Three local golfers advance
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Mike Englert of Palmerton rolls a putt at the District 11 golf championships.
The scariest thing about the high school golf season is that if you have one bad round, the season could be over.
On Monday afternoon at Woodstone Country Club in Danielsville, District 11's best golfers took to the course and when the final score was posted, there were three area golfers moving on to the Regional Tournament at Golden Oaks Golf Course in Fleetwood.
Palmerton's Dan Costenbader and Mike Englert, along with Marian's Nick Tristani all made the cut.
Costenbader finished in third place despite having some trouble with the 40-degree temperatures and his irons early.
"I played alright," the Bomber senior and Colonial League champion stated. "I made some nice putts all day, but I just didn't hit the ball well. I didn't have it."
While most participants would have liked to move on, Costenbader is a perfectionist and naturally found some things to be upset with.
"Qualifying for regionals was the main goal today," he mentioned. "To win districts would have been nice, but to place in the top three is an accomplishment, as well."
When asked what needs to be improved upon in the next week, working up to the regional tourney, the state qualifier a year ago admitted, "I need to practice a lot. I want to hit the driving range and work on my irons. But mainly, I just need to stay relaxed and confident going into that tournament."
Costenbader had a 77 on his first 18 holes, before firing a 38 on the last nine to solidify his position.
Englert posted a 79 in the first round and came on with a 37 down the stretch to finish in a tie for fourth place. A play-off hole followed the 27 holes with Englert playing against James Cresswell of Blue Mountain for the fourth place medal. A bad hole resulted in the Palmerton senior taking fifth.
But according to him, as long as he was in the top 10, it didn't matter where he finished.
"I did what I was supposed to do today," Englert commented. "Although I putted pretty poorly, I thought the rest of my game was right where it should be.
"I'd like to get at least one round in at Golden Oaks, but mainly I want to work on my putting because that needs to improve."
"We're going to get some practice rounds in there," Palmerton coach Tom "Doc" Gilligan added. "We'll see if they have anything in particular that they want to work on, but for the most part, we aren't going to be doing anything different."
Gilligan, who had three players in competition, including sophomore Ben Andrews, was proud of the way all of his players rose to the challenge.
"I thought they all played spectacularly today," Gilligan stated. "The conditions were pretty rough with the cold and all three of them stepped up."
Andrew finished the 27 holes in a tie for the last qualifying spot, before heading to a play-off hole with three other players. However, a three-putt on that hole determined his fate.
Tristani had a nice day to round out the three qualifiers for regionals. After posting an 80 on the initial 18, Tristani came on with a 39 in his last nine holes to take sixth outright.
"My main concern was to get to regionals," the Marian senior mentioned. "At the beginning of the day, it would've been a bonus to win the whole thing. After my first 18, I was just hoping to get in and qualify."
Tristani joins the two Bomber golfers next Tuesday at Golden Oaks in hopes of moving on to the following round - the PIAA State Golf Championships. "I'm really excited because this is two years in a row that I've qualified for the regional tournament and I think I just need to focus on chipping and putting and obviously, my goal is to make it to States."
Parkland's Jordan Keller took home the District Eleven title with a 73-38-111 round with Matt Long of Notre Dame East Stroudsburg (76-37-113). On the girls' side, Stani Schiavone of Bangor bested the rest of her field and is more than likely a favorite at regionals and states this season.
Other local participants and their scores were: Ben Andrews (Palmerton) 82-40-122, Dave Behler (Lehighton) 93-47-140.
Girls: Katie Kenny (Pleasant Valley) 101-47-148, Emily Kennedy (Marian Catholic) 113-55-168, Kaylee Gutsie (Marian Catholic) 118-59-177, Alyssa Tirpak (Marian Catholic) 122-55-177, Steph Peel (Marian Catholic) 126-58-184, Angela Pavalko (Marian Catholic) 128-56-184.