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Norristown’s Josh Ryan claims District 1-3A Boys Golf title

Norristown's Josh Ryan is all smiles after finishing out on 18th hole to win the PIAA District 1 AAA Boys Golf Championship on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019 at Turtle Creek Golf Course. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

LIMERICK >> Josh Ryan knew a quick start would alleviate some of the stress of holding the lead going into the second day of the District 1 Class 3A Boys Golf Championship.

“There was a little bit added pressure but I just knew I had to get a few birdies out there early,” the Norristown junior said. “And just see how the course conditions go throughout the day and get a little bit more of a cushion.”

Ryan went out and picked up a pair of birdies on his first four holes Tuesday at Turtle Creek Golf Course then held on as the conditions went from dreary to sunny and breezy to finish his round at even-par 72, giving him the district title with a total score of 1-under 143.

“District 1’s probably one of the hardest districts in the state and shooting under par here in these conditions the last two days was very challenging,” Ryan said. “It’s really nice, I made putts today, yesterday was struggling with the putter but it got hot today so it was really nice.”

Norristown’s Josh Ryan putts on the ninth hole at Turtle Creek Golf Course during the PIAA District 1-AAA Boys Golf Championship on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

Ryan was the only 3A golfer under par in the first round Monday at 1-under 71 and was one of four in 3A to card a 72 Tuesday as Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Dylan Gooneratne, Holy Ghost Prep’s Calen Sanderson and Harriton’s Andrew Wallace also finished at even par.

“Just hitting the ball really well right now,” Ryan said. “And just if I make the putts, that’s when I go low. So I just had some good expectations coming in after this, after winning leagues, I was playing well and just knew if I continued to play well and made some putts I would finish it out.”

The top 18 3A boys, top nine 3A girls and top two 2A boys qualified for the PIAA Eastern Regional Monday at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood.

“Course was in good condition,” said Gooneratne, who tied Sanderson for second at 2-over 146. “It was a little bit wet in the beginning but then the wind picked up and made it pretty difficult. But I was just glad I was able to work my way around the course today and get it done.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Dylan Gooneratne sinks his putt on the ninth hole at Turtle Creek Golf Course during the PIAA District 1-AAA Boys Golf Championship on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

Pope John Paul II’s Paul Brady claimed the district 2A boys title, posting a 5-over 77 – bettering is Monday round by two strokes – to finish with a 12-over 156. Second place Evan Menz of New Hope-Solebury had a 17-over 161.

“It means a lot to me, a lot of hard work in the offseason just grinding every day,” Brady said. “And to come out here, shoot a nice little 77, means a lot to me. And it was really windy so pretty good.”

New Hope-Solebury bested PJP II for the boys 2A team title, the Lions’ 338 topping the Golden Panthers’ 342.

Strath Haven took the 3A boys team championship, the Panthers’ 304 edging the 306 of Pennsbury.

Wissahickon (314), Plymouth Whitemarsh (315), Methacton (317) and Central Bucks West (318) finished sixth through ninth, respectively. Spring-Ford came in 11th at 334.

Wissahickon’s Elizabeth Beek tees off on third hole at Turtle Creek Golf Course during the PIAA District 1-AAA Girls Golf Championship on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

Lower Merion freshman Sydney Yermish won the Girls Class 3A title, adding her 1-under 71 Tuesday to the 6-under 65 she shot at Raven’s Claw Golf Club Monday to take the title with a 7-under 136.

Pennsbury’s Jade Gu took second at 2-under 41 while Wissahickon freshman Elizabeth Beek was among the nine 3A girls to qualify for regionals as she came in third at 2-under 141.

“I’m really excited,” Beek said. “Yesterday felt like a better round because it wasn’t as windy but today it was a really hard to judge the wind which was my hard part because it was so windy and it kept changing.”

Ryan added back-to-back birdies on the par-4 12th and the par-5 13th to finish his Tuesday round with four birdies to go along with four bogeys and eight pars.

“Yesterday, I had like perfect ball-striking, I didn’t miss my drive once and like I was always fairway-green but then I wasn’t making any birdie putts,” Ryan said. “Where today I didn’t ball-strike as well but I was roll in the par saves and a few birdies out there.”

Gooneratne picked up a foursome of birdies to counter a double-bogey and two bogeys as he bettered his Monday 74 by two strokes.

“I think putting was really good,” he said. “And I was able to hole a few putts when I needed to and save a few and make a few birdies too which was nice. I’m just super happy right now and can’t wait to go celebrate with my teammates.

Wallace and Central Bucks West’s Kevin Lydon tied for fourth in Boys 3A at 3-over 147.

“Little shaky on the front, plus 2, finished the back strong,” Lydon said.

Lydon was joined Bucks teammate Milo Jezzeny as a regional qualifier as Jezzeny tied Pennridge’s Brendan Bauer for eighth at 8-over 152. Both Jezzeny and Brendan carded 6-over 78s Tuesday.

Norristown’s Josh Ryan tees off on the 10th hole at Turtle Creek Golf Course during the District 1-AAA Boys Golf Championship on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. (Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group)

Boyertown’s John Engle, Owen J. Roberts’ Conrad Benford and Wissahickon’s Christian Matt were a part of the six-way tie for 10th at 9-over 153. Tuesday, Engle and Benford both shot 6-over 76 with Matt posting a 5-over 77.

Methacton’s Jeff Cooper earned his spot at regionals through a playoff after five golfers tied for 16th at 10-over 154. Cooper – who shot a 6-over 78 Tuesday – joined Radnor’s Jack Hamilton and Unionville’s Roy Anderson in claiming the final three spots over Hatboro-Horsham’s Jack Marvin and Conestoga’s Drew Ridder.

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