Methacton’s Vance takes second at PIAA Eastern Regional


FLEETWOOD >> Neither of them disappointed.

With University of Minnesota head golf coach John Carlson making the flight in to watch the two from start to finish, Methacton junior Kyle Vance and Central York senior Gus Milkin had a little extra incentive at the Eastern Regional Tournament at Fleetwood Golf Course Monday.

“I was definitely a little bit nervous, especially since I missed the cut here last year,” said Vance. “It’s a tough course that doesn’t really suit my game. Still, I tried to put all the nerves aside and just play my best.”

It came down to two extra playoff holes, but Milkin edged Vance by a stroke in a two-hole playoff on the 18th hole to take first place and roll into the PIAA Championships on a high note.

“It’s great to win this,” said Milkin. “I won my county and my district (District 3), so it’s really cool to have three medals. I came into it hoping to get a clean sweep.”

Paired in the lead group, Vance, the three-time Pioneer Athletic Conference champion, and Milkin were tied at 3-under 69 after 18 holes.

It came down to No. 18 when Vance made up a stroke and forced the playoff.

After scalding his drive right down the center of the fairway, Vance stuck a 7-iron in the front of the green from 190 yards out.

“At that point I knew I made the cut, so I figured I’d go for the win,” said Vance. “Lately it seems like I’ve been saving my best shots for the last hole.”

Down by a stroke, the junior sunk a 45-foot eagle putt to force extra play as Milkin made a birdie.

“When we were on the green, I told Gus ‘I’m gonna make this one,’” laughed Vance. “I was struggling with my putter all throughout the round, but it finally came through for me when I really needed it. I couldn’t have asked for a better finish.”

On the round, Vance had 33 putts, including 18 on the front nine. He hit 15 greens in regulation, while posting two eagles, a birdie and two bogeys.

Methacton's Dan Rieger advanced to the Regional Tournament next week. (John Strickler - The Mercury)
Methacton’s Dan Rieger advanced to the PIAA Tournament Monday with a 1-over 73. (John Strickler – The Mercury)

Minkin finished with five birdies and two bogeys, including a nearly-fatal miss on No. 17.

“He’s a really strong player, so it’s cool to say I finished right next to him,” said Vance. “It was definitely good to play alongside him.”

Behind the lead duo were Upper Dublin’s David Kim (1-under 71), Holy Ghost Prep’s Steve Cerbara (even-par 72) and Methacton junior Dan Rieger (1-over 73). All are headed to the PIAA Championships, as is and Spring-Ford sophomore Ben Pochet (6-over 78).

Owen J. Roberts senior Maddie Sager advanced with an 83 in the girls field.

Rieger’s 73, good for fifth place, and Sager’s 83 were both good enough for automatic qualification, while Pochet had to do a little extra.

His approach shots and ball-striking were on throughout the round, but like Vance, Pochet struggled with his putter.

“I three-putted my first and last holes on the day,” said Pochet. “In total, I think I had four (three-putts). Those add up. I was having a hard time figuring out the speed of the greens.”

Finishing just above the cut along with five others, Pochet survived the playoff hole in which only three would advance as Pochet, Great Valley’s Geoff Rice and Valley View’s Ronnie Yanoski prevailed over Scranton Prep’s Marco Nieto, Souderton’s Dawson Anders and Chambersburg’s Karsen Rush.

Spring-Ford's Ben Pochet putts during the District 1 Championship Tuesday. (John Strickler - The Mercury)
Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet advanced to the PIAA Championships after shooting a 78 and prevailing in a six-person playoff Monday at the PIAA Eastern Regional. (John Strickler – The Mercury)

“It’s great,” Pochet said. “Now the bad round I had today doesn’t matter. It’s just great to be able to keep playing.”

Sager’s trip to states will be her third in the last three seasons.

She believes there are still some parts of her game she’ll need to fine-tune in the coming days.

“I wasn’t playing consistent at all,” said Sager. “I was spraying my shots, and that doesn’t work at this course. I left so many putts short and wasn’t confident at all. This definitely wasn’t my best showing.”

Despite her tough day, Sager finished the round tied for the top of her group and tied for sixth overall.

In what was his first individual try at regionals, Rieger kept his momentum going from the district tournament last week. Hitting nearly every green in regulation, the junior credits his success to his work off the tee.

“My drives were the best I had been hitting them all year, which helped me to stick it close,” said Rieger, who carded two birdies and three bogeys on the day. “I never got myself into too much trouble out there. I knew I didn’t have to take a lot of risk. I stuck to my game.”

Advancing to the state tournament with childhood friend and teammate Vance, Rieger is excited to see what the two of them can do.

“We’ve both had our minds set on getting (to states) since last season,” said Rieger. “Now that we’re about to be there, we’re both gonna give it everything we got.”

The PIAA Individual Championships will take place Oct. 26-27 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort and Conference Center in York.


At Golden Oaks GC (Fleetwood)

PIAA qualifiers

Gus Minkin (Central York) 69**; Kyle Vance (Methacton) 69**; David Kim (Upper Dublin) 71; Steve Cerbera (Holy Ghost Prep) 72; Dan Rieger (Methacton) 73; Robert Falconer (Cumberland Valley) 74; Evan Brown (Kennett) 75; Quinn Guzman (Souderton) 75; Jack Melville (Upper Dublin) 75; William Mitchell (St. Joseph’s Prep) 75; Andrew Davis (Eastern) 76; Nick Franki (Waynesboro) 76; Nick Gianelos (Unionville) 76; Matt Kreider (Ephrata) 76; RJ Wren (Twin Valley); Alex Butler (St. Joseph’s Prep) 77; Davis Clarke (Cumberland Valley) 77; Kevin Crumbling (Eastern) 77; Jake Fitts (Central Bucks South) 77; Joe Parrini (Central York) 77; Ian Patterson (Chambersburg) 77; Ben Pochet (Spring-Ford) 78*; Geoff Rice (Great Valley) 78*; Ronnie Yanoski (Valley View) 78*.

Missed PIAA cut

Marco Nieto (Scranton Prep) 78*, Dawson Anders (Souderton) 78*, Karsen Rush (Chambersburg) 78*; Ian Langendoerfer (Honesdale) 79; Ronnie Robinson (North Penn) 79; Blake Sebring (Dallastown) 79.

**-Minkin defeated Vance in second hole of playoff

*-Pochet, Rice, Yanoski advanced via six-person playoff

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply