophomore from Japan, who was the runnerup to Zach with a 14-under 202 total. Go matched Zach’s brilliant opening round with a 9-under 63 and added a 4-under 68 to take the lead at 13-under 131.
   Zach finished up with a 6-under 66 that enabled him to just get by Go, who finished up with a 1-under 71. I’m sure that elusive team trophy the Bucs earned was a nice consolation prize for Go.
   Geuntae Kim, a senior from South Korea, backed up Go by finishing among the group tied for 10th at 8-under 208. After opening with a 1-over 73, Kim ripped off rounds of 67 and 68.
   Trevor Hulbert, a redshirt junior from Orlando, Fla., had the Bucs’ second-best round, a 6-under 66, of their blazing opening round and went on to finish in the group tied for 12th at 7-under 209.
   Jack Rhea, a sophomore from Jonesborough, Tenn., finished among the group tied for 22nd at 3-under 213, his effort highlighted by an opening round of 4-under 68. Dhaivat Pandya, a freshman from Dayton, Ohio, finished alone in 76th at 230, which included a solid even-par 72 in Saturday’s second round.
   Zach opened with a 9-under 63, fell behind Go with an even-par 72 in the second round and then closed with a 6-under 66, sparking Louisville’s final-round surge and gaining the individual title in the process with a 15-under 201 total.
   East Carolina’s Blake Taylor, a junior from Atkinson, N.C., was another shot behind Go in third at 13-under 203 as he had three rounds in the 60s, a pair of 5-under 67s in the first two rounds and a final round of 3-under 69.
   Louisville also got a strong showing from Matthias Schmid, a sophomore from Germany who finished fourth with a 12-under 204 total. Schmid also had three rounds in the 60s, opening with a 69, adding a 67 in the second round and finishing up with a 68.
   Coastal Carolina junior Zack Taylor, who finished tied for fourth in the 2014 PIAA Class AAA Championship as a senior at Baldwin, finished fifth at 11-under 205, including a sparkling 6-under 66 in the second round.
   Missouri’s Jamie Stewart, a sophomore from Scotland, Virginia Tech’s Connor Johnson Jr., a freshman from Richmond, Va., and Tennessee’s Rhys Nevin-Wharton, a junior from England, shared sixth place, each landing on 10-under 206.
   Stewart added a final-round 69 to his back-to-back 68s in the first two rounds, Johnson started fast with a 6-under 66 and finished up with a 68 and Nevin-Wharton sandwiched a 2-under 70 with a pair of 4-under 68s.
   Penn State got an encouraging effort from senior Ryan Dornes, the runnerup in the 2014 PIAA Class AAA Championship as a senior at Manheim Township. Dornes opened with a 3-under 69, added a 1-over 73 and finished strong with a 4-under 68, tying his career best at Penn State, and was the Nittany Lions’ top finisher, ending up alone in 16th at 6-under 210.
   Ryan Davis, a junior from Berkeley Heights, N.J., finally shook off the rust with a career best final round of 6-under 66 as he and teammate Charles Huntzinger, a senior from Duluth, Ga., were among the group tied for 42nd at 1-over 217. Huntzinger sandwiched a 1-under 71 with a pair of 1-over 73s.
   Senior JD Hughes, a Carlisle product who won the 2017 Pennsylvania Amateur title at White Manor Country Club, sandwiched a 4-under 68 with a pair of 4-over 76s to finish among the group tied for 55th at 220.
   Rounding out the Penn State lineup was Alec Bard, a junior from New Hartford, N.Y. who finished in the group tied for 63rd at 222. Bard’s best round was a 2-under 70 in Saturday’s second round.
Also making the trip for Penn State and competing as an individual was sophomore Lukas Clark, a former Council Rock South standout who finished in the group tied for 66th at 223. His final round of even-par 72 was a college career best.
   Villanova was paced by its best player, Connor Daly, a junior from Bronxville, N.Y. who finished among the group tied for 47th at 2-over 218 as he sandwiched a 2-under 70 with a pair of 2-over 74s.
   Reb Banas, a sophomore Winnetka, Ill., finished among the group tied for 66th at 224 after a final-round 74. Freshman Matt Davis, a four-year standout at Malvern Prep, finished alone in 70th place at 225 after a final-round 75.
   Another freshman, Jack O’Hara of Loudonville, N.Y., finished in the group tied for 77th at 231 after a solid 1-over 73 in the final round and Mark Benevento, a redshirt junior from Ocean City, N.J., rounded out the Villanova lineup as he finished among the group tied for 79th at 233 after adding an 81 to a pair of 76s.