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Conestoga’s Yao tied for lead at PIAA golf championships

All summer long, any high school golfer’s goal for the upcoming season is generally the same.

Make it to states.

On Monday, the PIAA Championships at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York finally arrived, and with it came some testing conditions.

On the girls side, Conestoga’s Samantha Yao posted an even-par 72 to finish tied for the lead with Peters Township’s Mia Kness.

Yao seemingly had an answer for all of her mistakes, quickly backing up each bogey with a birdie. She finished with three bogeys and three birdies, mixing in 12 pars.

Radnor’s Gabby Kim shot a 5-over 77, finishing with an eagle on the Par 5 No. 18.

She racked up 11 pars and five bogeys with a double on No. 12 en route to finishing tied for seventh.

Her sister, June Kim, sits tied for 12th after posting a 13-over 85.

On the boys side, it was a tough day for local players.

At the conclusion of the opening round, which included wind, cold and some treacherous pin locations, Nazareth Area’s Kevin Scherr held the lead after posting a 2-under 69.

The senior was sitting a 5-under through 14 holes before he ran into some trouble on the home stretch, posting a double bogey on No. 15 and a bogey on No. 17.

Pope John Paul II junior J.T. Spina finds himself tied for second with five others with a 2-over 73.

Behind Spina, Downingtown East’s Wills Montgomery represents District 1’s next best finisher, sitting eight strokes out at 4-over 77 tied for 10th. Montgomery birdied No. 2, but was then plagued by three consecutive bogeys on Nos. 4, 5 and 6 before posting a double-bogey on No. 12.

Spina, just a week removed from his silver finish at the East Regional at Golden Oaks in Fleetwood, fired four birdies and six bogeys, mixed in with eight pars Monday. He opened up at 2-under for his first four holes and hit 12 greens in regulation for the round. Spina ran into some trouble midway through the front nine, where he posted three straight bogeys on Nos. 5, 6 and 7 before moving back to even with a birdie on the par-4 No. 9.

Upper Dublin’s David Kim sits a stroke behind Montgomery at 78 while Bishop Shanahan’s Ryan Conners sits tied for 16th at 8-over 79.

Starting on No. 10, Conners posted a birdie and 11 pars, mixed in with four bogeys, a double bogey and a triple on No. 14. He made the turn at the clubhouse at 7-over, but started to piece it together on the frontside where he finished 1-over.

Given the conditions, Conners wasn’t one to complain after his round.

“Without holes 14 and 15, I played fairly consistent,” said Conners. “Looking back on my round, I’m more pleased than I thought with a 79.

“Going into (Tuesday), I’m just going to take the positives out of today’s round. I’m going to be giving myself better positions on the approach shots so I leave myself with shorter putts.”

Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet, North Penn’s Ron Robinson, Unionville’s Nick Gianelos and Norristown’s Caleb Ryan finished tied for 23rd at 10-over.

Methacton’s Kyle Vance posted a 12-over 83 while West Chester Rustin’s Luke Shevlin sits at 13-over after Day one.

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