Con­estoga’s Yao cap­tures re­gional ti­tle

Four to York: Mont­gomery, Shevlin, Giane­los, Con­ners all make states

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

FLEET­WOOD >> With the cut loom­ing at 76 dur­ing Mon­day’s PIAA East Re­gional at Golden Oaks Golf Club, Bishop Shana­han’s Ryan Con­ners found him­self in a one-hole play­off with five play­ers vy­ing for four spots.

Con­ners birdied No. 18, giv­ing him sat­is­fac­tion for a round where he ad­mits he left a few out there.

“That was my fin­ish­ing hole, so it was still re­ally fresh in my mind,” he said of No. 18, which he parred about an hour prior to the play­off. “I knew what I wanted to do this time around.”

Con­ners is one of 24 golfers who ad­vanced from the East Re­gion to the PIAA Cham­pi­onships, slated to

be­gin Mon­day at Her­itage Hills Golf Re­sort in York.

He will be joined in York by re­gional cham­pion Ben Po­chet of Spring-Ford, who fired an in­cred­i­ble 5-un­der-par 67 to take medal­ist hon­ors, as well as three fel­low Ches-Mont League golfers: Down­ing­town East’s Wills Mont­gomery (71), West Ch­ester Rustin’s Luke Shevlin (73) and Unionville’s Nick Giane­los (74).

After post­ing a four-over 40 on the frontside, Con­ners opened the back­side with three birdies on the first four holes. He hit 16 greens and reg­u­la­tion.

“I dou­bled No. 9,” he said, “so when I turned the cor­ner here (at the club­house), I knew the next three, four holes on the back nine were get­table. Things just clicked.”

As for Po­chet, there wasn’t much that could slow him down Mon­day.

Not the un­du­lated greens or the tricky speeds at Golden Oaks. Not the treach­er­ous pin lo­ca­tions scat­tered through­out the course. Not even when he stuck his tee shot onto another green.

“In years past, my goal has al­ways been to just make the cut here, that’s it,” said Po­chet. “To­day was no dif­fer­ent. As the round went on, my con­fi­dence went up.”

“I was hit­ting the ball great at dis­tricts and re­ally over the last week,” he said. “I felt ready for this one.”

Spring-Ford coach Jeff Mast ex­plained that Po­chet’s suc­cess­ful post­sea­son run comes right on the heels of a suc­cess­ful reg­u­lar sea­son.

“Noth­ing he does sur­prises me any­more,” said Mast. “In the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, one of our goals was to play our best golf at the end of the sea­son. That cer­tainly seems to be the case with Ben.”

Be­hind Po­chet, Pope John Paul II ju­nior JT Spina fin­ished tied for sec­ond with Man­heim Town­ship’s Sam Beau­re­gard at 2-un­der 70. Mont­gomery fol­lowed right be­hind with a 1-un­der 71 to fin­ish tied for fourth.

As for Shevlin, just over a year re­moved from a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure to help cure the sco­l­io­sis in his back, the Rustin se­nior is ex­ceed­ing any­thing he’s pre­vi­ously done in his high school ca­reer. After sit­ting out his ju­nior sea­son dur­ing the re­cov­ery pe­riod, Shevlin is back at it full­force this year.

“This means a lot for me,” he said. “I never even made it past Ches-Monts be­fore this sea­son, so ev­ery­thing I’ve done so far this year re­ally means a lot.

“I’m still work­ing my way back to full-strength. All sea­son, our matches are just nine holes, so to come out and play 18 — it gets tough. All the adren­a­line, though, it gets me through.”

The se­nior kept a clean score­card on the frontside with nine pars while he had two bo­geys and a birdie on the back nine.

Unionville’s Giane­los tied for 16th with a 2-over 74.

Devon’s Donato Does It

In the 2A field, Devon Prep’s Bryan Donato be­came the first golfer from his school to ever qual­ify for the PIAA Cham­pi­onships when he shot a 3-over round of 75 at Golden Oaks. That was good enough to tie for third and be safely in the top 14.

AUSTIN HERTZOG — DIGITAL FIRST ME­DIA

Con­estoga’s Sa­man­tha Yao hits from the fair­way on No. 18 Mon­day dur­ing the PIAA East Re­gion Golf Cham­pi­onships at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleet­wood.

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