Ever since the Inter-Ac League moved to the fall and went to its mini-tournament format, either Haverford School or Malvern Prep had usually taken any drama out of the final regular-season invitational.
Not this time. After the Fords swept the next-to-last mini-tournament hosted by Episcopal Academy at Merion Golf Club’s West Course Tuesday, any of four teams can lay claim to the title with a strong showing in Wednesday’s final invitational, this one hosted by Haverford School at Gulph Mills Golf Club.
Haverford School’s Sam Walker was the medalist for the day with an even-par 35 on the front nine at the West, leading the Fords to a 223 total. One shot separated the next three finishers as Penn Charter was the runnerup at 231 and Episcopal Academy and Malvern Prep tied for third at 232. Springside Chestnut Hill Academy was fifth with a 255 and Germantown Academy was sixth at 282.
Episcopal Academy is in first place with a 17-7-1 mark, Haverford School is second at 18-7, defending champion Malvern Prep is third at 16-8-1 and Penn Charter is fourth at 17-8. It sets up a winner-take-all scenario for whichever of the four can take an outright 5-0 win Wednesday. A tie for first could certainly complicate matters.
Penn Charter was led by Brian Isztwan and Noah Schwartz, both of whom carded a 1-over 36. Isztwan, who won the Inter-Ac individual title as a freshman two years ago, put a little distance between himself and Malvern Prep sophomore John Updike in the individual standings and can take that race with a solid showing Wednesday at Gulph Mills.
Episcopal was led by junior Jon Perry, who posted a 1-over 36. Junior Cole Kemmerer had a 37, junior Ashton Dunn had a 38, senior captain Matt Marino had a 39, and freshman Jacob Zeng and sophomore J.R. Rauscher rounded out the counters for the Churchmen with a pair of 41s.
Malvern Prep was led by sophomore Matt Civitella, who posted a 2-over 37. Gavin Sims added a 38, Matt Davis, Andrew Curran and Griffin Kennedy each carded a 39 and Updike and Jack Hamilton each came in with a 40. The top six scores count, so the Friars could toss one of the 40s.