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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Nicholas' game heats up in Junior Tour victory at Linwood

   Drue Nicholas of Egg Harbor Township, N.J. really got it going on his way to a 1-under-par 69 as he topped the 16-to-18 division in a Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour stop on a summer-like Sunday at Linwood Country Club at the Jersey Shore.
   Nicholas made an eagle on the par-5 ninth at the 6,237-yard, par-70 Linwood layout and then ripped off four birdies on the back nine. Jonathan Prussel, another Egg Harbor Township resident, didn’t back down, though, as he was the runnerup with a solid 1-over 71.
   Strath Haven sophomore Kevin Smith, gearing up for the Pennsylvania scholastic postseason, finished alone in third with a 3-over 73. Nicholas Campanelli of Manahawkin, N.J. and Dylan Gooneratne of Plymouth Meeting finished tied for fourth at 5-over 75.
   Justin Maul, another member of the Egg Harbor Township contingent, finished alone in sixth with a 76. Ryan Kennedy of Wayne and Michael Mitnick of Linwood, N.J. shared seventh place at 78, Christopher D’Alessandro of Waretown, N.J. was ninth with a 79 and Michael Festa of Ambler rounded out the top 10 with an 80.
   James Dalzell of Linwood, N.J. made five birdies on his way to a 2-over 72 that gave him a victory in the 13-to-15 division. Ryan McCabe of Media was the runnerup with a 76.
   Travis Dix of Howell, N.J. and David Fitzgerald Jr. of Bryn Mawr finished tied for third, each carding a 77. Winston Kelenc-Blank of Rumson, N.J. took fifth with a 79 and Stephane de Brechard of Brooklyn, N.Y. was sixth with a 90.
   Among the nine-holers, it looks like the Gooneratne girls of Plymouth Meeting have been practicing. Fiona birdied the par-4 seventh hole to top the field with a 4-over 38. Sister Rhianna finished third with a 42. Their improvement over the summer has been noticeable.
   J.P. Hoban of Hammonton, N.J. was the runnerup to Fiona Gooneratne with a 41.
   Hank Kancher of Philadelphia finished fourth with a 46, Luca Gherardi of Hammonton, N.J. was fifth with a 47 and Paul Reilly of West Creek, N.J. and Tommy Marshall of Marlton, N.J. shared sixth place at 48. Amit Limaye of Short Hills, N.J. finished eighth with a 53 and Harrison Card of Moorestown, N.J. was ninth with a 62.

Basso, Herr help Penn St. finish second in Nittany Lion Invitational

   You won’t hear Penn State coach Denise St. Pierre complaining about a second-place finish in a 14-team field, but she did admit a victory in the Nittany Lion Invitational, which the hosts led after two rounds, would have tasted a little sweeter.
   Big Ten rival Maryland was just a little better in Sunday’s final round as the Terrapins matched par, their 288 the day’s best round, as they claimed a five-shot victory over Penn State with a 1-under-par 863 total.
   Maryland grabbed the individual gold as Laura Van Respaille, a freshman from France, also had the day’s best round, a 2-under 70 over the 6,341-yard, par-70 Blue Course, to finish at 4-under 212.
   Two Penn State players, junior Cara Basso, the former Villa Maria Academy standout who claimed the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Match-Play Championship this summer, and sophomore Madelein Herr, the former Council Rock North standout, finished tied for second at 2-under 214.
   Basso, the 2012 PIAA Class AA champion as a sophomore, had a 1-under 71 in the final round while Herr, the District One Class AAA champion as a senior two falls ago, matched par with a final-round 72.
   “I said from the very beginning, before it even started, I knew this wouldn’t be a cake walk,” St. Pierre told the Penn State website. “I knew we had some competition here and it’s nice when you do. Unfortunately, it stings a  little bit when you come  up a  little short,  but  at the same time I’m hoping there’s some lessons we  pull out of  this and it makes us a better team in the future.”
   Penn State had bettered par in each of Saturday’s rounds with a pair of 1-under 287s (I gave them credit for a 2-under 286 in the second round in my post on the Day 1 proceedings) and held a one-shot lead on Maryland, which bounced back from an opening-round 293 with a 6-under 282, the best team round of the tournament.
   While Maryland matched par in Sunday’s final round, Penn State had a 4-over 292 to finish alone in second at 4-over 866.
   Penn State finished 14 shots clear of the rest of the field as reigning Colonial Athletic Association champion Delaware took third at 18-over 882 after a final round of 5-over 293. Ivy League champion Princeton was fourth at 889 after a final-round 298, Rutgers was fifth at 894 after a final-round 893 and Seton Hall struggled a little in the final round with a 306 to end up in sixth at 897. Penn, with a final round of 303, finished 11th at 919.
   Backing up Van Respaille for the Terrapins was Ludovica Farina, a junior from Italy who finished alone in sixth at even-par 216 after matching par in the final round with a 72.
   Maryland got a couple of strong showings from two other freshmen in nailing down the team title. Charlotte Lafourcade, like Van Respaille a French woman, finished alone in 11th at 3-over 219 after a final round of even-par 72. And Virunpat Olankitkunchai of Thailand had a final-round 73 to finish tied for 15th at 222.
   Xiaolin Tian, a sophomore from China, was also in the group with her teammate Olankitkunchai tied for 15th at 222. Tian struggled in the final round with a 78 after solid rounds of 73 and 71 in Saturday’s double-round.
   Penn State had a third player in the top 10 as junior Jackie Rogowicz, a two-time District One champion at Pennsbury, finished in a group of three players tied for eighth at 2-over 218. Rogowicz was at 1-under after rounds of 72 and 71 Saturday and finished up with a 3-over 75.
   Junior Lauren Waller, the runnerup in the 2014 PIAA Class AAA Championship as a senior at Canon-McMillan, finished tied for 20th at 224 after a final-round 78. Kamerine Taylor, a junior from Dublin, Ohio, struggled mightily in Saturday’s double-round, but bounced back with a final round of 2-over 74 that was a counter for the Nittany Lions. She finished tied for 58th at 236.
   Ashni Dhruva, a sophomore from Katy, Texas, took aim on being part of Penn State’s starting five with a strong showing over the weekend. Dhruva, who was one of the six players Penn State took to the Big Ten Championship last spring at TPC River’s Bend, competed as an individual and joined Waller in the group tied for 20th at 224 after a final-round 75.
   Among the other Penn State players who competed as individuals in the Nittany Lion Invitational, freshman Olivia Zambruno, the PIAA Class AA champion as a senior at Greensburg Central Catholic, finished tied for 43rd at 230 after a final-round 77, sophomore Megan McLaren, a Voorhees High product, finished tied for 55th at 235 after a final-round 76 and Ariana Coyle Diaz, a  senior from Ireland, finished tied for 63rd at 240 after a final-round 75.
   Delaware was led by Ariane Klotz, a sophomore from New Caledonia who finished tied for fourth at 1-under 215 after a final round of 1-under 71. She shared fourth with Harvard’s Anna Zhou, a junior from Palo Alto, Calif. who matched par in the final round with a 72.
   Finishing alone in seventh, a shot behind Maryland’s Farina at 1-over 217 was Yale’s Jennifer Peng, a senior from Highland Park, N.J. who matched par in the final round with a 72.
   Joining Penn State’s Rogowicz in the group tied for eighth at 2-over 218 were Princeton’s Tiana Lau, a junior from Hong Kong, and Ohio University’s Nicole Smiley, a junior from Dublin, Ohio. Lau matched par in the final round with a 72 while Smiley fired a 1-under 71 in the final round.
   Backing up Klotz for the Blue Hens was Ashley Dingman, a junior from Fairfield, Calif. whose final round of 3-over 75 left her tied for 12th at 4-over 220.
   Also for Delaware, Isabella Rimton, a sophomore from Sweden, finished tied for 25th at 225 after a final-round 75, Josefina Fernandez-Davila, a sophomore  from Peru, was tied  for 29th at 226 after a solid even-par 72 in the final round, and Valentina Mueller, a junior from Switzerland, was tied for 48th at 232 after a final-round 80.
   After sharing the individual lead following Saturday’s double-round, Seton Hall sophomore Maddie Sager, the PIAA Class AAA runnerup as a senior at Owen J. Roberts two falls ago, fell back with an 80 Sunday, but led the way for the Pirates as she finished tied for 15th at 6-over 222.
   Freshman Mia Kness, the PIAA Class AAA champion as a senior at Peters Township last fall, finished tied for 25th at 225 after a final-round 75. Senior Macky Fouse, the PIAA Class AA champion as a senior at Central Valley in 2013, finished tied for 35th at 228 after a final-round 75, Lizzie Win,  a sophomore  from Sylvania, Ohio,  finished tied for 43rd at 230 after a final-round 76 and Cassie Pantelas, a senior from Canton, Ohio, finished tied for 48th at 232 after a final-round 80.
Sager, Kness and Win all represented Seton Hall in last month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif.
   Sophomore Sammie Staudt, a former Coatesville standout, made it clear she plans to compete for a spot among the Seton Hall starting five. Competing as individual, Staudt carded a final-round 76 to finish tied for 20th at 8-over 224.
   Penn was led by Selina Zeng, a freshman from Oak Brook, Ill. who finished tied for 33rd at 227 and Christina Park, a sophomore from San Diego who finished tied for 35th at 228. Zeng and Park each finished up with a 3-over 75 Sunday.
   Also for the Quakers, Rina Jung, a freshman from Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., finished 42nd at 229 after a final-round 77, Chelsea Liu, a freshman from China, was 66th at 241 after a  final-round 82 and Michelle Yom,  a senior from Torrance, Calif., was  tied  for 69th at 243 after a final-round 76.

Watson's strong back nine gives him a Junior Tour win at Spring Hollow

   A strong back nine by Luke Watson of Royersford proved to be the difference as he won a scorecard playoff for the 13-to-15 division title after his 2-over 72 was matched by Jake Maddaloni of Newtown Square and Ryan D’Ariano of West Chester in the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour stop Saturday at Spring Hollow Golf Club on the outskirts of Spring City.
   Watson was awarded the top spot on the strength of his back-nine 34 while Maddaloni took second with his 36 on the incoming nine after a strong effort by all three players over the 6,006-yard, par-70 Spring Hollow layout on a perfect day for golf.
   John Olsen of Boalsburg and John Bradbeer of Bryn Mawr finished in a tie for fourth, each carding an 8-over 78. Jake Shmonov of Harrisburg and Luke Corcoran of Lansdale shared sixth place at 80.
Darren Nolan of Glenside and George Wicks IV of Phoenixville finished tied for eighth, each posting an 81, and Tyler Kenneson of Exton rounded out the top 10 with an 82.
   Nathan Pierce had four birdies on his card as he fired a 4-over 74 to take the top spot in the 16-to-18 division. Drew Steinmetz, a junior at The Hill School, was the runnerup with a 76.
   Axel Kalbach of Royersford finished third with a 77. Jack Murray, Steinmetz’s classmate at The Hill and a Stonewall looper, headed a group of three players tied for fourth at 78. He was joined at that figure by Liam Ward of Malvern and Conner Gollwitzer of Boyertown.
   Nikita Romanov of Wilmington, Del. finished alone in seventh with an 82 and Jack Hamilton of West Chester was eighth with an 83. Rounding out the top 10 were three players tied for ninth at 84, including Thomas Butler of Telford, Samuel Bertrando of West Chester and Will Horn of Narberth.
Angelina Tolentino of Mount Laurel, N.J. continued her strong play as she birdied the par-4 third hole on her way to a 79 that gave her a victory in the girls 13-to-15 division. Ava O’Sullivan of Exton was the runnerup with a 92.
   Serena Bagga of Blue Bell finished third with a 93 and Kaitlyn Ferrer of Kennett Square was fourth with a 103.
   Maya Torpey of Malvern had two birdies on her way to an 82 that topped the field in the 16-to-18 division. Torpey has been a winner in each of her last three Junior Tour starts.
   Grace Hickey of Downingtown and Jessica Shao of Pottstown shared second place, each posting an 85. Amanda Heins of Malvern finished fourth with a 94 and Helen Shaw of Harleysville was fifth with a 102.
   Daniel Shin of Horsham had six pars in a steady round as he carded a 3-over 38 to capture the top spot among the nine-holers. Ajeet Bagga of the Blue Bell Baggas was the runnerup with a  solid 41.
   Aidan Scott of Harleysville finished third with a 45 and Nicholas Joyce of Quakertown and Stefania Fedun of Glenmoore shared fourth place, each posting a 46. Kayla Maletto of Sinking Spring was sixth with a 47 and Kate Roberts of Phoenixville was seventh with a 48.
   Ethan Martin of North Wales finished eighth with a 49. A third member of the Bagga contingent from Blue Bell, Kiran, was ninth with a 54 and Angelo Seravalli of Philadelphia rounded out the top 10 with a 63.