Luke Shevlin chips onto a green from a sand trap during Day 2 of the District 1 Golf Championships at Turtle Creek Golf Club in Limerick on Tuesday. Shevlin finished seventh and will play in next week’s regionals.
LIMERICK >> While lining up his putt for his third straight birdie attempt on No. 12 Tuesday at Turtle Creek Golf Course, Ben Pochet’s vision on the green was quickly knocked off sight when a tee shot came flying in from the group behind.
“I immediately knew who it was,” said Pochet laughing afterward. “Kyle Vance ... the one guy who can drive that green.
“I backed off from my ball, reassessed my putt, then sank it and moved on.”
That moment told the tale of the day as Pochet — playing out of the round’s second-to-last group — paid little attention to the rest of the field on his way to capturing the District 1 Boys Golf Championship on Tuesday afternoon.
“I played my game,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about what anyone else was doing out on the course — just me.
“All of the scores from Day One were really close together, so it could be anyone’s day.”
After opening with an even-par 72 on the tournament’s Day One round Monday, Pochet got off to a fast start Tuesday, sitting at 2-under after his first three holes. He finished the frontside on a down note, though, hitting his tee shot into the water before finishing with a double bogey to move him back to even par.
“The front nine was up and down,” he said. “I was playing a lot better than my score of 36. I knew that if I wanted to be in contention, I’d need to get things going on the back.”
Things quickly got going.
The Spring-Ford junior rattled off three consecutive birdie putts on Nos. 11, 12 and 13 before parring out the rest of the way to close out his round.
“I’m really proud of the way I played over the past couple of days,” he said. “There’s always a lot of nerves involved with this tournament. One poor round can easily cost it for you. I kept myself in good shape both days and never got into trouble.”
Vance, the district’s defending-champion, wound up finishing third with a 1-under 143, posting a 72 on Day One and following it with a 71 to close it out. He finished right on the heels of Bishop Shanahan’s Ryan Conners, who birdied six holes on the back nine on his way to a 1-under 71 and an overall score of 142.
Much like he had the day prior, Conners gritted his teeth through some difficult circumstances. The junior suffered four lipouts on the round, including one on a double bogey try on No. 9.
“I never counted myself out of it,” he said. “No matter what was going on, whether I was sinking my putts or not. Once my putter and my irons came around on the back nine, I really got things going.”
After stringing together a pair of bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12, Conners rattled off three straight birdies, then mixed in a par before closing out his round with two more birdies.
“I’m definitely happy about finishing second,” he added. “There’s some really good competition, so even just to be able to finish here is something special.”
The top 16 finishers qualify for next Monday’s Regional Tournament at Golden Oaks Golf Club.
Spring Ford’s Ben Pochet hits from the 18th tee during Tuesday’s District 1 championships at Turtle Creek.