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Pope John Paul II’s Spina places third at PIAA-AAA Boys Golf Championship

YORK >> Kevin Scherr’s cellphone was quickly blowing up after his round.

“I’ve got 21 text messages already,” he said Tuesday with a smile while looking down at his phone.

“That’s what happens when you win,” teammate Victor Tavares quickly responded.

Much like his phone, Scherr was shining brightly all over the course of the two-day PIAA-AAA Boys Golf Championship at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York on Tuesday.

Pope John Paul II's JT Spina finished third at the PIAA-AAA Boys Golf Championships. (Tom Nash - Digital First Media)

Pope John Paul II’s JT Spina finished third at the PIAA-AAA Boys Golf Championships. (Tom Nash – Digital First Media)

“It’s amazing,” he said, “it hasn’t even sunk in yet. I played beyond my expectations this week. Honestly, I didn’t even think I would be in the running here. There are so many good players and this course is so difficult. This is such an honor to wear this medal.”

A day after jumping out to a 4-stroke lead with a 2-under 69 on Monday, the Nazareth Area senior backed it with a 4-over 75 Tuesday to better the field by five strokes and claim the title.

“It was gut-check time, and he didn’t back down,” said Nazareth head coach Jarret Hoff. “With the wind and the cold weather, he played very smart, solid golf. He definitely deserved this.”

Scherr hit 13 greens in regulation for his round and landed in nine fairways. He used his putter 35 times, mixing in a pair of 3-putts. He posted a birdie on No. 1 and racked up five bogeys and 11 pars.

“My driver was by far my best club both days,” said Scherr. “It definitely helped me to give myself a chance, especially coming down the final few holes. Hitting the green becomes a lot easier from the middle of the fairway.”

Playing alongside Scherr, Cumberland Valley’s Campbell Wolf took home the silver, finishing at 7-over for the tournament.

Pope John Paul II junior J.T. Spina finished tied for third place with Latrobe sophomore Brady Pevarnik. Both entering the day at 2-over, Spina and Pevarnik each fired a 6-over 77 on day two.

“I was excited,” Spina said of playing in the lead group during his first try at states. “I knew I’d be in contention and I knew I still had a chance. There are a lot of good players here, so to be among the top group of them is really something special.”

Spina carried his emotions on his face throughout, gritting his teeth through two lip-outs and sporting a bright smile following his lone birdie putt on No. 7.

He drove nine fairways and hit nine greens in regulation, racking up 11 pars, five bogeys and his lone double bogey of the tournament on No. 14.

“One double in 36 holes,” he said. “I’ll take it. I really can’t complain about that. It was bound to happen at some point.”

After falling short during the opening round of the District One Tournament the previous two seasons, Spina made the 2016 postseason his most memorable by far.

He finished tied for 13th at districts, then backed that with a silver finish at the Eastern Regionals last week.

Admittedly, there’s a lot he can take away as he’s already started to shift his focus to his senior season.

“Hopefully this season is just kind of the start,” said Spina. “I showed myself that I can compete at the PAC level, the district level, the regional level and the state level. I’d say it’s been a pretty good postseason.”

Upper Dublin senior David Kim was the area’s next best finisher, claiming a ninth-place tie with Franklin Regional’s Palmer Jackson at 12-over 154.

Kim backed his 7-over 78 on day one with a 5-over 76 on day two. He finished with a birdie, four bogeys, a double bogey and 12 pars in between.

North Penn’s Ron Robinson finished tied for 14th with a 157.

A season after Methacton’s Kyle Vance and Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet finished tied for 21st, the two wound up finishing together yet again tied for 17th at 158. Vance posted a 4-over 75 Tuesday while Pochet shot a 6-over 77.

Downingtown East’s Wills Montgomery finished tied for 20th at 159 while Norristown’s Caleb Ryan and Unionville’s Nick Gianelos were close behind at 160 to tie for 23rd.

Bishop Shanahan junior Ryan Conners shot an 85 on day two after posting a 79 while West Chester Rustin’s Luke Shevlin took 34th with a 166.

From the Red Tees

Conestoga sophomore Samantha Yao finished second in the girls PIAA-AAA Championships on Tuesday afternoon with a 2-over 144.

A day after working her way to the top of the leaderboard tied for first, Yao got off to a rough start Tuesday, which eventually enabled Peters Township senior Mia Kness to claim the gold with an even-par 144.

“I didn’t have my A-game early on,” said Yao, who posted double bogeys on Nos. 1 and 5, “so I was really battling out there.”

She got back on the horse pretty quickly, though, benefitting from two chip-ins before posting back-to-back birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to help close out the round.

“I knew that Mia (Kness) was going to be consistent and tough to keep up with,” added Yao. “I was just aiming to keep up with her — make some pars and occasionally make birdie.”

Fresh off her round and she’s already thinking about next season.

“I’m happy that I was able to get here. I’m hoping that if anything goes wrong next year, I can use the experience I got here this season.”

Radnor’s Gabby Kim finished up in seventh at 158 while her sister June Kim shot a 173 for 13th place.

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