The International Junior Golf Tour’s Faldo Series Northeast Championship last weekend at Hershey Country Club’s East Course was a tight battle after Saturday’s opening round.
It was until Joshua Ryan, who reached the PIAA Class AAA Championship representing Norristown High as a freshman last fall, went to work in the second round. Ryan fired a 2-under-par 69 over the challenging 6,725-yard, par-71 East Course layout in Sunday’s second round to cruise to a 10-shot victory in the 15-to-19 age group.
Ryan, who is home-schooled by Commonwealth Connections Academy, opened with a 6-over 77, which left him a shot behind Jaden Weisman of Malvern, who grabbed the lead with a solid 5-over 76.
But Ryan put away the field with his astonishing second round. He got off to a great start with birdies on the first two holes, made bogey at the fifth and made a third birdie on the ninth to conclude the outgoing nine at 3-under. A birdie at 14 offset a bogey at 17 on the inward nine for a 3-under 69 that was six shots better than anybody else shot the whole weekend and gave him a 4-over 146 total.
Will Knauth of Williamsport and Alec Ryden of Moorestown, N.J. shared second place at 14-over 156. Knauth had a pair of 78s while Ryden, who had a share of second with Ryan with an opening-round 77, finished up with a 79.
Weisman and Episcopal Academy sophomore Case Hummer finished in a tie for fourth at 157. Weisman added an 81 to his opening-round 76. Hummer added a 77 to his opening-round 80.
Logan Paczewski of Dallas improved six shots from his opening-round 82 with a 76 to finish sixth at 158. Penn Charter freshman Patrick Isztwan, who claimed the Inter-Ac League’s Bert Linton Memorial individual title last fall, had the second-best score of Sunday’s final round with a 4-over 75 after opening with an 84 to finish seventh at 159.
Jairus Gaines of Baltimore added an 83 to his opening-round 78 to finish eighth at 161 and Shaun Fedor of Lancaster was a shot behind Gaines in ninth at 162 after making a 10-shot improvement from his opening-round 86 to his finishing 76.
Edmund Broderick of Bayonne, N.J. and Jack Urban of Pittsburgh shared 10th place, each finishing up at 1673. Broderick added a solid 76 to an opening-round 87 while Urban opened with an 81 and added an 82.
Strath Haven sophomore Kevin Smith headed a trio of players tied for 12th at 164. Smith opened with an 81 and finished up with an 83. The day after the Northeast Championship, Smith nearly advanced out of a local U.S. Open qualifier at Hidden Creek Golf Club at the Jersey Shore, coming up short in a playoff for the final berth. I’ll get to this week’s two Open qualifiers in a later post.
Joining Smith at 164 were Logan Hess of Willow Street and Brandon Wilson of Perry Hall, Md. Hess and Wilson both opened with a solid 78 and both struggled to an 86 in the second round.
Derek Mcglaughlin of Elizabethown had to work overtime to capture the top spot in the 14-and-under division in a playoff with Lorenzo Sanz of Glen Arm, Md. after they finished tied at 168. A par on the third hole of the playoff finally gave Mcglaughlin the edge.
Both Mcglauchlin and Sanz carded 84s both days in landing at 168. Carter Pitcairn of Pittsburgh finished third, three shots behind Mcglaughlin and Sanz at 171 after adding an 85 to his opening-round 86.
Rocco Salvitti of Canonburg added an 88 to his opening-round 85 to take fourth at 173. Payne Plum of Southampton, N.Y. finished fifth at 180 after improving eight shots from his opening-round 94 with a finishing 86. Tyler Grogan of Parkton, Md., placed sixth at 202 after adding a 103 to his opening-round 99.
Mary Kate Norcross of Chambersburg was a runaway winner of the girls division, following up an opening-round 78 with an 86 for a 164 total that gave her a 13-shot margin of victory. Norcross, a junior, finished just outside the top 10 in the PIAA Class AAA Championship last fall, ending up in a tie for 11th at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort.
Kayleigh Zerman of Silver Spring, Md., added an 88 to her opening-round 89 to finish second at 177. Julianne Lee of York and Jessica McClellan of Freeland shared third place at 184. Lee, a senior at Central York, added an 89 to her opening-round 95 while McClellan was nine shots better than her opening-round 98 with an 89 in the final round. Lee is the player Norcross shared 11th with at Heritage Hills last fall.
Ava O’Sullivan of Exton was another shot behind Lee and McClellan in fifth place at 185 after adding a 99 to her opening-round 86. Sarah Hendrickson of Bel Air, Md. placed sixth at 193 after adding a 101 to her opening-round 92.
Cecilia Neff of Far Hills, N.J. took seventh, lowering her opening-round 100 by three shots with a 97. Paige Warren of Baltimore finished eighth at 201 by adding a 102 to her opening-round 99. And Sydnee Gaines of Nottingham, Md. placed ninth with rounds of 98 and 104 for a 202 total.