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Friday, September 30, 2016

Lees a winner in Helen Sigel Wilson Junior Invitational

   Kaitlyn Lees, a junior at Agnes Irwin, used her home-course advantage at Philadelphia Country Club to win the 15-to-18 age group at last weekend’s Helen Sigel Wilson Junior Invitational.
   The tournament honors the memory of Wilson, a Philadelphia Country Club member who was one of the finest amateur golfers produced by the Philadelphia area. She was a dominant figure in the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia, winning its Match Play Championship 12 times and was a two-time runnerup in the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She was a also a noted restaurateur.
   Lees, the reigning two-time Pennsylvania Junior Girls’ champion, had five birdies and two bogeys in carding a 3-under-par 71 on her home course. That gave her a four-shot edge on Jennifer Cleary of Wilmington Country Club, who was the runnerup with a 75.
   Morgan Sohosky of Berwick Golf Club took third with a 91 and Grace Hickey of Applecross Country Club was fourth with a 97.
   Lily Yang of Penn Oaks Golf Club captured the 12-to-14 age group with a 93. Christina Carroll was the runnerup with a 94 and another Penn Oaks player, Victoria Kim, was third with a 96.
   On the boys side, Doug Ergood of Tavistock Country Club took top honors in the 15-to-18 division with a 2-under 69. Mike Graeff of Manufacturers Golf & Country Club matched Ergood’s 69, but it appears the ties were broken through the first eight places.
   Dawson Anders of Indians Valley Country Club finished third with an even-par 71.
   Five players came in at 2-over 73 with the ties apparently broken so that Ryan Conners of Whitford Country Club finished fourth, J.T. Spina of Spring-Ford Country Club was fifth, Wills Montgomery of Whitford was sixth, Buddy Hansen of Blue Bell Country Club was seventh and Radnor High senior Michael Sydnes of Talamore Country Club was eighth.
   Talamore’s Ronald Robinson, winner of the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Jock MacKenzie Memorial this summer, finished in a tie for ninth with Danny Dougherty of Du Pont Country Club, each carding a 3-over 74.
   Tyler Zimmer of host Philadelphia Country Club captured top honors in the 12-to-14 division with a 77.
   Evan Barbin of Chesapeake Bay Golf Club was the runnerup with a 78. Ryan McCabe of The Springhaven Club also had a 78 and was placed third. Andrew Miller, also of Philadelphia Country Club, took fourth with an 80. Penn Charter freshman Patrick Isztwan of Huntingdon Valley Country Club also had an 80 and was placed fifth.
   Huntingdon Valley’s James Gradisek finished sixth with an 85, Max Giles of Philadelphia Country Club took seventh with an 88, Ben Sohosky of Berwick Golf Club was eighth with a 98, Winston Kelenic-Blank was ninth with a 101 and Luke Vaughan of Philadelphia Country Club rounded out the top 10, finishing 10th with a 102.

Pennsylvania finishes in a tie for eighth at USGA Men's State Team Championship

   Team Pennsylvania fell back a little in the final round of the USGA Men’s State Team Championship Friday, settling for a tie for eighth at the Country Club of Birmingham’s West Course in Birmingham, Ala.
   Christopher Crawford, who completed the best career in the history of the Drexel golf program last spring, and four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith both carded 3-over-par 74s over the 7,044-yard, par-71 West Course to give the Keystone State a 6-over 148 for the final day and a 5-over 431 total. That left them in a tie for eighth with Texas, nine shots back of Michigan, which captured the title with a 4-under 422 total.
   Pennsylvania had come into the final day in second place, two shots back of Connecticut at 1-under 283. The final member of the three-team Pennsylvania squad, Chip Lutz, the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion from LedgeRock Golf Club, carded a final-round 76.
   Crawford completed his golf eligibility last spring, but is in a five-year academic program at Drexel and is also helping out the Dragons as an assistant coach this season. His final-round 74 left him in fifth place in the individual standings at even-par 213.
   Michigan got a 4-under 67 from 48-year-old Tom Werkmeister, who was one of the three qualifying co-medalists at the recent U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall, to cruise to a four-shot victory and earn the state’s first USGA Men’s State Team crown.
   Evan Bowser backed up Werkmeister’s effort with a 1-under 70 to give Michigan a 5-under 137 for the day and a 4-under 422 total.
   Werkmeister shared medalist honors in the individual standings with Jay Whitby of Delaware at 5-under 208. Delaware failed to make the cut in the team competition, but Whitby was allowed to continue on in the individual chase and made the most of his opportunity, firing a 5-under 66 to get a share of the top spot with Werkmeister.
   “I missed a couple of putts early in the round,” Werkmeister told the USGA website. “I’m like, well, at least I’m hitting it close. I’ve got chances, right? And then the putts started falling and I started kind of getting in the groove.
   “It was just really, really cool, waiting for the last groups to come in, hanging out with our teammates, fist-bumping and hugging and slapping high-fives. At that point, I thought, win or lose, this is really cool.”
   North Carolina, which got a pair of 70s from Justin Tereshko and Scott Harvey, who suffered a heartbreaking defeat on the 37th hole of the Mid-Am final at Stonewall, finished in a tie for second at 1-under 425. Tereshko’s 4-under 209 total left him alone in third place in the individual standings.
   North Carolina was joined at 425 by Arizona, which got a 69 from Ken Tanigawa and a 72 from Cory Bacon for a final-round 141.
   Florida also had a final-round 141 to finish alone in fourth at 2-over 428. The Sunshine State was led by Joe Alfieri, who lost to three-time BMW Philadelphia Amateur champion Michael McDermott in the second round of the Mid-Am at Stonewall. Alfieri had a final-round 70 and finished in a tie for sixth in the individual standings at 1-over 214.
   Connecticut, which entered the final round with a two-shot lead, fell back with a final-round 149 and ended up in a tie for fifth at 4-over 430. Geoff Vartelas, who had helped Penn State reach the NCAA regionals as a senior last spring, had held the individual lead, but posted a final-round 79 to finish in a tie for 14th at 3-over 217.
   Connecticut was joined at 430 by Minnesota, which had a final-round 145, and Washington, which posted a final-round 144.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pennsylvania in second at USGA Men's State Team Championship

   Pennsylvania’s entry in the USGA Men’s State Team Championship at the Country Club of Birmingham’s West Course in Birmingham, Ala. couldn’t be more generationally balanced.
   Which is why it’s nice to see the Keystone State sitting in second place, just two shots behind leader Connecticut, with one round to go.
   The Pennsylvania team is comprised of an almost college graduate in Christopher Crawford, one of the premier mid-amateur players in the country in four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and three-time U.S. Walker Cup team member Nathan Smith and 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion and arguably the best senior amateur player on the planet in Chip Lutz.
   Crawford used up his collegiate eligibility last spring while completing the finest career in the history of the Drexel golf program, but he is in a five-year academic program at Drexel and is helping out the Dragons as an assistant coach.
   Smith and Lutz both failed to reach match play at a tough Stonewall earlier this month. Lutz then lost in the second round of match play in defense of his U.S. Senior Amateur title at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.
   Crawford, whose summer was highlighted by earning a ticket to the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, led Team Pa. in Thursday’s second round with a 1-under 70. Combined with his opening-round 69, he has a 3-under 139 that has him tied for second in the overall individual scoring.
   But the big prize in this event is the team title, which Pennsylvania, with Smith playing a big role, last won in 2009. And Crawford got a big boost from the 61-year-old Lutz, who won the Seniors Amateur Championship in England for the third time this summer. Lutz looked like he was going to go really low when he got it to 3-under with three holes to play, but he had a couple of tough holes at six and seven, his 16th and 17th of the day, to finish at even-par 71.
   Still, Team Pa.’s 1-under 141 gave it a 1-under 283 total for two days, two shots back of Connecticut’s 3-under 281.
   “I feel like I leaked some oil at the end and let my guys down,” said Lutz, the reigning six-time Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Player of the Year. “I played steady and hit some great shots, so I was pleased with that part of my day, but my score didn’t really reflect what I was hoping to get out of it.”
   Team Pa. was able to throw out Smith’s 74 Thursday, but his opening-round 73 was a counter in Wednesday’s opening round.
   Connecticut was led by Geoff Vartelas, who helped Penn State earn a spot in the NCAA regionals as a senior last spring. Vartelas added a 1-under 70 Thursday to his opening-round 68 and is the individual leader at 4-under 138.
   John Flaherty added a 71 to give Connecticut a 1-under 141 and its 3-under 281 total.
Arizona is another shot back of Pennsylvania in third at even-par 284. Arizona got a pair of 70s from Cory Bacon and Ken Tanigawa Thursday for a 2-under 140.
   Three teams, North Carolina, Minnesota and Michigan, are tied for fourth at 1-over 285.
North Carolina was led Thursday by Justin Tereshko, whose 4-under 68 has him tied with Crawford for second in the individual standings at 3-under 139. North Carolina also got an even-par 71 from Scott Harvey, who suffered a heartbreaking loss on the 37th hole of the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Stonewall two weeks ago.
   Michigan got a 1-under 70 Thursday from Tom Werkmeister, another name familiar to anyone who was paying attention to the Mid-Am at Stonewall. Werkmeister and Harvey were two of the three qualifying co-medalists at Stonewall.
   Pennsylvania got a strong third-place finish at last year’s USGA Women’s State Team Championship at Dalhoussie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo. The Keystone State was represented by former Chichester and Purdue standout Aurora Kan, former Radnor and current North Carolina standout Brynn Walker and former North Pocono and Penn State standout Ellen Ceresko.