The qualifier for a trip to the Junior PGA Championship? Qualifying for match play for the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Match-Play Championship (or the Philadelphia Women’s Amateur Championship for short), the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Brewer Cup senior event and the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Jay Sigel Match Play Championship? The Francis X. Hussey Memorial at Rolling Green Golf Club, one of the highlights on GAP’s junior schedule? The Philadelphia Section PGA’s William Hyndman III Memorial Classic at Huntingdon Valley Country Club? All on the same day?
What’s a golf blogger to do? On top of that, I had a night shift at the U.S. Traffic Network and an early wakeup call in hopes of catching a loop Tuesday at Stonewall. Since a trip to one of the top junior events in the country was on the line at Penn Oaks Golf Club and Concord Country Club, let’s try to recap the Philadelphia Section Junior PGA Championships for the boys and girls. I’ll catch up with everything else before the week is done.
I’m not completely sure if the boys and girls teeing it up for a trip to the Junior PGA Championship Monday at Concord and Penn Oaks, respectively, played 36 holes Monday or if the qualifier started Sunday and was completed Monday, but I do know who’s headed for the Girls Junior PGA Championship July 18 to 21 and the Junior PGA Championship July 31 to Aug. 3. Both events are being hosted by The Country Club of St. Albans in St. Albans, Mo.
The fields for both events have been expanded. In the past, each of the 41 PGA sections sent one boy and one girl to the national event, but this year each section will send two boys and two girls.
Agnes Irwin senior Katelyn Lees, a two-time Inter-Ac League champion, and Jennifer Cleary of Wilmington, Del. will represent the Philadelphia Section PGA at the Girls Junior PGA Championship after Lees edged Cleary for the Philadelphia Section Girls Junior PGA Championship.
Meanwhile, the Central York 1-2 punch of senior Joe Parrini and sophomore Carson Bacha will represent the Philadelphia Section PGA at the Junior PGA Championship after Parrini beat out his high school teammate for the Philadelphia Section Boys Junior PGA Championship.
Lees, who plays out of Philadelphia Country Club, apparently had a 4-over 146 at Penn Oaks, including a listed score of 3-over 74, so I’m going to guess that was her second-round score. Cleary, who plays out of Applecross Country Club, carded a 2-over 73.
Lees and Cleary, who plays scholastically at Tower Hill in Delaware, have been running into each other a lot this summer.
Cleary captured medalist honors in last month’s qualifier for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship with an even-par 71 at Silver Creek Country Club. Lees was the first alternate with a 4-over 75 and I’m sure has been hoping she’ll get a call or text or whatever from the USGA informing her that she’ll be joining Cleary July 24 at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo.
Earlier that same week, Cleary was the runnerup to Rylie Heflin of Avondale in the Pennsylvania Junior Girls’ Championship at Hershey Country Club’s East Course. Lees, bidding for a third straight state junior crown, finished tied for fifth.
Heflin made a strong run at the Philadelphia Section Girls Junior PGA title, posting a 75 Monday.
Among some of the other scores of note in the 16-to-18 division included Phoebe Brinker of Wilmington, Del. and Kendel Abrams of New Freedom, both of whom posted a 77, a 79 by Haley Quickel of Middletown, Del., an 81 by Notre Dame senior Olivia Traynor, who won the 2015 Inter-Ac title as a freshman, an 82 by Casey Oppenheimer of Conshohocken, the Junior Tour’s 16-to-18 Player of the Year in 2016, and an 87 by Maya Torpey of Malvern.
It was a pretty exciting day for Abrams as her pitching wedge at the 95-yard 12th hole at Penn Oaks found the bottom of the cup for her second career hole-in-one.
In the 13-to-15 division, Megan Meng of Pennington, N.J., Sunshine Gu of Yardley and Michelle Cox of Allentown each posted a solid 80. The West Chester duo of Victoria Kim and Lily Yang, and Charlotte Scully of Chadds Ford, all playing close to home, each carded an 84. Grace Lu of Edison, N.J. had an 89. And Hannah Lydic of Ocean View, Del., who has had a nice summer on the Junior Tour, signed for a 92.
Parrini and Bacha both had strong showings in the PIAA Class AAA Championship last fall at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort, which is probably in their backyard just outside York. Parrini finished tied for 11th as a junior while Bacha finished tied for fifth as a freshman.
Parrini made a splash by advancing out a local U.S. Open qualifier at his home course, The Country Club of York, this spring. He didn’t embarrass himself at the sectional qualifier at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., either, carding a pair of 75s and gaining a wealth of experience just teeing it up on “Golf’s Longest Day.”
According to a tweet the Philadelphia Section PGA sent out, at one point Monday Parrini birdied five straight holes, Nos. 2 through 6, at Concord and finished with seven birdies in a round of 71. Not to be outdone, Bacha fired a 69 Monday to earn runnerup honors and a ticket alongside Parrini to St. Albans.
Looks like Central York is going be strong at the top of its lineup this fall
Spring-Ford senior Ben Pochet, the reigning District One Class AAA champion, is the first alternate after carding a 71 Monday. It was a good tuneup for Pochet, who is headed for Andover, Kan. for the U.S. Junior Amateur, which tees off Monday at Flint Hills National Golf Club.
Austin Barbin of Elkton, Md. had the best second round of anyone, a 68, and is the second alternate.
There was a lot of good golf played at Concord Monday. Six boys in the 16-to-18 age group posted 73s, including Malvern Prep junior Andrew Curran, Nikita Romanov, the Junior Tour’s 13-to-15 Player of the Year in 2016 from Wilmington, Del., Richard Kline III of Kennett Square, Akhil Giri of Moorestown, N.J., Luca Jezzeny of Furlong and Lukas Clark of Holland.
Justin Dougherty of Drexel Hill and Jack Sullivan of Petersburg, N.J. each posted a 74.
Among the 13-to-15 group, which was led by Bacha, Matthew Hanzel of Sewell, N.J. had a 74, Logan Paczewski of Dallas, coming off a nice win in a two-day Junior Tour event at Blue Bell Country Club last week, had a 75, Joshua Ryan of Norristown, Connor Bennink of Kennett Square and Joseph Morganti of Havertown each had a 76 and Dylan Goonerate of Plymouth Meeting posted a 77.
A Philadelphia Section champion was also crowned for the nine-holers at Penn Oaks with Ethan Trinh of Plainsboro, N.J. claiming the title with a par on the second hole of a playoff after finishing tied with Matthew Normand of Lamberton, N.J. for the top spot at 9-over 80.
Nicholas Joyce of Quakertown finished third at 83 and Nicholas Ciocca of Devon and Benjamin Saggers of West Chester finished tied for fourth, each posting an 84.