Kyle Vance defends his PAC-10 Individual title

GILBERTSVILLE >> He never lost sight.

From the end of last season, Kyle Vance’s goal was to defend his PAC-10 Boys Individual Tournament title, one which had been a part of his family the previous four seasons.

Even on a day where he wasn’t sharp from the get-go, the Methacton junior kept his sights set and found a way to grind it out to win the title, shooting an even-par 71 at Gilbertsville Golf Club on Monday afternoon.

Methacton's Kyle Vance follows through with an iron shot at Gilbertvsille Golf Course where he won the PAC-10 boys championship.
Methacton’s Kyle Vance follows through with an iron shot at Gilbertvsille Golf Club where he won the PAC-10 boys championship. (Kevin Hoffman – The Mercury)

“As the round went on, my confidence kept on growing with every shot I took,” said Vance. “In the beginning, anybody else could have played for me…I just didn’t have it. But I stayed focused and kept trying to make good shots and score well.”

Sitting at plus-three after his first four holes, Vance finally settled in.

“My driver definitely became my strongest club,” he said. “There were a few times where other guys were hitting driver (followed by the) six iron. The way I was hitting off the tee, I was able to hit my driver followed by a wedge, which helped me to stick it close.”

Following his rough start, Vance sunk a par putt on five then a birdie on six. After that, he parred eight of his next 10 holes with two birdies in-between en route to bettering the field by three strokes.

On the round, he posted 10 pars, four bogeys and four birdies, the most impressive coming on the par 4 336-yard 18th hole to settle his score at even par.

With a ton of fairway to lay-up on and a water hazard 30 yards in front of the green, Vance blasted his tee shot past the water, eventually flopping his second shot onto the green for the easy finish.

“It was definitely the way I wanted to end the day,” said Vance. “The way the round started for me, I knew I wanted to finish it off with a bang.”

Methacton’s Kyle Vance is all smiles during his first place finish at the PAC-10 Boys Individual Tournament Monday. (Kevin Hoffman – The Mercury)

For Methacton head coach Kevin Flanagan, that was just another Kyle Vance-esque shot.

“That’s the way he’s always played since he was a freshman” he said. “He’s the type of kid who’s going to keep going after it. He never has that ‘let me play it safe’ mentality. He continues to play harder and try new things, and it’s been paying off for him.”

The win adds Kyle’s name to the long list of Vances that have worn the medal in the past few seasons.

Having won it last year, Vance is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Brandon, who won it in 2012 and 2013.

“It’s great to keep it in the family,” laughed Vance. “It’s something we’ve taken a lot of pride in and something that’s definitely motivated me to keep getting better.”

Also finishing among the top five were Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet, Pope John Paul II’s JT Spina and Mike Limongelli and Methacton’s Caleb Ryan, who all carded a 74 on the day.

“My motto to this point of individuals is just to survive and move on,” said Pochet, a sophomore who watched two birdie chances lip-out on the day. “Things could have definitely turned out a little bit different…a few shots got away from me here and there. But overall I’m glad to be taking the next step and competing at districts.”

Spina echoed a similar attitude.

“It’s just good to move on and have a chance to compete at districts,” said Spina, who sunk two birdies on the round. “I got off to a slow start, but once I kicked it into gear, I started to play really well. I just didn’t have enough at the very end.”

Spina was on similar track to Vance, having found himself at plus three after his first four holes. However, two late bogeys really cost him down the stretch.

“It’s definitely frustrating looking back,” he admitted. “But I’ve got to put it behind me at this point. I’ve got two more chances here, so for now I’m just concentrating on districts.”

Methacton's Kyle Vance hits his tee shot at Gilbertsville Golf Course Monday.
Methacton’s Kyle Vance hits his tee shot at Gilbertsville Golf Club Monday.

On the shoulders of Vance’s no. 1 finish, Methacton boasted the highest total number of district qualifiers with five players including Vance, Ryan, Dan Rieger (78), Zach Feaster (78) and TJ Cinelli (79).

“It shows to the amount of work these guys have put in all season,” said Kevin Flanagan. “They’re the ones that play a match, then go and play nine more holes. It’s nice to see that fruit of hard work. They definitely deserve it.”

Spring-Ford will send four representatives to the district tournament including Pochet, Jon Lumley (76), Chase Armor (77) and Connor Boham (78).

Behind Spina and Limongelli, the Golden Panthers will also send Tom Schaffer (78).

Ward McHenry (77) and Tom Opitz (79) will represent Owen J. Roberts while Perkiomen Valley’s Nate Guerrini (76) and Boyertown’s Kyle Green (77) will be their team’s lone representative.

Now the qualifiers will have to refocus their sights on the District Tournament, which will take place at Turtle Creek Golf Course on Oct. 8-9.


NOTES >> Vance needed just 31 putts on the day. … In years past, the PAC-10 would generally send 18 players to the District Tournament, but with Pottstown unable to field a team this season, the number dropped to 16. … Boyertown’s Olivia Steinmetz (91) was the lone girls representative at the boys tournament. Having elected to play on the boys team although Boyertown has a girls team, rules say she had to play in the boys tournament. “I was driving the ball well, but I’m not used to playing from the blue tees,” she said. “It definitely makes this course a lot longer and a lot more difficult.”


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