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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Purdue gets a boost from new low by Kan

   Several Delco female golfers have been making their mark on the college golf scene in the last couple of weeks, most notably Aurora Kan, the 2010 Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur champion and 2010 PIAA champion while a senior at Chichester.
   Kan, a three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, is a true freshman on the Purdue women’s golf team, which is ranked 32nd in the country.
   She had her best round as a collegian while helping the Boilermakers finish fourth at the Knights and Pirates Invitational, which concluded April 1 at the Suntree Country Club’s Classic Course in Melbourne, Fla.
   Kan’s career-best round, a 2-over 74 over the 6,145-yard, par-72 layout, came in the opening round. She added a 77 and 78 to finish in a tie for 39th at 229.
   Purdue was led by Paula Reto, who was the runnerup in the individual race. The South African fired a final round of 2-under 70 for a 2-under 215 total. Belgian Laura Gonzalez-Escallon tied for 15th with rounds of 79, 70 and 74 for a 223 total and redshirt junior Kishi Sinha saved her best round for last, a final-round 69 giving her a 227 total that left her in a tie for 32nd.
   Purdue had the low team score of the day in the last round with a 288. Combined with their first two rounds of 305 and 295, respectively, the Boilermakers ended up in fourth place at 888.
   The University of Central Florida, the tournament co-host, finished first at 877 (293-292-292), followed by Texas Tech at 878 (287-294-297) in second and Wisconsin at 881 (289-302-290) in third.
   Next up for Purdue is the Big Ten Tournament, which will be held in French Lick, Ind. This is the first time the men’s and women’s conference tournaments will be held at the same time at a neutral site.
Bernard earns a tie for 25th
   Lauren Bernard, the Notre Dame product who won the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Amateur championship last summer, overcame a slow start to finish in a tie for 25th while competing with Bucknell at last week’s Big South Tournament.
   Bernard made a huge splash at the Patriot Club in Ninety-Six, S.C. as a freshman a year ago when she finished second. She was unable to recapture that kind of magic this year, but after an opening-round 83, she posed a 75 and an 80 for a 238 total.
   The Bison were led by Bridget Wilcox, who had rounds of 77, 77 and 80 for a 234 total that left her in a tie for 13th. Kasha Scott had the Bison’s best final-round score, a 77, that left her shot back of Bernard at 239 and in 29th place.
   In the team chase, Bucknell finished seventh with rounds of 320, 311 and 320 for a 951 total. Campbell, making its return to the Big South, posted an 890 total to win the team title by six shots over defending champion Coastal Carolina. Brittany Henderson of Coastal Carolina captured the individual crown with a tournament-record 2-under 214 total.
Pellegrini is The Citadel’s best
   Erica Pellegrini, a two-time All-Delco at Garnet Valley, capped her sophomore season at The Citadel with a tie for 41st in the Southern Conference Tournament that concluded Tuesday.
   Pellegrini, a two-time PIAA medalist, was the low finisher for the Bulldogs with rounds of 85, 82 and 88 for a 255 total at the Moss Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head, S.C.
   Senior Alana Jean-Keith was a shot back of Pellegrini at 256 as she capped her career at The Citadel with a final-round 82. Freshman Kellie Anderson had the Bulldogs’ low single round of the tournament with a final-round 79 and fniished at 263.
   The Citadel was last in the very competitive 10-team field with rounds of 351, 346 and 336 for a 1,033 total.
   Chattanooga won its third straight Southern Conference team title with a 921 total. The Mocs were led by Jordan Britt, who fired rounds of 77, 71 and 74 for a 222 total that gave her the individual crown by three shots.
Open countdown
   With 421 days until the 2013 U.S. Open tees off at Merion Golf Club’s East Course, the first major of 2012, Bubba’s Masters, is in the rear-view mirror.
   A battle among Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson never materialized at Augusta. It looked like Phil might get himself a fourth green jacket until his tee shot in the par-3 fourth went awry and led to a triple-bogey six, from which he never recovered.
   But give credit to Watson. He hits it far and he can move the ball, crucial ingredients at Augusta.
   And Louie Oosthuizen gave us the moment of the tournament when his 4-iron from 253 yards found the cup for a double-eagle two on the par-5 second hole.
   He burned the hole on the final hole of regulation and the first hole of the playoff with Watson with putts that, had they dropped, would have given him a second major championship.
   The South African then backed it by traveling halfway around the world and then cruising to a three-shot victory in Malaysia.
   It will be an interesting runup to this year’s U.S. Open, which is the next major on the calendar in June at the Olympic Club.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Villanova has fine finish at Wildcat Invitational

   There were a couple of paragraphs in the Daily Times on a solid showing by the Villanova golf team at its Wildcat Invitational Monday and Tuesday at White Manor Country Club, but I thought it was worth an expanded look on T Mac Tees Off.
As was noted in the college roundup in the Thursday Daily Times, a couple of the Villanova mainstays, junior Steve Skurla and senior Brian Colbert, had really nice showings.
   The tournament began with 36 holes Monday and windy conditions, especially early in the day Monday, made it tough on all the players.
Skurla followed an opening-round 77 with a spectacular 4-under 67 over the 7,055-yard, par-71 White Manor layout. Skurla’s final-round 76 gave him a 7-over 220 total that left him in a tie for third in the 78-player field. It was his second top-10 finsih of the season.
Colbert was steady with rounds of 78, 75 and 72 for a 12-over 225 total that left him a tie for sixth.
   As a team, the Wildcats recovered from a rough start — they posted a 313 total in the blustery winds — to put up 297 and 292 totals in the final two rounds. Their 902 total left them in fourth place in the 14-team field.
   Ohio State, led by individual champion Matthew Turner (1-under 212), claimed the team title with an 891 total.
   "White Manor is an outstanding facility to host a tournament at and we were excited to have such a successful event for the second straight year," Villanova head coach James Wilkes said on Villanova’s website. "We had a great field this year and that was represented by a strong champion in Ohio State.
   "We were especially proud of our guys after falling behind through one round (Monday), yet they continued to fight and make quality shots on a tough course to climb all the way up to fourth in the standings. We feel very good about the way we finished this tournament moving into our final two events of the season."
   Junior Michael Kania, the two-time All-Delco and two-time Inter-Ac League champion at Haverford School, bounced back from an uncharacteristic opening round of 88 with rounds of 78 and 72. He finished in a tie for 47th at 25-over 238 and was the last of Villanova’s five scorers.
   Senior Bret McGaughey (79-77-72—228) finished in a tie for 16th and sophomore Robby Meador (79-80-77—236) was in a tie for 39th.
   One of the advantages of hosting an event is the opportunity for more of your players to tee it up and three other Villanova players competed as individuals at White Manor.
   Junior Derek Jones (81-80-75) matched Meador’s 236 total and finished in a tie for 39th, junior Jimmy Johnston (82-79-77), a Malvern Prep product, matched Kania’s 238 total and finished ina tie for 47th and sophomore Vince Boyle (81-80-80), an Archbishop Ryan product, finished at 241 and in a tie for 54th.
   Villanova will next tee it up in the Navy Spring Invitational April 21-22 as the season builds to its crescendo, the Big East Tournament April 28-30 in Orlando, Fla.
Kan, Purdue finish sixth in Georgia
   Aurora Kan, the three-time Daily Times Player of the Year at Chichester, continues to be a solid contributor as a true freshman on the Purdue golf team.
   Kan, the 2010 Pennsylvania women's amateur and PIAA champion, had rounds of 77, 80 and 78 to finish in a tie for 78th with a 19-over 235 total over the University of Georgia Golf Course to help Purdue finish sixth in the Liz Murphy Collegiate Classic, which concluded Sunday.
   The Boilermakers were led by junior Laura Gonzalez-Escallion, who put together brilliant rounds of 70, 69 and 71 to finish at 6-under 210. She was alone in second place, a shot back of individual champ Jennifer Kirby (66-72-71—209) of Alabama.
   Junior Kishi Sinha, a native of India, finished in a tie for 18th with rounds of 72, 73 and 73 and a 2-over 218 total.
   A strong middle round of 289 vaulted Purdue into a tie for fourth place, but the Boilermakers fell back with a final-round 296 to drop back to sixth at 878.
   Purdue entered the prestigious event ranked 33rd in the country, but finished ahead of several higher-ranked teams, including No. 7 Auburn, which was a shot back of Purdue in seventh, No. 23 Michigan St. (eighth), No. 25 Florida St. (13th) and No. 26 Oklahoma (11th).
   The Boilermakers will compete in their final tournament before the Big Ten Tournament when they tee it up at the Knights and Pirates Invitational next week in Melbourne, Fla.
It’s Masters time
Enjoy what is any golf fan’s favorite weeks of the year as The Masters tees off today at Augusta National.
It’s just 435 days until the 2013 U.S. Open comes to Delaware County and Merion Golf Club’s famed East Course for the first time in 32 years.