Downingtown East’s O’Sullivan wins District 1 girls golf title

LIMERICK >> There was a distinct Ches-Mont flavor to the PIAA District 1 3A individual girls golf championship Tuesday at Turtle Creek Golf Course.

Downingtown East junior Ava O’Sullivan won the top prize, earning a two-stroke victory, and a trio of Ches-Mont girls – O’Sullivan, West Chester East junior Victoria Kim and Unionville senior Charlotte Scully – finished in the top six, thereby qualifying for the PIAA 3A girls’ individual state championships Oct. 20 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.

PHOTO GALLERY: District 1 Boys and Girls Golf Championships 10.6.20

O’Sullivan shot a couple of steady, consistent rounds – 72 on Monday at Raven’s Claw, 74 at Turtle Creek Tuesday – for a total of 146 (3 over par), finishing two strokes ahead of Pennsbury senior Jade Gu (75-73-148) and Mount St. Joseph senior Clare Gimpel (72-76-148).

“I’m really happy,” said O’Sullivan, who one week earlier captured the Ches-Mont tournament title. “I kept staying in the moment today, and I was hitting [many] greens.”

When O’Sullivan won the Ches-Mont tournament a week ago, it was with the same tee-to-green consistency – she hit more than a dozen greens on the day’s round.

“Ava is very steady, and has been steady all season long,” said Downingtown East girls golf coach Matt Grinwis. “She had 15 pars on Monday. And, when she needs to, she’s been getting up and down around the greens.”

With three holes to play Tuesday, O’Sullivan was in a three-way tie for first place with Gimpel and Scully at 3 over par. O’Sullivan broke the logjam with a birdie on the 16th hole, a 338-yard par 4, using a 3-wood, sand wedge and a dramatic 35-foot putt to go into the lead for good.

O’Sullivan will be making a return trip to the PIAA 3A state individual tournament – she tied for 14th at States last year as a sophomore. This year, the PIAA 3A individual tourney will be a one-day-only affair at Heritage Hills Oct. 20.

Gimpel, who will be making her first-ever trip to the PIAA 3A individual state championships, said she “loved” the Turtle Creek course.

“It’s a good, challenging course,” said Gimpel. “It’s open [in spots] and the wind was a factor today. The greens are pretty big, and the wind was blowing the ball around a little bit, even on the greens.”

Gu, who tied for second place with Gimpel Tuesday, finished second in last year’s District 1 3A tourney, five strokes behind winner Sydney Yermish of Lower Merion.

Victoria Kim tied for fourth place at Districts, shooting rounds of 75-76 for a total of 8 over par 151, and earning her third trip to States. Last fall at the PIAA 3A state championships, Kim tied for first place, and finished second in the ensuing three-way playoff for the state title.

“I did OK here [at Districts], but I think I could have played better,” said Kim. “My lag putts were good, but I need to work on my irons and drives.”

Scully tied for fourth place with Kim, shooting rounds of 74-77 for a 151 total, and like Kim is making her third trip to the PIAA 3A individual state tournament. Tuesday, she ran off a couple of birdie streaks but got a tough break on No. 16 when her drive took a bigger bounce than expected and the ball ran into the pond on the right of the fairway, near the green.

“I scrambled well on Monday, and today, I was trying to get my irons as close to the flag as possible,” said Scully. “I need to work more on my drives.”

Scully was part of the victorious Unionville girls’ squad that finished first in the District 1 3A team competition Monday at Raven’s Claw. Scully (74) joined with Mary Dunigan (76) and Molly Evanko (87) for a 24-over-par score of 237, defeating Downingtown East (241) by four strokes. Mount St. Joseph’s was third (247). The Unionville girls will be headed to the PIAA 3A state team competition Oct. 26 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.

Unionville girls’ golf coach Joe Sudimak said, “I am so happy for our three seniors – Charlotte Scully, Molly Evanko and Morgan Santaguida – who, as sophomores, were the nucleus of the brand-new Unionville girls’ golf program. I’m happy for both them and their parents. As a matter of fact, Molly Evanko was one of the [two] student representatives on the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board, and was instrumental in helping to get us playing in the fall.

“When we started the Unionville girls golf program three years ago, I looked at the Downingtown East and at Mount St. Joseph’s programs as [good] examples – they set the bar for us. And they have been congratulating us on finishing first [Monday].”

Owen J. Roberts sophomore Stefania Fedun finished sixth Tuesday after shooting rounds of 77-76 for a total of 153, 10 over par. She is the final qualifier for the PIAA 3A individual tourney from District 1.

Just missing qualifying for the PIAA 3A individual state tourney was Dunigan, who finished eighth at Districts with rounds of 76-81. Downingtown East freshman Mia Pace placed 15th at Districts with rounds of 83-86.

NOTES >> The PIAA District 1 3A field of golfers for both girls and boys was a little light this week. There were no Central League golfers in the field – no Central League golf qualifier was held this fall. That eliminated the defending District 1 3A girls’ champion, Lower Merion sophomore Sydney Yermish, as well as other top Central League golfers such as Haverord’s Riley Quartermain, and for the boys, Conestoga’s Morgan Lofland.

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