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Monday, July 9, 2018

Sheehan captures title in Philadelphia Boys Junior PGA Championship, earns ticket to Valhalla

   Way too much golf going on Monday with the Golf Association of Philadelphia staging events for the old guys (qualifying for match play in the Brewer Cup) and the youngsters (the Francis X. Hussey Memorial), the Pennsylvania Golf Association holding qualifying for the R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship, the Philadelphia Section PGA playing one of its marquee events, the William Hyndman III Memorial Classic, and several local girls representing in the opening round of the Girls Junior PGA Championship in Lexington, Ky. But first things first, the Philadelphia Boys Junior PGA Championship. I’ll catch up with all the rest … eventually.

   A pretty good summer got really good for Central Bucks East senior Patrick Sheehan and a really good summer got even better for Central Bucks West senior Luca Jezzeny in the Philadelphia Boys Junior PGA Championship Monday at The Springhaven Club, a classy William Flynn design in Wallingford.
   Sheehan, who plays out of Talamore Country Club, had solid rounds of 71 and 72 at Springhaven for a 3-over 143 that bested a field that included a wide array of talented junior players and enabled him to claim the title in the Philadelphia Boys Junior PGA Championship.
   More importantly, Sheehan, the runnerup in the District One Class AAA Championship last fall, earned a trip to Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., where he will represent the Philadelphia Section PGA in the Boys Junior PGA Championship, one of the top national junior events each summer. The Boys Junior PGA Championship will run from July 31 to Aug. 3.
   Sheehan, who qualified for match play in both the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship and GAP’s Junior Boys’ Championship in back-to-back weeks last month, is a big kid who can hit it forever. I’m pretty sure Springhaven is more of a manage-your-game type of course than it is a bomber’s paradise and Sheehan got it in the hole in one less shot than anybody else in the elite junior field did.
   Jezzeny, who plays out of The Bucks Club and Doylestown Country Club, got the other ticket to Valhalla as his 4-over 144 total left him in a three-way tie for second with Garrett Engle of Harrisburg and Cole Shew of West Chester. Not sure if there was a playoff for that final ticket to the Boys Junior PGA Championship, but Jezzeny got it.
   Jezzeny had already earned a trip to Baltusrol Golf Club for the U.S. Junior Amateur when he was one of three co-medalists in a local qualifier at the Union League National Golf Club in Cape May Court House, N.J.
   So, in the space of a month, Jezzeny will get to test his game against the best junior players in the country at a couple of courses in Baltusrol and Valhalla that have staged numerous major championships and a Ryder Cup at Valhalla as well.
   Jezzeny opened with a 3-over 73 Monday and added a 1-over 71 to join the group a shot behind Sheehan.
   Engle opened with a 1-over 71 and added a 73 in the afternoon. After opening with a 76, Shew made a big move in the afternoon with the best round of the day, a sparkling 2-under 68 that gave him a 144 total. Engle is the first alternate and Shew settled for second alternate.
   The competition to reach Valhalla was among all the age 13-to-18 contestants who had earned the right to tee it up Monday at four qualifiers all around the region. But the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour broke down the scoring into its usual 16-to-18 and 13-to-15 divisions.
   J.T. Spina, who earned a trip to the PIAA Class AAA Championship in each of his last two seasons at Pope John Paul II, finished a shot behind the top four in fifth place at 5-over 145. Spina, who is headed for Saint Joseph’s later this summer, opened with a 2-over 72 and added a 73 in the afternoon.
   Noah Schwartz of Cherry Hill, N.J. nosed out his Penn Charter teammate Brian Isztwan for sixth in the 16-to-18 division as Schwartz posted a pair of 73s for a 146 total. Isztwan, who is headed for Harvard later this summer, added an afternoon 73 to his opening-round 74 for a 147 total.
   Isztwan, who plays out of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, was one of the other co-medalists along with Jezzeny at Union League National and will represent the Philadelphia area and the Inter-Ac League when the U.S. Junior Amateur tees off at Baltusrol next week.
   Charlie Baker, who helped The Haverford School claim the Inter-Ac League crown as a sophomore last fall, Troy Kelleher of Clarks Summit and Alex Pillar of Hawley shared eighth place at 148.
Baker, who plays out of Gulph Mills Golf Club, improved eight shots from his opening-round 78 with an even-par 70. Kelleher was the only player besides Shew to better par with a 1-under 69 after opening with a 79. Pillar, son of John Pillar, the director of golf at The Country Club at Woodloch Springs, opened with a 73 and added a 75 in the afternoon.
   Strath Haven junior Kevin Smith, playing on his home course, opened with a solid 3-over 73 before slipping back a little with a 76 in the afternoon to finish alone in 11th at 149.
   Graham Calhoun of Lititz topped the 13-to-15 division and was the only member of the younger group to crack the top 10 in the overall scoring as he joined the trio at 148 in the tie for eighth overall. Calhoun added a 75 to his opening-round 73.
   Joshua Ryan, who reached the PIAA Class AAA Championship while representing Norristown High as a freshman last fall, was the runnerup in the 13-to-15 division, a shot behind Coburn at 149. Ryan added a 75 to his opening-round 74.
   Haverford School sophomore Jake Maddaloni of Newtown Square was three shots behind Ryan in third at 152. Maddaloni added a solid 73 to his opening-round 79.
   Patrick Isztwan, who claimed the Bert Linton Inter-Ac League individual title as a Penn Charter freshman on his home course at Huntingdon Valley last fall, finished alone in fourth at 154. Patrick Isztwan matched big brother Brian in the opening round with a 74, but fell back with an 80 in the afternoon.
   Another player who was a freshman champion last fall, Devon Prep’s Ryan McCabe, the District One Class AA winner, shared fifth place with Karl Frisk of Spring Grove at 155. McCabe added a 78 to his opening-round 77 while Frisk improved seven shots from his opening-round 81 with a 74 in the afternoon.
   Jeffrey Homer of Wilmington, Del. had a pair of 78s for a 156 total that left him alone in seventh among the 13-to-15 competitors.
   Luke Watson of Royersford and Win Thomas of Unionville finished tied for eighth at 158. Watson opened with a 75, but struggled a little in the afternoon with an 83. Thomas improved six shots from his opening-round 82 with a 76 in the afternoon.
   Rounding out the top 10 in the division was John Bradbeer of Bryn Mawr, who finished alone in 10th at 162. Bradbeer added an 83 to his opening-round 79.

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