Spring-Ford Po­chet de­fends dis­trict ti­tle

Shoots 7-un­der Wednesday to win by 3 strokes

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

LIMERICK » Two things were threat­en­ing to ap­proach all day on Wednesday — thun­der­storms and Ben Po­chet.

For­tu­nately for most, only one of them rolled through in the af­ter­noon.

Po­chet, a se­nior at SpringFord, put to­gether a flaw­less sec­ond round at Tur­tle Creek to rally back and claim the Dis­trict One Class AAA boys golf cham­pi­onship for the sec­ond straight sea­son.

“This is by far the best round I’ve ever played in a tour­na­ment,” said Po­chet who fol­lowed up Tues­day’s 2-un­der round with a 7-un­der on Day Two. “Best back-nine, best nine holes I’ve ever had, too. This is such a good way to go out — my last tour­na­ment round here (Tur­tle Creek), prob­a­bly ever.”

Po­chet trailed Cen­tral Bucks East ju­nior Pa­trick Shee­han by three strokes with three holes to go be­fore string­ing to­gether a clutch birdie-birdie-par fin­ish while Shee­han stum­bled down the stretch with a dou­ble bo­gey on No. 16.

For his sec­ond round, Po­chet had a clean score­card while mix­ing in seven birdies — five on the

back-nine — and 11 pars. He hit 13 fair­ways, 15 greens in reg­u­la­tion and pinged his put­ter 26 times, aided by a chip-in for birdie on No. 5.

“Going into the last three holes, I was think­ing I’d have to birdie-out to have a chance to catch Pa­trick,” re­called Po­chet. “I hit some big putts, some re­ally good wedge shots down the stretch.”

Po­chet got his late run started on No. 16. The Drexel Univer­sity com­mit stuck an ap­proach shot to within inches of the pin, then came away with a tap-in for birdie. He fol­lowed that up with a 40foot birdie putt on No. 17.

Then the nerves fi­nally set­tled in on No. 18.

After hit­ting his sec­ond shot out of the bunker on the left of the fair­way, Po­chet stood over his ball while ey­ing up a 200plus shot over the wa­ter and onto the green.

“It didn’t hit me un­til I was stand­ing over the shot, and I al­most backed off,” said Po­chet, of the de­ci­sion to ei­ther go for the green or play it short.

After a quick mo­ment of de­lib­er­a­tion, Po­chet landed it within 15 feet of the pin where he would two-putt to end it with a par.

“I needed a few min­utes to catch my breath there after

I hit it,” said Po­chet with a laugh. “Last hole — know­ing that I was ahead, know­ing that Pa­trick still wasn’t fin­ished, you just do what you can in that spot. I was swinging it well all day, so I trusted it.”

Shee­han cer­tainly didn’t fin­ish qui­etly.

Need­ing to hole-out for a dou­ble ea­gle from 240 yards out on No. 18 to push a tie with Po­chet, Shee­han’s ap­proach shot struck less than a foot from the pin. From there, he’d two-putt his way to a run­ner-up fin­ish.

“I’m happy but dis­ap­pointed at the same time, I can’t lie,” said Shee­han, who led at 3-un­der after the opening round. “I kind of just got beat out­right to­day. Ben played so well, es­pe­cially late.”

The 6-5 long-drive spe­cial­ist fin­ished 3-un­der for his sec­ond round, mix­ing in seven birdies, two bo­geys and a dou­ble along with eight pars on the day.

In to­tal, 16 play­ers from the field of 30 ad­vanced to next Mon­day’s East­ern Regional Tour­na­ment at Golden Oaks. With fa­vor­able con­di­tions through­out both days of the tour­na­ment, the fi­nal cut sat at 1-over 145.

Ne­shaminy’s Greg Deluca fin­ished at 4-un­der 140 for the tour­na­ment fol­lowed by Nor­ris­town’s Caleb Ryan in fourth with a 3-un­der fin­ish.

Pope John Paul II se­nior J.T. Spina erased a for­get­table

opening round right from the get-go for a fifth­place 2-un­der to fin­ish tied with Wil­liam Ten­nent’s Colin Walsh.

En­ter­ing the day sit­ting at 3-over, Spina birdied four of his first six holes en route to a 5-un­der 67.

“I was happy just to be able to play to­day,” said Spina. “I ended my round with a 20-foot putt yes­ter­day, or else I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have made it here. I knew I’d need to go un­der­par just to have a chance to­day.”

••• Also among the qual­i­fiers were Owen J. Roberts’ se­nior Ward McHenry, Cen­tral Bucks South’s Kevin An­thony and Holy Ghost Prep’s Liam Hart, all of whom fin­ished at 1-un­der 143. Rad­nor’s David Colleran, Unionville’s Con­nor Ben­nick and Con­estoga’s Mor­gan Lofland each shot even-par 144.

Five play­ers who fin­ished at 1-over bat­tled it out for the fi­nal four spots with a play­off.

Nor­ris­town’s Josh Ryan, the fresh­man brother of Caleb Ryan, and Strath Haven’s Ben Newlon each birdied the first hole to sur­vive the first wave.

Then on No. 9, Unionville’s Richie Kline and Coun­cil Rock South’s Matt Flem­ing each chipped-in for birdie while Bishop Shana­han’s Ryan Con­ners left his birdie putt just short to miss the cut.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ben Po­chet of Spring-Ford won the Boys Class AAA ti­tle at the PIAA Dis­trict Golf Cham­pi­onships at Tur­tle Creek Golf Club Wednesday. With the win, Po­chet also qual­i­fied for states.

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