Austin Barbin of Elkton, Md. had the day’s best round, a 1-under-par 70 at Bent Creek Country Club in Lititz, and headed a group of 22 players who took the first step Monday toward a possible berth in the Junior PGA Championship, which will be held July 31 to Aug. 2 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
The Junior PGA Championship is one of the major national junior events each summer. The Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour stop at Bent Creek earned the top finishers a ticket to the Philadelphia area qualifier for the Junior PGA Championship, which will be held next month at The Springhaven Club in Wallingford.
Barbin had four birdies, three of them in a bogey-free front nine, in bettering par over the 6,368-yard, par-71 Bent Creek layout, which gave him the top spot in the 16-to-18 division. Boys in both the 16-to-18 and 13-to-15 divisions were competing together in the battle to reach Springhaven in the overall 13-to-18 scoring.
Three talented players finished a shot behind Barbin in a tie for second in the 16-to-18 division, including Brock Fassnacht, who captured the PIAA Class AAA East Regional title at Golden Oaks Golf Club as a junior at Warwick, Caleb Ryan, who has reached the PIAA Class AAA Championship representing Norristown each of the last two falls, and Harvard-bound Brian Isztwan, the Penn Charter standout who has been the top regular-season performer in the Inter-Ac League the last two falls.
Fassnacht and Ryan each had four birdies on their scorecard while Isztwan had three birdies and an eagle on the 12th hole.
Logan Paczewski of Dallas finished alone in fifth with a 3-over 74. Episcopal Academy junior Case Hummer of Glen Mills, Alex Mulrooney of Wilmington, Del. and Matthew Lafond of Blue Bell shared sixth place, each carding a 75.
Andrew Curran, a senior at Malvern Prep from Media, Troy Kelleher of Clarks Summit and Jeremy Harper of Mountain Top finished tied for ninth at 76.
A.J. Aivazoglou, a senior at The Haverford School who helped the Fords capture the Inter-Ac title last fall, Thomas Butler of Telford and Stephen Lorenzo of Lower Gwynedd finished tied for 13th at 77. T.Y. Brinker of Wilmington, Del. and Hamilton McNaughton of Lancaster grabbed the final tickets to Springhaven out of the 16-to-18 division as they finished tied for 16th at 78.
Brian Isztwan’s younger brother Patrick, who capped his freshman season at Penn Charter last fall by winning the Inter-Ac’s individual title on his home course at Huntingdon Valley Country Club, took top honors in the 13-to-15 division with a 2-over 73.
Patrick Isztwan birdied the first and eagled the ninth and finished fifth in the overall 13-to-18 scoring, although he finished two shots behind his big brother in the battle for low-Isztwan.
Luke Thompson of Palmyra and John Bradbeer had two birdies each to finish tied for second in the 13-to-15 division, each carding a solid 4-over 75. Nicholas Ciocca of Devon and Karl Frisk of Spring Grove finished tied for fourth at 76.
Graham Calhoun, a Lititz guy playing not far from home, earned the final ticket to Springhaven out of the 13-to-15 division with a 78 that left him alone in sixth in the division.
Jake Shmonov of Harrisburg and Connor Strine, another Lititz entry, shared seventh, each posting a 79. Rounding out the top 10 in the division were Derek McGlaughlin of Elizabethtown and Winston Kelenc-Blank of Rumson, N.J., both of whom finished tied for ninth at 80.
The Girls Junior PGA Championship will be held July 9 to July 12 at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Ky. Pretty sure the local qualifier for the girls, which will be held June 21 at Riverton Country Club, will be open, so Monday’s Bent Creek stop was more of a regular Junior Tour event for the girls.
Casey Oppenheimer of Conshohocken finished up strong with four straight pars as she carded an 88 to take top honors in the girls 16-to-18 division. Jessica McClellan of Freeland was the runnerup with a 94.
Abigail Han of Hummelstown finished third with a 102 and Anna McCormick of Harrisburg was another shot behind Han in fourth with a 103.
Amanda Gerrish of Hummelstown had the best score of the day among the girls with an 80 that gave her the top spot in the 13-to-15 division. Gerrish got off to a fast start with a birdie at the first hole. Paige Richter of Camp Hill was the runnerup with an 85. Richter had two birdies in a sparkling front nine of 2-over 37 before cooling off a little on the back nine.
Kayla Maletto of Sinking Spring took third with an 89 that featured a birdie on the ninth, Julia Li of Hockessin, Del. was fourth with a 96 and Emma Schotsch of Philadelphia was fifth with a 99.
Tristan Groff of Lancaster parred the 13th hole to best the field of nine-holers with a 50 that earned her her first Junior Tour victory. Ethan Martin of North Wales birdied the ninth hole on his way to a 52 that gave him runnerup honors. Elora Walker of Philadelphia took third with a 55.