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Spring-Ford unseats Methacton for Pioneer Athletic Conference team title

GILBERTSVILLE >> Well after their rounds had ended and the final scores were tallied, Spring-Ford seniors Ben Pochet and Jack Straub took a ride out on a golf cart.

The pair had set out to accomplish one of the few things they hadn’t tried all season — send a tee shot over the pond on No. 9 at Gilbertsville Golf Club’s Red Course.

The result? Well, let’s just say Pochet and Straub had used up all their magic when it actually counted.

Pochet fired a 1-under 34 while Straub and freshman Luke Watson both finished at even-par 35 to lead the Spring-Ford boys golf team to an impressive 178-193 win over four-time defending champion Methacton in the Pioneer Athletic Conference team championship on Thursday afternoon.

Spring-Ford’s Jack Straub watches his tee shot during the PAC Championship Thursday. (Thomas Nash- Digital First Media)

The result serves as Spring-Ford’s first conference championship since the 2012 season and unseats Methacton, which held the clamps on the title from 2013-2016.

It was also a shot at redemption for the Rams — especially Pochet, a four-year starter for Spring-Ford who was part of runner-up finishes during his freshman and junior seasons.

Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet chips it onto the green on No. 3. (Thomas Nash- Digital First Media)

“We’ve had two previous shots at this,” said Pochet, who won the PAC Individual Championships at Gilbertsville last week. “So it feels good to go out as a senior this way. We’ve got a lot of talent on this team and I think it definitely showed today.”

Pochet shot two birdies and a single bogey to go along with six pars for his round. He was consistent from start to finish as he hit six greens in regulation and limited himself to just 16 putts, including a 35-footer for birdie on No. 7.

“I stroked the ball pretty good all day and my short game was actually pretty good,” recalled Pochet. “The one on No. 7 was good — got a little bit of a read from Christian (Rossi of Methacton). Just didn’t make too many mistakes or leave too many strokes out there.”

Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet watches his tee shot on No. 3 during the PAC Championship at Gilbertsville on Thursday. (Thomas Nash- Digital First Media)

Straub was just as steady in the early going. The lefty sat 1-under through six holes before finishing his round at bogey-birdie-bogey to settle right back at even-par. He hit seven greens in regulation and landed comfortably in four fairways.

“I had good control of the putter,” said Straub, who finished with 16 putts for the round. “For the past couple of days, I really wasn’t confident with my putter, so today I found some magic with it. It saved me a bunch of times.”

Spring-Ford’s Luke Watson putts one from the fringe on No. 9 during the PAC Championship on Thursday. (Thomas Nash- Digital First Media)

The Rams looked to be anything but a team that had lost seven members from last year’s district champion squad. Junior Axel Kolbach posted a 1-over 36 while Steven Stumpo finished at 38 to round out Spring-Ford’s season-best score with a collective 3-over par. That score matched Methacton’s previous best in a championship round — when they edged Owen J. Roberts 178-182 in 2015.

“You want to get beat, you don’t ever want to lose something,” said Methacton head coach Kevin Flanagan. “We got beat, man. They (Spring-Ford) played really well and they deserve it. They have a really deep team and they’ve been consistent all year. They showed up ready to play.”

Methacton’s Jon Cooper watches his tee shot on No. 5 during the PAC Championship at Gilbertsville. (Thomas Nash- Digital First Media)

The Warriors’ scorecard was much less consistent.

Ace Christian Rossi took team-low honors with a 1-over 36 while Nick Martin and AJ Thomas both followed at 38. Sean Henry posted a 5-over 40 while Andrew Catania, Dylan Lasecki and Jeff Cooper each finished up at 41 for the final count.

“Even on our best day, I don’t know that we beat that score,” admitted Flanagan of Spring-Ford’s 3-over. “I’m glad for my team’s psyche, (Spring-Ford) went out and beat us the way they did. It would be more difficult if we lost 192-192 knowing that we just didn’t play well and missed a couple. But Spring-Ford made a statement — that’s impressive.”

Methacton’s Christian Rossi taps a putt on No. 4. (Thomas Nash- Digital First Media)

Rossi opened his round with a bogey but was quick to bounce back with a birdie before rattling off six straight pars. He hit five fairways and five greens in regulation and never once three-putted.

Now both team’s look ahead to next week’s two-day District 1 Championships, which are slated to get started on Monday, October 10 at Spring-Ford’s home turf Turtle Creek. Pochet and Spring-Ford will look to repeat last season’s success where his first-place individual finish led the Rams to a district team title.

“We’ve got a really good shot at this,” said Straub. “If we can play like we did today, we’ve got a really good shot.”

Spring-Ford’s Jack Straub chips onto the green on No. 9 during the PAC Championship Thursday. (Thomas Nash- Digital First Media)

On the other hand, it’s rebound time for Flanagan and the Warriors.

“We could do something as a team,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting out and doing well. Getting off to a good start is key. So we’ve got to come out ready to play.”

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