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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kan helps Purdue finish in a tie for 15th at Landfall Tradition

   Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, was Purdue’s low finisher as the Boilermakers wrapped up the fall portion of their 2013-14 season Sunday at the Landfall Tradition, hosted by UNC-Wilmington at the Country Club of Landfall.
   Kan, a junior, wrapped her fall season in style with an even-par 72. Combined with her first two rounds of 76 and 81 that gave her a 13-over 229 total that left her in a tie for 32nd. Kan is one of the elder statesmen on a young Purdue team and it struggled to a 15th-place finish in the team standings, although the Boilermakers lowered their team total each day.
   Kan’s final-round 72 helped Purdue post a 303. The Boilermakers opened with a 316 and posted a 309 in the middle round.
   The rest of the Purdue lineup was tightly bunched behind Kan as sophomore Vinh-Hoa Ngo (82-72-77) was in a tie for 42nd at 231, sophomore Brooke Beegle (79-79-77) was in a tie for 57th at 235 and freshman August Kim (80-79-78) and junior Johanna Tillstrom (81-79-77) were in a tie for 65th at 237.
   Purdue will open the spring half of its schedule when it hosts the Lady Puerto Rico Classic at the Rio Mar Country Club’s River Course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico Feb. 16 to 18.
   Meanwhile, Kan’s scholastic rival Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA champion as a senior at Radnor, and her Illinois teammates were just down the coast at Kiawah Island, S.C. last weekend, wrapping up their fall season with another strong showing, finishing in a tie for fifth in the Palmetto Intercollegiate at Turtle Point Golf Course.
   The Illini have been playing so well this fall that their coach, Renee Sloan, was a little disappointed by the finish. She was particularly annoyed with the completion of the second round, which was suspended by darkness Sunday night. Sloan felt the Illini left some shots out on the course during that stretch.
   The middle round was their highest total at 302. Illinois opened with a 301 and finished up with a299. The Illini’s 902 total left them tied for fifth with the College of Charleston. They were just a shot behind fourth-place finisher GRU-Augusta and three shots back of third-place finisher East Tennessee St.
   Calamaro, a redshirt junior, struggled a little with rounds of 84, 79 and 81 for a 244 total that left her in a tie for 85th.
   Illinois was led by senior Ember Schuldt (77-70-77), who finished in a tie for 16th at 224, freshman  Stephanie Miller (76-75-75) and redshirt junior Samantha Postillion (73-80-73), both of whom were among the players tied for 22nd at 226, and freshman Emily Joers (75-78-74), who finished in a tie for 26th at 227.
   Bucknell senior Lauren Bernard, the Notre Dame product and Aronimink Golf Club member, had a strong showing at Turtle Point with rounds of 81, 75 and 78 that left her in a tie for 58th at 234. The Bison finished last in the 19-team field at 957.
   Maryland senior Emily Gimpel, a former Mount St. Joseph standout, had rounds of 79, 76 and 74 and finished in a tie for 36th at 229. The Terps finished three shots behind Illinois in seventh place at 905.

Jaster, Fahey help Dartmouth take fifth

   The Dartmouth men’s team finished its season a couple of weekends ago in the Ivy League match play at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster,  N.J.
  Freshman Sean Fahey, the former Episcopal Academy standout, picked up a point in a 4-3 victory over Cornell and another point in a 4.5-2.5 win over Penn. Freshman Scott Jaster, the three-time Haverford School All-Delco earned a half-point in a 4.5-2.5 loss to Columbia and grabbed a point for Dartmouth in the win over Cornell.
   Yale claimed the team title, followed by Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Dartmouth, Penn, Brown and Cornell.

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour continued its fall series with a trip to Greate Bay Country Club in Somers Point, N.J. last weekend and Delco’s top performers were some of the youngsters in the nine-hole division.
   Hayden Smith of Havertown was fourth with a 51, James Quinn of Radnor was sixth with a 53 and Joseph Morganti of Havertown was seventh with a 54.
   In the boys 13-to-15 age group, D.J. Colleran of Radnor finished in a tie for ninth with a 93 and Connor Hale of Garnet Valley finished 15th with a 112.
   Maggie Cass of Wayne finished third in the girls 13-to-15 age group with a 116 and Kimmy Sanna of Swarthmore also had a 116 as the only finisher in the girls 16-to-18 group.

Private School state tourney

   I ran out of room in my mention of last weekend’s Pennsylvania Independent School Athletic Association Tournament held at Stonewall Golf Club in the Fall Sports Notebook in the Thursday print edition of the Daily Times and just wanted to add a couple of the strong finishes by two Malvern Prep entrants.
   Senior Michael Davis finished second, a shot behind Episcopal Academy’s Trey Croney, with a 74. Davis also finished second a week earlier at the Bert Linton Inter-Ac League Tournament held at Merion Golf Club’s famed East Course. And Malvern Prep’s Brendan Bacskai capped a strong junior season by taking third with a 76.
   The event marked the final scholastic appearances for Davis, a Newtown Square resident and Aronimink Golf Club member, and Haverford School senior Cole Berman, the reigning Daily Times Player of the Year.
   The two have dominated the Inter-Ac the last four years. Davis won the Inter-Ac individual title as a freshman in May of 2011, the last time the Inter-Ac played a spring schedule, and led the Friars to the team title this fall. Berman, who is headed for Georgetown next fall, won Inter-Ac individual titles in 2011 and 2012 and helped the Fords win three straight Inter-Ac team titles.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Drama on the 18th at Heritage Hills

   There was some pretty high drama around the 18th green at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort as the four individual titles were decided at the PIAA Tournament Tuesday.
   But the finish of the Class AAA girls tournament was really something special. Radnor sophomore Brynn Walker had just finished her round and she played in the next-to-last group.
   Three of the girls in the last foursome were District One players who have dominated the state the last few years.
   Council Rock North senior Erica Herr burst on the scene as a freshman in 2010 when she denied Chichester’s Aurora Kan a fourth straight District One title by capturing the crown at Turtle Creek. Kan turned the tables on Herr by winning the PIAA crown in her senior season, but Herr was just getting started.
   As a sophomore Herr won the district and state titles.
   Last fall, Herr had a couple of new shooters to contend with. Mount St. Joseph sophomore Isabella DiLisio and Pennsbury sophomore Jackie Rogowicz fired opening-round 66s at Gilbertsville Golf Club and DiLisio held on to win the district tournament, just ahead of Rogowicz.
   But Herr knew the big prize was still there to be taken and she repeated as the state champion with Rogowicz finishing second.
   This fall, Rogowicz grabbed the district title, firing a pair of 69s at Gilbertsville and the Turtle to breeze to a seven-shot victory. Radnor’s Walker actually snuck into the picture with a runnerup finish.
Tuesday at Heritage Hills, Herr, DiLisio and Rogowicz were all in the final group, along with Lauren Waller of Canon McMillan, who had finished tied for third with DiLisio behind Herr and Rogowicz a year ago. Waller had actually taken the lead after Monday’s first round by a shot over Rogowicz and by two over Herr and DiLisio.
   As the day progressed, all those of us following Walker’s group had heard was that it was close.
   When those following the final group arrived at the 18th green, we started to figure out where everybody stood. Herr brought a one-shot lead to the final hole in a bid for a third straight state title. From what I can tell that would have been an unprecedented feat. Katie Miller of Hempfield Area won three state titles, but her run was interrupted in her junior year.
   So Herr looked like she was in pretty good shape for the three-peat. Headed for Wake Forest, Herr played in the U.S. Women’s Open last summer. She’s a big-time player.
   The 18th at Heritage Hills is a par-5 for the girls, a par-4 for the boys. Long hitters among the girls can easily hit it in two, as Radnor’s Walker did in the first round, using a 9-iron for her second shot.
Herr was safely on in three, about 20 feet away. It looked like a sure par, meaning it would take a birdie to force a playoff. DiLisio was a shot back.
   But DiLisio had reached the green – well just off it, in the fringe – in two shots. She later estimated it to be a 25-foot putt. I was directly behind her along with Team Walker. There was a large gathering around the 18th green as there often is during the state tournament. It looked a little less to me, maybe 20 feet.
   It was an uphill putt and DiLisio drilled it. It was good right off the face of the putter. It was going fast, but it was always right in the middle of the hole. Bang. Eagle.
   Suddenly, Herr’s putt was for a tie. And she was in no shape mentally to make it. It slid off to the right and three or four feet by. DiLisio, not Herr, was the champion. Herr was so shaken she missed the comebacker and then missed again for a four-putt seven. Not that it mattered to her. She was there to win it.
   Brynn Walker’s dad, Rocky Walker, has pitched for years in the Delco League. He couldn’t believe what he had just seen. It was that dramatic a moment. It had been so sudden and so final.
   When DiLisio tells the story years from now, she can say she beat the best high school player in Pennsylvania history.
   Taking nothing away from Miller, but her three state titles were in 1999, 2000 and 2002. The talent level among the girls has Improved exponentially since then. You could make a pretty good argument for Chichester’s Kan, who won those three District One titles and finished fifth, second, second and first at the state tournament.
   But Herr’s final three years were first, first and third (with the lead standing on the 18th tee in that last one). That is going to be tough to top. Not impossible, by any means, but tough.
   Kan set the bar high in District One. Herr met the challenge. And she kept the bar high and DiLisio and Rogowicz have raised their games to her level.
   Radnor’s Walker seems to have unlimited potential. It will be interesting to see how she does next year as DiLisio and Rogowicz exit the stage as seniors. It would be difficult to imagine them matching the theater we witnessed on the 18th green at Heritage Hills Tuesday.
   By the way, DiLisio and her Mount St. Joe teammates came back Wednesday and cruised to the PIAA Class AAA team title. DiLisio carded a 2-over 74 to lead the Mount to a 326 total, 44 shots clear of runnerup Penn Trafford.
   It was one shot higher than Radnor’s winning total of 325 in 2012.
   The outcome certainly validated the feeling that the state championship was actually decided two weeks earlier when the Mount defeated Radnor by five shots to win the District One title. The next chapter of that rivalry promises to be interesting as well in 2014.
   Upper St. Clair from the Pittsburgh area captured the Class AAA boys crown with an impressive 302 total. Grant Engel, who won the individual title a day earlier, actually had Upper St. Clair’s second-best score of the day with a 75. Teammate Thomas Steve, who also claimed an individual medal, led the way with a 71.
   Methacton, so dominant in winning the District One title, finally ran out of gas at states, but the Warriors out of the Pioneer Athletic Conference did finish second at 320. The brothers Vance led the way with District One champion Kyle firing a 73 and Brandon posting a 77. 

Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour

   The Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour picks right up where the scholastic season ends with a few more events before the weather turns. And Radnor’s Gabby Kim, a key player on the Raiders’ District One runnerup team, picked up a first-place finish in the 13-to-15 age group with an 81 at Honeybrook Golf Club.
   Katie Lee of Ringoes, N.J. matched Kim’s 81, but Kim, the Junior Tour’s Player of the Year in her age group, took the title on a tiebreaker.
   Maggie Cass of Wayne finished third with a 93.
   In the boys 13-to-15 age group, John Updike of Wayne finished in a tie for fifth with an 83. Connor Hale of Garnet Valley finished in a tie for 11th with an 89. D.J. Colleran of Radnor and Penncrest’s Michael Chang were among the players tied for 15th at 90. Strath Haven freshman D.J. Shelton was 21st with a 93. And Lucas Zhu was 29th with a 110.
   Among the nine-holers, June Kim of Wayne finished seventh with a 50 and James Quinn of Radnor finished eighth with a 52.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Forster falls in Philly PGA Match Play final

   Radnor Valley Country Club head pro George Forster reached the final of the Philadelphia Section PGA’s Match Play Championship this week at Little Mill Country Club in Marlton, N.J. only to be denied the title by Hidden Valley Golf Club’s Terry Hatch, who claimed a 3 and 2 victory.
   It was a seesaw final match that saw Hatch win the first two holes and Forster the next two to square the match. Hatch then birdied the next two holes to again open up a 2-up lead. Forster battled back to even with a birdie at 10 and a par at 11, but Hatch took control of the match by taking the next three holes.
   Forster won the 15th hole to cut Hatch’s lead to 2-up, but Forster ran out of holes when Hatch birdied the par-5 16th to finish off the victory.
   Forster had to fight off a stiff challenge from former Malvern Prep and Saint Joseph’s standout Billy Stewart in the semifinals. Stewart, who is back in the area after six years on the Florida mini-tours, fell, 1-up, to Forster. Stewart was the low pro at the Philadelphia Open last summer and took the big first prize in the Drexel Morgan & Co. Classic last month.
   Forster’s road to the final also included a 2 and 1 triumph over Trump National Golf Club (Philadelphia) pro Jake Gerney, a 19th-hole thriller over Concord Country Club head pro Mike Moses and a 5 and 3 triumph over Cardinal O’Hara product Anthony Napoletano of GolfTEC King of Prussia.
   At 65 years young, Linwood  native and St. James product Ed Dougherty, winner of nearly $6 million on the Champions Tour, teed it up in the Match Play and won a match before running into Spring-Ford Country Club head pro Rich Steinmetz, who ousted Doc, 5 and 4.
Stewart claimed a hard-fought, 2 and 1 decision over Steinmetz in the quarterfinals.
   Stu Ingraham, the head of instruction at the M Golf Range in Newtown Square, won three matches before falling, 3 and 2, to Applebrook Golf Club pro Dave McNabb in the quarterfinals. McNabb then battled Hatch to the final hole of their semifinal match before Hatch claimed a 1-up win to advance to the final.

Illinois gets the best of Purdue

   Delco’s two female PIAA champions, Jackie Calamaro, who won the title in 2009 as a senior at Radnor, and Aurora Kan, who claimed the crown in 2010 as a senior at Chichester, crossed paths at last weekend’s Hoosier Fall Invitational, hosted by Indiana University at Hickory Stick Golf Club in Greenwood, Ind.
   Kan is a junior at Purdue, which has set a standard of excellence in the Big 10 with its 2010 NCAA championship. The Boilermakers are coming off a third-place finish at last spring’s NCAA Tournament.
   So it was no small deal for the Illini to claim second place at the Hoosier, eight shots ahead of fifth-place Purdue.
   California-Davis, led by individual winner Betty Chen (72-69-69—210), ran away with the team title with an 868 total.
   Calamaro, a redshirt junior, competed as an individual, but her 233 total on rounds of 78, 80 and 75 left her in a tie for 55th.
   The Illini finished second at 884 with rounds of 298, 386 and 300. They were led by steady senior Ember Schuldt, who finished third at 2-over 215 with rounds of 73, 72 and 70. Freshman standout Stephanie Miller finished 11th overall and her 218 total included a sizzling second-round 69. Samantha Postillion, like Calamaro a redshirt junior, finished in a tie for 25th, freshman Emily Joers finished in a tie for 30th at 226 and Erin Ahern finished in a tie for 82nd at 240.
   Kan is taking on a leadership role on a Purdue team with some new faces. Kan and sophomore Vinh-Hoa Ngo were Purdue’s top finishers at the Hoosier as both posted 8-over 221 totals. Kan had rounds of 75,72 and 74 while Ngo, a transfer from Boston College, opened with a blistering 67 and then cooled off with rounds of 78 and 76.
   The Boilermakers got off to a good start with rounds of 293 and 294, but fell back to a 305 total in their final round for an 892 finish. Louisville was third at 887 and Ball State was fourth at 888. Another Big 10 entry, Penn State, was two shots back of Purdue in sixth place at 894.
   The Lions were led by two-time reigning Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur champion Ellen Ceresko, who had rounds of 75, 71 and 70 to finish in a tie for fourth at 3-over 216. Ceresko edged Kan in the semifinals on her way to her second straight state women’s amateur crown in August at Gulph Mills Golf Club.
   Also contributing for Purdue were junior Johanna Tillstrom, a Swede who transferred from Alabama, with a 224 total that left her in 24th place, sophomore Brooke Beegle, who was tied for 36th at 228, and freshman August Kim, who finished in a tie for 69th at 235.
   A week earlier, the surging Illini captured the title at the Diane Thomason Invitational, hosted by Iowa at the Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City, Iowa.
They were led by the freshman Miller, who captured individual honors with a 3-under 213 total. It was the first individual title for an Illinois freshman since Becky Biehl captured the Big Ten Tournament title in 1992.
   She helped the Illini post rounds of 299, 301 and 299 for an 899 total that was five shots better than Kansas.
   Calamaro, again competing as an individual, had rounds of 78, 81 and 80 for a 239 total that left her in a tie for 56th. Illinois got solid showings from Schuldt (225, tied for fourth), Postillion (228, tied for 11th), Joers (233, tied for 26th), Michelle Mayer (255, 73rd) and Ahern (235, tied for 34th), who was also competing as individual.
   Clearly, Calamaro can be a factor for the Illini as the fall part of the 2013-14 campaign turns to spring.
   Calamaro probably also ran into another old high school rival in Kansas junior Gabby DiMarco, the West Chester East product who lost in a playoff to Kan at the 2010 PIAA Tournament. DiMarco was also competing as an individual at the Thomason Invitational and had rounds of 79, 78 and 78 for a 235 total that left her in a tie for 34th.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Malvern Prep dethrones Haverford School in the Inter-Ac

   I previewed today’s Bert Linton Inter-Ac League Tournament as a lead to a Fall Sports Notebook in Thursday’s Daily Times.
   I mentioned that Haverford School’s bid for a fourth straight Inter-Ac team title had been seriously jeopardized with a 2-3 showing in the fifth mini-tournament hosted by Penn Charter at Huntingdon Valley Country Club.
   Malvern Prep seized control of the team race with a 5-0 sweep at Huntingdon Valley and the Friars finished the job Wednesday with another 5-0 sweep, their fourth sweep out of the six mini-tournaments that make up the Inter-Ac’s regular season, in the final mini-tournament hosted by Springside Chestnut Hill Academy at Sunnybrook Golf Club.
   That gave Malvern Prep a 27-2-1 record with Haverford School finishing second at 23-7-0. Episcopal Academy finished third at 17-12-1.
   As I mentioned to reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Cole Berman on the eve of that final mini-tournament, this season’s results only serve to highlight how good last year’s Haverford School team was. To pull off a 30-0 sweep in a league with all the golf talent the Inter-Ac has is a monumental feat.
   The cream rose to the top in the final individual standings from the six mini-tournaments as Malvern Prep senior Michael Davis and Berman finished 1-2. Davis’ record against the rest of the league was 239-31-12 while Berman ended up at 235-29-18.
   Last summer Davis, a Newtown Square resident and Aronimink Golf Club menber, and Berman both qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur at the Martis Camp Club in Truckee, Calif. Berman qualified for match play before falling in the first round. It was Davis’ second trip to the U.S. Junior Amateur, although he failed to make the match-play bracket.
   Malvern’s Mike Szipszky, who claimed medalist honors at Sunnybrook with a 35, matched Berman’s win total at 235, but placed third at 235-34-13 in the individual standings. Malvern’s Brandon Bacskai, who led the individual standings heading into the final mini-tournament, struggled a little at Sunnybrook, but still finished a solid fourth in the final accounting at 229-43-10.
   With Davis, Szipszky and Bacskai finishing 1, 3, 4, respectively, it’s no surprise that Malvern Prep was able to wrest the Inter-Ac title away from Haverford School.
   Haverford School junior Jay Losty capped a solid fall campaign with a 38 at Sunnybrook and ended up fifth in the final points standings. Episcopal’s top three players, Joe Chambers, Jack Cassdiy and Trey Croney finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. All three are juniors.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Jaster, Fahey come up big for Dartmouth at Philmont

   Two of the Inter-Ac League’s top players a year ago, Haverford School’s three-time All-Delco Scott Jaster and Episcopal Academy’s Sean Fahey, had strong showings as they came home this weekend as freshmen on the Dartmouth men’s team and teed it up in the Temple Invitational at Philmont Country Club.
   Jaster was Dartmouth’s top finisher as he carded a 1-over 71 Sunday to finish at 7-over 147 and in a tie for 24th. Fahey was the Big Green’s third-best finisher with rounds of 74 and 79 for a 153 total that left him in a tie for 62nd.
   The talented freshman duo helped Darthmouth finish in a tie for 14th with Saint Joseph’s at 612. Dartmouth had a pair of 306 rounds.
   Everybody was playing for second in the Temple Invitational, formerly the Big Five Invitational, as Hartford sophomore Evan Russell torched the Philmont layout with a spectacular 8-under 62 in Saturday’s first round and cooled off only slightly with a 68 Sunday. Russell’s 10-under 130 total was eight shots clear of teammate Anthony Vecchiarelli, who was the runnerup with a pair of 69s and a 2-under 138 total.
   Russell and Vecchiarelli led Hartford to the team title with rounds of 282 and 280 for a 562 total that was 15 shots better than runnerup St. John’s, which posted a 577 total. Cincinnati was third at 580.
   Philadelphia Open and Patterson Cup winner Brandon Matthews led host Temple with rounds of 68 and 73 for a 1-over 141 total that was good for fourth place. Matthews led the Owls to a tie for fourth with Harvard in the team standings at 582 (286-296).
   Former Haverford School standout Nelson Hargrove, a senior at Brown, had one of the stronger second-day scores with a 1-under 69 Sunday. That left him with a 3-over 143 total that earned him a tie for sixth. Brown finished tied for 16th in the team standings at 616.
   Former Radnor standout Tommy Horgan teed it up for La Salle and had rounds of 82 and 83 for a 165 total that left him in a tie for 91st.
   Monsignor Bonner All-Delco Michael Hartsough, a senior at Saint Joe’s, competed as an individual and played pretty well with rounds of 79 and 78 for a 157 total that left him in a tie for 73rd.

Bacskai leading the way for Malvern Prep

   Heading into the last of the six Inter-Ac League mini-tournaments Wednesday at Sunnybrook Golf Club, Malvern Prep junior Brendan Bacskai is leading the league’s individual points race and has the Friars on track to dethrone three-time reigning league champion Haverford School.
   The full results from last week’s mini-tournament at Huntingdon Valley have been unavailable, but reportedly Haverford School, which held a narrow 18-2-0 to 17-2-1 margin over Malvern Prep heading into the mini-tournament at Huntingdon Valley, finished fourth with the Friars taking over the top spot with a first-place finish.
   Bacskai is leading the way individually with teammate Michael Davis in second place. Davis, a Newtown Square resident and Aronimink Golf Club member, is a senior who won the Inter-Ac Tournament as a freshman in May 2011, the last year the league played a spring schedule.
   Reigning Daily Times Player of the Year, Haverford School senior Cole Berman, is third in the points standings. Berman has won the last two Inter-Ac Tournament titles and will try to make it three in a row when the league’s top players tee it up at Merion Golf Club’s famed East Course, site of the U.S. Open earlier this year, Saturday.
   Rounding out the top 10 in the points standings heading into Sunnytbrook are: Malvern Prep junior Mike Szipszky, Haverford School junior Jay Losty, Episcopal Academy junior Jack Cassidy, Episcopal Academy junior Joe Chambers, Springside  Chestnut Hill Academy freshman Chris Daiglish, Episcopal Academy junior Trey Croney and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy senior Jack Grasso.
   Paris Sterett, the Episcopal assistant coach who is always keeping T Mac Tees Off up to date with Inter-Ac golf doings, informs that Episcopal junior William Crager had a hole-in-one during the Churchmen’s match with Germantown Academy at Limekiln Golf Club recently.  Crager pulled out a 6-iron on the 155-yard second hole at Limekiln’s Red course and knocked it right in the hole.