HELLERTOWN - Ben Andrews would have loved the district title. And he gave it his best shot. But by finishing second Monday at the the District 11 Golf Championship Tournament, the Palmerton junior came one step closer to his primary goal.
"My No. 1 goal is get to states," he said. "If you can win districts or regionals along the way that's fine. I'd like to win but my ultimate goal is states. That's where the best players in the state are. That's where you want to go."
Andrews shot a 2-under 70 and had a two-stroke lead after the first 18 holes of the 27-hole event, held at Silver Creek Country Club in Hellertown.
He carded a 39 on the final nine holes, while Northampton's Evan Notaro, who shot 72 to tie for second through the early round, fired a 1-under 35 in the late afternoon round to win by two strokes.
"I played really well," said Andrews, who advances to next week's regional tournament along with the rest of the top 10 boys and top 5 girls. "I was in it the whole time. On the back nine, Evan shot really well and didn't let me make mistakes."
Playing Silver Creek's back nine for the afternoon round, Notaro was 2-under overall and a stroke ahead of Andrews and Emmaus' Zach Allinson through hole No. 15, the second of back-to-back par 5s.
The only player to hit the green on the par 3 16th, Notaro parred to gain another stroke on Allinson and Andrews, who each bogeyed.
Notaro and Andrews both made bogey on 17 and par on 18. Allinson doubled the 17th to fall a shot behind Andrews.
Notaro, a sophomore, felt good about his game after taking second place in last week's district qualifier.
"That boosted my confidence a lot," he said.
Andrews will make his first appearance at regionals. Last year he just missed it as he played in a five-player playoff for the final spot. He was pleased with his play this year.
"I was striking my irons really well," he said. "I was firing at a lot of pins, wasn't giving myself long putts. I wasn't having to try for par putts. They were tap ins all the time."
He made just two bogeys and four birdies over the first 18 holes. Then made four bogeys and one birdie on the final nine.
Notaro was just the third player to shoot under par in a district championship. He made four birdies and four bogeys in his early round and made three birdies and two bogeys on the final nine.
Northwestern freshman Cole Miller won a four-player playoff for 11th place and will be the alternate for regionals, which will be held Monday at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood.
Northwestern freshmen Nick Vecellio also qualified for districts, shooting a 124 (83-41).
In the girls tournament, Emmaus freshman Gabby Weiss shot 109 (72-37) to win by three strokes over three-time champ Stani Schiavone of Bangor.
Weiss, an accomplished player in national and regional junior tournaments, held a five-shot lead after the first 18 holes.
She hit 24 of 27 greens on the day and made 24 pars, one birdie and two bogeys.
"I was getting on the green and making a lot of two putts," she said. "On the two putts," she said. "On the first 18 I was making a lot of six-foot putts to save par."
District 11 Championship
(top 10 advance to Regional)
1. Evan Notaro (Northampton) 72-35-107, 2. Ben Andrews (Palmerton) 70-39-109, 3. Zach Alinson (Emmaus) 72-38-110, 4. Kyle Wambold (Emmaus) 74-38-112, 5. Mark Seager (Nazareth) 77-35-112, 6. Steve Kluemper (Freedom) 74-39-113, 7. Andrew Feldman (Parkland) 78-37-115, 8. James Bromwell (Blue Mt.) 77-39, 116, 9. Greg Merrick (Pottsville) 79-38-1117, 10. Collin Berger (Parkland) 78-40-118, 11. Cole Miller (Northwestern) 77-42-119, Tyler Earle (Sacuon Vy.) 81-38-119, Ryan Lauderman (Blue Mt.) 79-40-119, 14. Jamie Cresswell (Blue Mt.) 77-43-120, 15. Kevin Kunkle (Northampton) 80-41-121, Mike Dardet (Central Catholic) 78-43-121, Eric Perez (So. Lehigh) 83-38-121, Cole Haydt (Easton) 77-44-121.
Other area players
Nick Vecellio (Northwestern) 124.
(top five advance to Regional)
1. Gabby Weiss (Emmaus) 72-37-109, 2. Stani Schiavone (Bangor) 77-35-112, 3. Patricia Kline (Easton) 82-32-119, 4. Victoria Long (Northampton) 83-42-125, 5. Jasmine Singh (Beth. Cath.) 88-39-127.
Other area players
Devin Haddad (Northwestern) 102-46-148; Kaycee Gutsie (Marian) 105-49-154; Stephanie Peel (Marian) 110-52-162.
Held at par 72 Silver Creek Country Club