Sager takes silver at PIAA State Championships

She knew her time was now.

Entering the second day of the PIAA State Tournament at Heritage Hills Golf Club and her last round as a Wildcat on Tuesday, Owen J. Roberts’ senior Maddie Sager knew this would be her last chance to add another accomplishment to an already impressive high school career.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming in,” she admitted of the second round. “This is a really difficult golf course, and I know that a good round here can turn into a bad one really easily. So I just needed to play smart and limit my mistakes.”

Playing it conservative and avoiding trouble on the course, she took second place with a 9-over 153 over the two-day span.

Sager shot a 5-over 77 on Monday and followed it up with a 76 on Tuesday, finishing just three strokes behind two-time champion, Radnor’s Brynn Walker (150) in first place.

With her parents, her brother, classmates and her coaches following her throughout, it was Sager’s best finish at states in her career.

On the round, she needed only 34 putts, limiting herself to just one three-putt each day of the tournament.

“With these greens, if you’re not putting it well, you’re not going to score well,” she said. “My putting was definitely the best part of my game. I never got myself in trouble, and was able to save a lot of pars because of it.”

The silver finish serves as a tribute to the illustrious career she’s put together with OJR.

After finishing seventh (shooting a 153) and fifth during her sophomore year ( 160), her proudest moment was to know she improved her overall score each year.

“This was such a great way for me to end my high school golf career,” Sager said. “I’m so glad I was able to put together my best round (at states) with everyone here to support me.

“I’ve grown a lot as a player over the past four years. There’s no way I would have been able to do this without all the support of my family and coaches over that time.”

On the boys’ side, Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet finished in a three-way tie along with Methacton’s Dan Rieger and Kyle Vance in 21st place.

Spring-Ford's Ben Pochet finished tied for 21st with Methacton's Kyle Vance and Dan Rieger. (John Strickler - The Mercury)
Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet finished tied for 21st with Methacton’s Kyle Vance and Dan Rieger. (John Strickler – The Mercury)

Holy Ghost Prep’s Steve Cerbara won it in a one hole playoff over Great Valley’s Geoff Rice.

Following a 3-over 75 on the opening round, the senior responded with an even-par 72 to eventually take the title.

After shooting an 81 on the opening round, Vance carded an 80 Tuesday in what was his second appearance at the state tournament.

The junior ran into trouble on the Par 4 No.9 where he finished +7 over the two-day span.

“The course had my number,” he said. “I was hitting the ball well just got some bad breaks and couldn’t make a putt.”

His middle-of-the-pack finish comes after a stellar season where he took first place in the PAC-10 Individual Tournament, was a major part of Methacton’s first place PAC-10 team finish, won the District 1 Tournament and took second at the Eastern Regionals after a two-hole playoff.

“How I scored (here) isn’t how I usually play,” he admitted. “It hurts that the bad rounds had to come here (at States), what I’ve waited for all year.”

Rieger bounced back on the second round with a seven-over 78 after shooting a 12-over 83 on the opening round.

“Day one I struggled with my drives mostly and my putter a little bit. I didn’t manage the course as well as I would have liked to,” said Rieger. “But I knew I could post a better number going into day two. I was able to put myself in better positions in the second round making it easier for me to make pars and score.”

The junior finished with eight pars and three birdies on the second day, but was plagued by four bogeys and three double bogeys.

Coming off a strong opening day performance (79), Pochet ran into issues from holes No. 15 through No. 18 on the second round, going 6-over along that stretch en route to an 82.

Pochet posted nine pars to go along with a birdie, four bogeys and four double bogeys.

With two more chances to make it back to the tournament, the sophomore will look to use the past couple days an experience moving forward.

“It’s my first time and I have, hopefully, two more years to put together some good scores,” he said.

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