SKIPPACK >> While the late scores were still trickling in on Thursday afternoon, a voice called out to head coach Kevin Flanagan from the huddled up Methacton golfers.
“Are we allowed to look at the score, or do we have to wait until everyone is in?”
Yes, this year’s crop of Warriors are still learning the ropes of competing on the varsity level.
Yet on Thursday afternoon, Methacton looked like a team of seasoned veterans as the Warriors used tie-break criteria to capture a 218-219 win over visiting Spring-Ford at Skippack Golf Club at Evansburg State Park.
“It’s a testament to the guys who have gone before them,” said head coach Kevin Flanagan, noting that the Warriors had graduated eight seniors from last year’s team. “These guys were working hard to try and break into that lineup. That’s been the difference — they’ve been working hard to break through all these years. Now they have their opportunity.”
Surely Methacton (2-0) has had huge shoes to fill considering the program has captured the Pioneer Athletic Conference title in each of the last four seasons. Even so, Flanagan says it’s been a next-man-up approach so far this season. Thursday’s win against Spring-Ford (3-1) is an indication.
“I think they’re trying to say, ‘We’re just as good. We don’t want to be remembered for the last four years. We want to be remembered for the next four,’” he said.
Juniors John Cooper and Dylan Lasecki took low-man honors for Methacton, each finishing up at 1-under 34 while Jeff Cooper followed with an even-par 35. Andrew Catania and A.J. Thomas came in at 3-over 38 while Christian Rossi’s 4-over 39 proved to be the difference in the 179-179 tie-breaker.
John Cooper was solid throughout his round while playing out of the No. 2 slot. He finished with three birdies — including a run of two straight on Nos. 6 and 7 — while mixing in just one bogey and five pars. His putter proved to be his strong suit as he hit five greens in regulation and held himself without any three-putts.
“I wasn’t hitting it great, but the putter bailed me out a lot of times,” he said. “I felt comfortable over the ball and felt like I rolled it up pretty well all day.”
Like several of his teammates, Cooper had spent the last several seasons on junior varsity watching from a distance as his older teammates pulled in the league title and individual accolades season after season. Now he’s not afraid to admit that his time is here.
“It feels good, to be honest,” said Cooper of stepping into a leadership role with the team. “I like being the guy that the other kids look up to and the guy that’s relied on to play well. I feel like I’ve got to play well to give the team a better chance to win.”
Spring-Ford junior Jack Straub took low-round honors for the match with a 2-under 33 while Ben Pochet and Axel Kolbach followed at even-par 35. Nate Pierce went 2-over for a 37 while Josh Brauer turned in a 4-over 39 for a Ram team that’s still trying to discover some depth of its own following the graduation of six seniors from last year’s state playoff team.
Straub was strong playing out of the No. 2 slot where he posted four birdies and a pair of bogeys. The lefty was a man of his word — after posting consecutive birdies on Nos. 6 and 7, he rallied back to finish his round with back-to-back birdies on No. 8 and 9 to end his round.
“I had a great finish,” said Straub, who only had 15 putts for his round. “Everything just went perfect with my game today. It all just clicked once I got out there.”
Pochet turned in a solid round, hitting seven greens in regulation, but was plagued by a bad stretch in the middle of his round. The senior Drexel commit and reigning PIAA Eastern Regional champion carded a double bogey on the par-4 No. 6 then gave another stroke back with a bogey on No. 7 before ending his round birdie-par.
Thursday’s match could very well be a preview of next month’s PAC Championship. If this one was any indication, the conference could be in for a memorable finish.
Win When The Leaves Change >> Spring-Ford has had Methacton’s number during the regular season in each of the last three seasons. Thursday’s result was the Warriors’ first regular season win over the Rams since 2013. Spring-Ford posted a 181-183 win last fall, only to have their unbeaten regular season ruined by a loss to Methacton in the PAC Championship.