Caleb Ryan, a sophomore at Norristown, spent last fall butting heads, and more than holding his own, with some of the best players in District One.
Four players from the Pioneer Athletic Conference with among the 10 who represented the district in the PIAA Class AAA Tournament at the Heritage Hills Resort. They included Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet, who claimed the district title at Turtle Green Golf Course, Methacton’s Kyle Vance, a two-time District One champion who qualified for match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn. last summer, and Pope John Paul II’s J.T. Spina, the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour’s 16-to-18 Player of the Year in 2016. And Ryan.
The form that carried Ryan to Heritage Hills last fall was on display Saturday as he fired a 3-under-par 69 to win the 16-to-18 division of a Junior Tour stop at Bellamor Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
The wind was still blowing and it made the 6,313-yard, par-72 Bellamor play pretty tough for everybody but Ryan, who ripped off six birdies, including four on the back nine. It was a day for siblings, too, but more on that later.
Alec Ryden of Moorestown, N.J., who has been playing well in the early going in 2017, finished alone in second with a 6-over 78. Brian Isztwan, a junior at Penn Charter who was the Inter-Ac League champion as a freshman, joined Casey Carson of Wenonah, N.J. and Hayden Moffat of Hatboro in a tie for third at 81.
Harrison Graham, another entrant from Wenonah, finished alone in sixth with an 83 and Thomas Butler of Telford was another shot back in seventh with an 84. Finnian McGarry of Haddonfield, N.J. and Michael Morris of Ambler shared eighth place, each carding an 85. Daniel “DJ” Pinciotti III of Ivyland rounded out the top 10 with an 86.
Jackson Putney of Egg Harbor Township took top honors in the 13-to-15 division with a solid 1-over 73 that included two birdies, the second one at the finishing hole. Franklin Zhu of Warren, N.J. was the runnerup with a 75.
Caleb Ryan’s younger brother Joshua finished third with an 80.
Keeping the sibling theme going, Brian Isztwan’s younger brother Patrick finished in a group of three players tied for fourth at 81. Patrick Isztwan was a contributor as an eighth-grader last fall on a Penn Charter team that was a surprise contender for the Inter-Ac title all the way to the final mini-tournament of the season.
Joining Patrick Isztwan at 81 were Hayden Greer of Moorestown, N.J. and Jacob Sokalsky of Garnet Valley.
Matthew Lafond of Blue Bell finished alone in seventh with an 82, John Bradbeer of Bryn Mawr and Luke Watson of Royersford shared eighth place at 83 and Jake Maddaloni of Newtown Square rounded out the top 10 with an 86.
Olivia Perry of Millsboro, Del. captured the girls 16-to-18 title with an 86 that featured three straight pars to finish the round. Helen Shaw of Harleysville was the runnerup with a 113.
Victoria Kim of West Chester, making her first start of 2017 on the Junior Tour after a solid 2016, won the 13-to-15 division with a 91. Kathleen Mark of Media was just a shot back in second with a 92. Isabella McCloskey of Princeton Junction, N.J. took third with a 97.
Matthew Normand of Lumberton, N.J. topped the field of nine-holers with a 3-over 39 that included a birdie at the par-4 seventh hole. Sharing runnerup honors were Angelina Tolentino of Mount Laurel, N.J. and Nicholas Gross of Downingtown, who were a shot back at 40.
Winston Kelenc-Blank of Rumson, N.J. placed fourth with a 43, Julien de Brechard of Brooklyn, N.Y. was fifth with a 46, Sydney Yermish of Wynnewood was sixth with a 47 and Megan Adelman of Bryn Mawr was seventh with a 50.
Rex Matarazzo of Newtown Square finished eighth with a 55 and Jack Seitchik of Dillsburg was ninth with a 59.
The battle for 10th featured one final sibling rivalry for the day as the Fargnolis of Laurel Springs, N.J. were separated by only a shot at the end, Santino taking 10th with a 62 and Joseph finishing 11th with a 63.