Rams pull out one-shot win

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS - By THOMAS NASH

LINFIELD — It was tight from start to fin­ish Thurs­day af­ter­noon as Spring-Ford nar­rowly edged host Pope John Paul II 194-195 at beau­ti­ful Linfield Na­tional Golf Club.

“I knew this was go­ing to be a close match,” said Spring-Ford (5-0) head coach Jeff Mast. “I’m just glad we were on the win­ning-side of it. Pope John Paul has a lot of good, young play­ers out there who have been play­ing well all year.”

The Golden Pan­thers (3-2) shot well, but it was a match-low 36 from Ben Po­chet that led the Rams in the right di­rec­tion.

Fin­ish­ing with eight pars and a lone bo­gey on the eighth hole, Po­chet de­scribed his per­for­mance sim­ply as solid.

“I left a wedge just short of the green,” he said of the eighth hole. “Then I chipped it up pretty close but ended up miss­ing the par putt. It was frus­trat­ing, but all in all I’m def­i­nitely happy about my per­for­mance.”

Be­hind Po­chet, Matt Keim (38), Justin Shuler (39), Chaser Ar­mour (40) and Con­nor Bo­ham (41) all turned in a solid per­for­mance for the Rams.

“I was get­ting off the tee pretty well all day long,” said Rams’ num­ber one Keim. “My prob­lem to­day seemed to be any­time I had a wedge in my hand. Get­ting the ball close to the green was killing me through­out the round.”

On the other side, chip­ping and putting have been the main fo­cus for the Golden Pan­thers so far this sea­son. Ac­cord­ing to head coach Tony Ro­mano, the short game

was the down­fall of PJP, as they fin­ished 3-6 last sea­son.

“We’ve been work­ing on our short game for the majority of prac­tice ev­ery night,” said Ro­mano. “We’ve had John Spina (ranked among the Top 15 golf teach­ers in Penn­syl­va­nia 2011-2013) help­ing our kids con­stantly. It’s been a plea­sure to have him help­ing with our game. Our kids are def­i­nitely ben­e­fit­ting from hav­ing him with us.”

Joe Mor­gan shot a team-low 37, fol­lowed by 39s from J.T. Spina, Mike Le­mon­gelli and Tom Shaf­fer while Sam Bush had a 41.

“I started off kind of slow out there,” said Mor­gan who bo­geyed the first hole with a three-putt. “But then I birdied num­ber two, went on a par-streak and then ended up get­ting another birdie on num­ber eight. But with­out that bo­gey on num­ber one, things could have been much dif­fer­ent at the end.”

Spina also had a rough start off the first tee, start­ing out with a triple bo­gey.

“I needed to get off to a bet­ter start on the first hole. Over­all, I was just try­ing to make good swings,” said Spina who fin­ished with 15 putts in­clud­ing a 10-footer for birdie on the par 5 num­ber 2. “I had my short game work­ing for the most part, but there were def­i­nitely a cou­ple mis-putts out there where I ended up leav­ing it short.”

With just two se­niors listed on the roster (Mor­gan and Bush), Ro­mano and the Pope John Paul team look to­ward a bright fu­ture as a team cur­rently filled with un­der­class­men.

“I was proud of the way they came out and stepped up,” said Ro­mano. “Ev­ery­one’s scores were the low­est they’ve been all year. They’re all very com­pet­i­tive kids which goes a long way.”

For Spring-Ford, be­ing un­de­feated up to this point in the sea­son leaves them feel­ing good. But at this point, the Rams know there is still a lot of work left on the young sea­son.

“As a team, we’re com­ing along nicely,” said Mast. “There’s a lot of golf left against a lot of good teams. At this point, our goal has been to just keep im­prov­ing, and I we’ve been do­ing just that so far.”

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