Rustin’s Shevlin leads af­ter Day 1

Eight from Chesco sur­vive cut, in­clud­ing Ken­nett’s Brown, Shana­han’s Con­ners

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

LIM­ER­ICK >> The task of trim­ming a field of 110 play­ers all the way down to 30 brings with it plenty of pres­sure.

Add in some early fall weather mixed in with a whip­ping cold morn­ing breeze, and that pres­sure mounts pretty quickly even for the most well-rounded play­ers.

The open­ing round of the Dis­trict 1 Golf Cham­pi­onship at Tur­tle Creek Golf Course got un­der­way on Mon­day morn­ing. Safe to say, it brought with it some of the most dif­fi­cult con­di­tions of re­cent mem­ory.

West Chester Rustin’s Luke Shevlin turned in the day’s low round, fir­ing a 2-un­der 70 to sep­a­rate him­self from the rest of the field by a stroke. He played gen­er­ally mis­take-free through­out, fin­ish­ing with four birdies — three on the back nine — and two bo­geys for the round.

Ken­nett’s Evan Brown, Methac­ton’s Kyle Vance and Bishop Shana­han’s Ryan Con­ners each fin­ished at 1-un­der 71 for the round to fill out what will be Tues­day’s lead group.

“I don’t think any­body was go­ing to do any­thing too spe­cial to­day,” said Brown, the reign­ing Ches-Mont League cham­pion. “The wind con­di­tions made it way too tough out there. This one was all about putting your­self in good po­si­tion for day two.

“Ev­ery year is dif­fer­ent, con­di­tions were def­i­nitely tougher than they were last sea­son. The scores came in a lot higher this time.”

A year af­ter nearly break­ing the course record on his way to his sec­ond dis­trict ti­tle last sea­son, Vance brought with him a sim­i­lar ap­proach to Brown dur­ing Mon­day’s round. The se­nior carded four birdies and three bo­geys, hit­ting 12 greens in reg­u­la­tion and us­ing 32 putts for the round.

“I knew it would be hard to go low with how windy it was,” Vance said, “so shoot­ing 1-un­der isn’t so bad. (It) def­i­nitely puts me in good po­si­tion to go re­ally low to­mor­row.”

Vance’s ap­proach on the par-5 No. 18 told the tale of the day.

Usu­ally a heavy-hit­ter and a risk­taker, Vance stood about 175 yards out in front of the wa­ter, pick­ing and pulling clubs from his bag as he thought it over.

The de­ci­sion to play it short or go for it all, ul­ti­mately, wasn’t a dif­fi­cult one.

“I just played it safe,” said Vance. “Out of the rough, I knew it was gonna be hard stick­ing that green, and if I didn’t, I would have been in trou­ble.”

His safety-first mentality paid off, as he then chipped in his ap­proach shot from the fringe for birdie to close out his round.

Af­ter his round, Con­ners couldn’t help but won­der just what could have been. The Shana­han ju­nior strung to­gether four birdies but suf­fered through three bo­geys — two of them a re­sult of missed putts within a cou­ple feet on Nos. 14 and 15.

“This was prob­a­bly one of the top rounds of my life,” he said with a laugh. “I struck the ball well, my putting game didn’t let me down aside from late on the back. I missed those two easy putts, which re­ally could have changed my score.”

Hav­ing played a prac­tice round at Tur­tle Creek Sun­day, Con­ners par­tially knew what to ex­pect of Mon­day’s round.

“I knew the feel of the wind. I knew when I’d need to club-up, some­times club-up twice. That def­i­nitely helped me a lot.”

Right be­hind the top four fin­ish­ers, Spring-Ford’s Ben Po­chet fin­ished up even at 72 for the round. The ju­nior posted 16 pars, fol­low­ing up his lone birdie on No. 16 with a bo­gey on No. 17.

Norristown’s Caleb Ryan, Harry S. Tru­man’s Shane Noc­ito and Unionville’s Jack Niemiewicz rounded out the top 10 scor­ers, each fin­ish­ing up at 2-over 74. Mon­day’s fi­nal cut sat at 78. Out of the day’s lead group, Vance and Holy Ghost Prep’s David Rob­bins (78) were the only two who sur­vived.

Rob­bins shot 1-un­der on the front, then ran into trou­ble on the back side where he fin­ished with five bo­geys and a dou­ble en route to a 7-over 43. He hit only two greens in reg­u­la­tion on the back side, and drove only one fair­way.

With Tues­day’s weather call­ing for an in­crease in tem­per­a­ture, play­ers should an­tic­i­pate strik­ing the ball less and cir­cling the scores on their card more on day two.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ken­nett’s Evan Brown tees off on No. 11 dur­ing the Dis­trict One golf cham­pi­onship at Tur­tle Creek Golf Club in Lim­er­ick Mon­day.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Con­estoga’s Ryan Tall tees off dur­ing Mon­day’s Dis­trict 1 golf cham­pi­onship at Tur­tle Creek Golf Club in Lim­er­ick.

GENE WALSH — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Down­ing town East’s Alex To­bi­assen tees off Mon­day at Tur­tle Creek.

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