PHOENIXVILLE >> One forgettable stroke of his putter kept Ward McHenry from posting a clean-slate scorecard at Kimberton Golf Course on Thursday afternoon.
Fortunately, it wouldn’t cost the Owen J. Roberts boys’ golf team all that much as they posted a season-best score at home en route to a 189-222 win over Pioneer Athletic Conference visitor Phoenixville.
The win improves Owen J. Roberts to 7-1 in the PAC and 8-1 overall fresh off Tuesday’s loss against Methacton. Phoenixville drops to 3-5 in the PAC (3-6 overall) after entering Thursday on a two-match winning streak.
McHenry was steady throughout the round, posting eight pars on his way to a match-low 1-over 35. His lone blunder came on the par 3 No. 4, where he three-putted his way to a bogey. For the round, he finished with 18 putts, landed in six fairways and hit seven greens in regulation.
“I was able to hit the ball really well,” said McHenry, now a senior after spending each of the last three seasons on varsity. “My putting wasn’t great, but I was able to hit the ball well and hit greens.
“I was keeping my driver in play — giving myself wedges into greens.”
His most indicative drive came on the par 4 No. 3. McHenry laced a beautiful tee shot over the trees and landed comfortably in the middle of the fairway, from where he would stick his approach shot and two-putt his way to another par.
He admits, of course, there is a little bit of home course advantage playing at a place like Kimberton.
“It helps because you know where to hit the ball, where not to miss,” he said. “You know how the putts are going to break before you even get there. There’s enough room out there, so if you can put it in play, you’ll have a good shot at the green here for the most part.”
The Wildcats’ final score of 189 was five strokes better than the 194 they’d posted twice on the season.
Coming in behind McHenry, Ryan Glenn and Andy Blum each finished up at 4-over 38 while Ben Samuelson and Conrad Benford both finished up at 39.
It was a frustrating day for Phoenixville head coach Steve Winnick. Entering Thursday in the midst of a two-match win streak for the week — wins over Pottsgrove and Upper Merion — Winnick felt that experience may have worked against the Phantoms.
“Everyone looks at this course as being easy,” said Winnick. “A lot of our guys play here all the time because it’s so close to Phoenixville, yet they never play well during the season. It never fails.”
James Peterson took low-man honors for Phoenixville with a 9-over 43 while Parker Stevens and JT Sinnott finished up at 44. Playing in the No. 2 slot, freshman Kyle Resuta posted a 45 while Drew Gibson followed with a 46.
On the bright side, the Phantoms are picking up valuable varsity experience with only two seniors on their scorecard.
Resuta took his lumps Thursday, including a pair of lip-outs as he desperately tried to finish out on No. 9 green.
For his round, he had a triple and two double bogeys, though got something going late with consecutive pars on Nos. 7 and 8.
“When I put those two pars together, it sort of gave me some life,” said Resuta. “I couldn’t get anything going early on.
“It’s tough,” he added of being matched with the top flight players as a freshman, “but you’ve got to live up with the way they’re playing. I can’t worry about it. Just gotta play my game and worry about my score.”
Road Woes >> Thursday’s result included, Phoenixville is now 0-5 in road matches this season. The Phantoms are 3-1 at their home course, Pickering Valley — their lone loss a one-stroke, extra-man decision against Pope John Paul II. On the bright side, Phoenixville stays home next week with visits from Upper Perkiomen and Pottsgrove before closing it out with a road match against Boyertown at Hickory Valley.
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