Hartefeld National Golf Club’s Rylie Heflin added a state junior crown to the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior title she won last summer and Hannastown Golf Club’s Palmer Jackson finally grabbed the trophy that had barely eluded him the last two years as the Pennsylvania Junior Championships, presented by LECOM and hosted by PinnacleHealth, concluded Tuesday at Hershey Country Club’s East Course.
Heflin carded a second straight 2-over-par 73 and survived a tense battle with her two playing partners, Jennifer Cleary of Applecross Country Club and Lauren Freyvogel of Treesdale Golf & Country Club, to claim the Pennsylvania Junior Girls’ title.
Cleary, who plays scholastically at Tower Hill in Delaware, had taken a one-shot lead over Freyvogel, who finished fourth in the PIAA Class AAA Championship as a sophomore at Pine Richland last fall, and Heflin with an opening-round 72 Monday.
And as much as birdies are emphasized, it was probably the six straight pars that Heflin finished with that won her the tournament. Heflin was holding a one-shot advantage heading into the final hole, the par-4 9th. She missed the green with her approach, but converted a tough up-and-down for the winning par. It gave her a 4-over 146 total.
“I felt comfortable down the stretch,” Heflin told the Pennsylvania Golf Association website. “As the round went on, I knew where I stood and what I needed to do to win and things just went well from there.”
Cleary added a 4-over 75 to her opening-round 72 and Freyvogel added a 74 to her opening-round 73 as they shared second place at 5-over 147.
Fox Chapel Golf Club’s Katie James, a member of Shady Side Academy’s PIAA Class AAA championship team last fall, finished alone in fourth at 150 after a 3-over 74.
Agnes Irwin senior Kaitlyn Lees, playing out of Philadelphia Country Club, came to Hershey looking for a third straight Pennsylvania Junior Girls’ title. Lees, a two-time Inter-Ac League champion, carded a second straight 77 and shared fifth place with Lydia Swan of Green Meadows Golf Club at 154.
Elizabeth Beek, just a seventh-grader at Wissahickon Middle School and the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour’s 13-to-15 Player of the Year in 2016, struggled a little Tuesday with an 82 and finished tied for seventh with Jessica Meyers of Oakmont Country Club at 158. Beek will be eligible for this event for a while.
White Manor Country Club’s Samantha Yao, the runnerup at the PIAA Class AAA Championship as a sophomore at Conestoga last fall, was one of three players tied for ninth at 159. Yao had an 80 after opening up with a 79.
Bethlehem Golf Club’s Samantha Fritzinger, a regular on Philly Junior Tour leaderboards, matched the day’s best round with a 2-over 73 to join Yao and Madie Smithco of Olde Stonewall Golf Club in the tie for ninth at 159.
Julianne Lee, who finished third in the PIAA Class AAA Championship as a junior at Central York on her home course of Heritage Hills, took 12th place at 162 after a second-round 78.
Molly Holbert of West Shore Country Club finished 13th at 163 after a 79 and Whitemarsh Valley Country Club’s Casey Oppenheimer, the Philly Junior Tour’s 16-to-18 Player of the Year in 2016, was 14th at 165 after an 85.
Notre Dame senior Brianna Marmorstein, who helped the Irish win their ninth straight Inter-Ac crown this spring, finished alone in 15th at 166. Marmorstein, playing out of Llanerch Country Club, added an 85 to her opening-round 81.
On the boys side, it also took a hard-earned par on the last hole to give the Pennsylvania Junior Boys’ title to the 16-year-old Jackson, the runnerup a year ago and a third-place finisher in his first try two years ago.
Much like the girls, the boys came down to a three-way battle among Jackson, Sewickley Heights Golf Club’s Chris Tanabe, who won the PIAA Class AA title as a senior at Quaker Valley last fall, and White Manor Country Club’s Cole Berger.
But Jackson’s steady, even-par 71, combined with an opening-round 70, gave him a 1-under 141 total. He fired a 34 on the back nine and generally played like somebody who had been there before.
“I knew the course very well from previous years,” Jackson told the PAGA website. “I just wanted to be around the lead in the second round and I was fortunate to be able to hold on.”
Tanabe had grabbed the opening-round lead with a brilliant 3-under 68, but dropped back into a tie for second with Berger at even-par 142 after posting a 3-over 74. Berger had a second straight 71 to get his share of second.
Rolling Green Golf Club’s Andreas Aivazoglou, a member of The Haverford School golf team, capped a solid showing with a 2-over 73 that gave him a share of fourth at 1-over 143. He was joined at that figure by Central York senior Joe Parrini, who added a 71 to his opening-round 72. Parrini earned a ticket to a U.S. Open sectional qualifier this spring with a strong showing in a local qualifier played on his home course, The Country Club of York.
Kevin Scherr, who won the PIAA Class AAA title as a senior at Nazareth Area last fall, matched par with a 71 to get a share of sixth place at 4-over 146.
Also at 146 were Karsen Rush, like Scherr a PAGA Individual Member, and Diamond Run Golf Club’s Jason Li, who recorded a second straight 73.
Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Conor McGrath, the qualifying medalist in last week’s Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior Boys’ Championship, finished in a tie for ninth with Justin Griffith of Wildwood Golf Club at 147. McGrath had a 4-over 75 while Griffith finished up with a 74.
Radnor junior David Colleran Jr., playing out of Overbrook Golf Club, was in a group of four players who finished tied for 11th at 6-over 148. Colleran finished up with a solid 2-over 73. Also at 148 were Hunter Bruce, a PAGA Individual Member, Garrett Engle of The Country Club of Harrisburg and Logan Hess, another PAGA Individual Member.
Colleran’s classmate at Radnor, Jake Calamaro, playing out of Rolling Green, finished in a three-way tie for 15th at 149. Calamaro, who earned a ticket to next month’s U.S. Junior Amateur at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan., in a qualifier at Carlisle Country Club, added a 4-over 75 to his opening-round 74.
Carson Bacha, who finished fifth in the PIAA Class AAA Championship as a freshman at Central York last fall, was also at 149 after a solid 1-over 72. The third member of the trio tied for 15th was Turner Grzegorczyk of Wildwood, who had a final-round 73.
Defending champion John Updike, playing out of Aronimink Golf Club, finished in a tie for 18th at 150. Updike, a Malvern Prep junior who has been one of the top players in the Inter-Ac League in each of his first two seasons, posted a final-round 77.
He was joined at 150 by Grant Gronka, a PAGA Individual Member, and Trey Kuntz of Lancaster Country Club. Both carded a 4-over 75 Tuesday.
The Junior/Junior Boys’ crown went to Darren Nolan of Talamore Country Club, who added a 74 to his opening-round 69 at the nearby Spring Creek Golf Club for a 143 total. David Fuhrer II of Oakmont Country Club and James Ulsh of Carlisle Country Club were tied for second, seven shots behind Nolan at 150.
The Junior/Junior Girls’ title went to Molly Gregor of Huntingdon Valley, who added an 89 to her opening-round 79 for a 168 total. Paige Richter of Carlisle Country Club was the runnerup at 176 after a final-round 90.
The PAGA also crowned team champions and Wildwood, behind Griffith, Grzegorczyk and Ryan Dougherty added a 223 to its opening-round 225 to take the title with a 448 total. Aronimink, with rounds of 226 and 230 was the runnerup at 456.
Applecross, behind Cleary, Radnor sophomore June Kim and Grace Hickey, captured the girls’ team title with rounds of 153 and 158 for a 311 total.