If junior golf in this area is thriving, and this blog provides enough anecdotal evidence that it indeed is, a lot of the credit has to go to Harry Hammond, the director of golf and part-owner of Penn Oaks Golf Club on the border of Delaware and Chester counties.
That’s why the Harry Hammond Invitational at Penn Oaks is always one of the special events on the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour schedule. The top finishers in the 13-to-18 age group for boys and girls become eligible for college scholarships. Grants are awarded after the submission of an essay by eligible boys and girls once they are about to embark on their post-secondary educational journey.
Hammond got the latest in a long list or honors when he was named the winner of the Labron Harris Sr. Award, which comes from the Golf Coaches Association of America in conjunction with the PGA of America, last year for his work as the golf coach at West Chester University. Yeah, he does that, too.
Pope John Paul II senior J.T. Spina, the son of a PGA professional, captured the boys title in a playoff with Richard Kline III of Kennett Square after each carded a 1-over 72 over the 6,535-yard, par-71 Penn Oaks layout.
Both players reached the first hole of the playoff in regulation, but Kline needed three putts and made bogey and Spina’s two-putt par gave him the victory.
Spina, the son of Philadelphia Cricket Club assistant pro John Spina, was the Junior Tour’s 16-to-18 Player of the Year in 2016. He was also the top finisher among District One competitors in the PIAA Class AAA Championship at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York County, finishing tied for third.
Alec Ryden of Moorestown, N.J., coming off a Junior Tour victory the day before at Scotland Run Golf Club, and another son of a PGA professional, Drew Steinmetz of Gilbertsville, shared third place, each carding a 2-over 73. Drew’s father Rich Steinmetz is the head pro at Spring-Ford Country Club.
Haverford School junior David Hurly of Newtown Square and recent Lower Merion graduate Alex Golland of Wynnewood shared fifth place at 74.
Rounding out the top 10 were four players tied for seventh at 75, including Ryan Tall, who claimed the Central League title at Conestoga last fall, Christopher Warren of Medford, N.J., Jack Sullivan of Petersburg, N.J. and Connor Bennink of Kennett Square.
Agnes Irwin senior Meghan Fahey captured the girls title with an 81 over a Penn Oaks layout that measured 5,766 yards for the girls.
Fahey won the Inter-Ac League crown at Notre Dame in the spring of 2016, transferred to Agnes Irwin and sat out last season, but will play one more season of scholastic golf for the Owls.
Olivia Maples of West Chester was the runnerup with an 83 and Casey Oppenheimer of Conshohocken, the Junior Tour’s 16-to-18 Player of the Year in 2016, took third with an 86. Jessica McClellan of Freeland finished fourth with an 89.
Liv Juliana of Malvern placed fifth with a 92, Elise Glauser of Newark, Del. was sixth with a 97, Savanna Haas of Pottstown was seventh with a 100, Episcopal Academy sophomore Amanda Jones was eighth with a 104 and Sarah Fernandes of Downingtown was ninth with 112.