YORK - Only 48 boys high school golfers were able to finish their season at the PIAA Championships Monday and Tuesday.
Palmerton's Ben Andrews was one of them.
The Blue Bomber junior capped his best high school season by shooting 77 on each day of the championship, held at Heritage Hills Golf Course and Resort in York. His 36-hole total of 154 was good enough for 24th place.
Pittston Area's Brandon Matthews finished first with rounds of 72 and 67 for a 3-under par. Bangor's Stani Schiavone tied for first and was in a three-way playoff, but bogeyed the first hole and finished third among the girls field.
"I hit a lot of good shots," Andrews said. "I just wasn't able to capitalize. My putting was just horrendous. It was nowhere near anything that I would want. I missed a lot of short ones. A couple I was in bad spots. I just missed a lot that I normally make."
In two days he made two birdies, 12 bogeys and one double bogey.
In Tuesday's round, Andrews hit nine fairways and 10 greens, but putted 35 times, which he estimated was five or 10 putts more than his typical good rounds.
Several players, including Andrews, talked about the difficulty of the Heritage Hills greens and the pin placements.
"They're fast and they've got them in some tough spots where you have to hit your irons real close or it's going to be easy to three putt," Andrews said. "This is definitely the hardest. You're hitting a lot of long shots on your second shots on the par fours. You have to know where the pins are. If you don't go in the general vicinity of the pin you're going to have long putts."
Andrews, who averaged 72 strokes during the regular season, finished in second place in both the Colonial League Tournament and the District 11 Tournament. He played rounds and tournaments at some of the area's difficult courses, but said none compare to the one he played Monday and Tuesday.
He was hoping to shoot around par and compete for a medal or maybe first place.
Although he performed a bit below those expectations, he surely proved he belonged in a tournament with the best high school players in the state. And while he could have been happier about his state tournament scores, he was still pleased with his season.
"I was in every tournament," he said. "My number one goal was to get to states. It feels good to accomplish it."