SANATOGA >> With the unexpected loss of two would-be key members to this year’s program, the Spring-Ford boys golf team has spent the early portion of the season trying to round out the No. 2 slot on the lineup.
On Thursday afternoon, several Rams submitted their applications.
Four Spring-Ford players posted sub-40 rounds — highlighted by ace Ben Pochet’s 3-under 33 — en route to a 184-209 win over host Perkiomen Valley at Raven’s Claw Golf Club.
“Our team hasn’t really done historically fantastic here,” said Pochet, last year’s PIAA Eastern Regional champion and Mercury All-Area Golfer of the Year, “but it seems like guys were scoring really well today. We want to keep things moving. It’s still early, but I think we put ourselves in a good spot with a win today.”
After graduating six members and losing two more — Jon Lumley (family moved out of state) and Drew Clifford (injury suffered with the hockey team) — Thursday places plenty of optimism on a Spring-Ford program that ran through the regular season unbeaten last fall.
With the win, reigning runner-up Spring-Ford improved to 2-0 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference. Perkiomen Valley, meanwhile, dropped to 1-1 in the PAC (1-2 overall).
Pochet was consistent throughout the afternoon, mixing in six pars with three birdies en route to a blemish-free scorecard. He hit six fairways and six greens in regulation on the day.
Pochet ran into his only bit of trouble on the par 5 No. 7.
After landing his second shot on the edge of the sandpit to the right of the green, Pochet duffed his next shot, which then settled right back at his feet. The senior stepped out, readjusted, then put a shot within 10-feet to eventually save par.
It was a relative disaster averted.
“The putter was what saved me there, and a lot of times throughout the round,” said Pochet of his round, where he finished up with 14 putts for the round. “When those shots needed to go in, they did. I had good speed control and managed to make all of the five-footers.”
Playing out of the No. 3 slot, Drew Fuhrman followed right behind Pochet with a 2-under 34 while Luke Watson posted a 38 followed by Josh Brauer at 39. Jack Straub and George Wicks rounded out the Rams’ scorecard with 40 strokes apiece.
Fuhrman finished up with a solid seven pars and two birdies — both by virtue of chip-ins on hole Nos. 7 and 9.
“That’s my best round ever,” said Fuhrman afterward. “My putting, I didn’t really miss anything. I knocked down a few lengthy par putts.”
In the same way Spring-Ford has been searching for that No. 2 player, Perkiomen Valley has been on the hunt for their ace.
On Thursday, it looked as though junior Andrew Burkhardt locked up the spot.
Buckhardt posted an even-par 36 on the round, mixing in three birdies with three bogeys. He hit seven fairways and six greens in regulation to go along with 15 putts and a chip-in on No. 4.
“Andrew had a heck of a round,” said Tavio Hunsicker. “To go even-par here is really good. Andrew has put a lot of time into it — he’s worked hard on his own, played different tournaments all summer.”
Behind Burkhardt, Christian Riehs posted a 38 followed by Colin Leary (41), Andrew Giorgi (47) and Brian McMonigle (47).
You Can’t Write This Stuff
Talk about consistency. Last season, when both teams squared off at Spring-Ford’s home course, Turtle Creek, the Rams posted a winning score of 184-209 … the exact same score as Thursday’s match.
Peaks & Valleys
Thursday’s result included, Spring-Ford has now won its last four matches against Perk Valley dating back to the 2014 season. That year, PV got the better of the Rams with a regular-season win before Spring-Ford ousted the Vikings in the opening round of the PAC Final Four playoffs.
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