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Downingtown East’s McCook finishes 2nd in state golf; Unionville’s Bennink ties for fifth

Downingtown East’s Liddie McCook made the turn during Tuesday’s second day of the PIAA Golf Championships tied for the lead. A 1-under par front nine left McCook even with Lauren Freyvogel of Pine Richland.

But despite capping her day with a birdie on No. 18, five bogies between holes 10 and 15 cut into McCook’s hopes, leaving her with a still-impressive two-day score of 5-over-par and silver medalist honors at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.

On the boys side in Class 3A, Unionville’s Connor Bennink finished with a two-day score of 4-over par, good enough for a tie for fifth place, three shots behind champion Liam Hart of Holy Ghost Prep.

Conestoga freshman Morgan Lofland finished in a tie for 23rd with a 15-over showing, including an impressive 5-over round of 76 on Tuesday.

In Girls Class 3A, McCook finished two shots behind Freyvogel, two shots ahead of third-place finisher Caroline Wrigley of North Allegheny (plus-7), and three in front of Conestoga’s Samantha Yao (plus-8).

Playing in the same group as Freyvogel, Wrigley and Yao, McCook made the turn at 1-under for the day and 3-over for the tournament, with two birdies on the front drawing her even with the Pine Richland junior.

But McCook then bogeyed the par 4 10th, par 5 11th, par 3 12th and par 4 13th, while Freyvogel notched two bogeys in the same stretch.

Now with a 3-shot lead, Freyvogel would par her way in from there, while McCook notched another bogey on 15 before birdieing the par 5 18th.

Unionville’s Charlotte Scully — the only freshman in the girls field and one of only three in all of Class 3A — was plus-27 for the tournament, finishing in a tie for 14th.

On the boys side, Bennink matched his first-round score of 73 with another 73 on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to catch Hart. Like McCook, Bennink struggled early in the back nine, bogeying holes 10, 11 and 12. Also like McCook, Bennink birdied 18, but by then it was too late to catch Hart.

“I thnk my irons were my strength and that saved me if I didn’t hit the best drive,” Bennink said. “I think that I hung in there mentally and really stayed patient and avoided big mistakes.”

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Hart improved on his first day 72 with a scorching round of 1-over-71 in less hospitable conditions. He claimed the title by a single stroke over Franklin Regional’s Palmer Jackson and Peters Township’s Hunter Bruce.

Central Catholic’s Jimmy Meyers was fourth, followed by a four-way tie for fifth with Bennink, Central York’s Joe Parrini, Exeter’s Alex Seelig and Central Catholic’s Neal Shipley.

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NOTES >> Devon Prep freshman Ryan McCabe finished 15th in the Class 2A field, 13 shots back of Tulpehocken’s Chase Miller. … Day 3 of the state tournament gets underway Wednesday as team play begins. Unionville will be represented by Richie Kline, Connor and Will Bennink, Jake McCloskey and Nick Gianelos.

Digital First Media staff writer Thomas Nash contributed to this report.



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