Andrews qualifies for States
Nancy Scholz/Special to THE TIMES NEWS Palmerton junior Ben Andrews shot a 4-over par 76 and earned a spot in next week's PIAA state championship.
FLEETWOOD - Some argue that putting accounts for as much as 50 percent of a player's golf game.
If that's true, then Ben Andrews' putter got him half way to this year's PIAA State Golf Championships.
The Palmerton junior rode a hot putter and solid overall game at Monday's PIAA East Regional to shoot a 4-over par 76 and earn a spot in next week's state championship.
"That's been the No. 1 goal since the beginning of the season," Andrews said.
He made four bogeys and one double, but countered them with two birdies and 12 solid pars to earn his first trip to states, which will be held next Monday and Tuesday at Heritage Hills Golf Club and Resort in York.
Andrews, the second-place finisher at last week's District 11 championship, opened his regional round with a bogey 5 on Golden Oaks Golf Club's second hole. He made up for that with a birdie at the next hole. After a bogey on No. 17, he was at 5-over par with two holes to play.
He calmly drained a 15-foot putt to birdie the par-5 18th. That stroke got him into a four-way tie for 22nd place and kept him out of a 10-man playoff for the 26th and final berth to states.
The clutch putt on 18 came after a layup and approach shot that spun below the hole and just onto the fringe. By that point in his round, Andrews had a lot of confidence in his flat stick.
"My putting was great today," he said. "I couldn't have asked for better putting. My irons were shaky, but not too bad. I played a little worse on the back. I had a couple bad second shots."
Andrews plans to consult former teammates and state tournament veterans Mike Englert and Dan Costenbader for any advice they can give him about Heritage Hills.
Andrews is hoping to get near medal contention next week.
"I'd definitely like to finish in the top 15," he said. "That would be a good number."
Lancaster Catholic's Bobby Stengel earned the top spot in Monday's regional. He shot 2-under 70 and beat District 4 champ Kyle Deisher (Montgomery) in a two-hole playoff.
Bangor senior Stani Schiavone was the top girls finisher at regionals, carding a 70 to finish four shots better than Aurora Kan of Chichester.
Central Bucks East won the girls East Region team title. Scranton Prep was second and will also advance to states.
The boys team title went to Council Rock North. Second-place Scranton Prep will also advance to states.