The Morning Call (Sunday)

Murphy, Dubacher look for consistent performanc­es

District 11 sending 18 qualifiers to Penn State

- By Tom Housenick

Evan Murphy has seen it all this fall with his golf game.

The Pocono Mountain East senior shot 6-under-par for nine holes from the back tees at Pocono Farms, where he is the reigning club champion.

He then last month needed profession­al help with his game because it hit a rocky patch.

Murphy earlier this month rebounded to capture the District 11 Class 3A boys golf championsh­ip by five shots at Steel Club in Hellertown.

“My season’s had some ups and downs,” he said. “I had a big hiccup a few weeks ago.

“Putting, once I find the pace, is the strongest part of my game. I’m pretty confident with it. I have been all year.”

A hot putter carried him to his second state golf tournament.

Murphy is among 18 district golfers who advanced to the PIAA Golf Championsh­ips on Monday and Tuesday at Penn State University’s Blue and White courses.

The Class 2A competitor­s, led by district champions Drew Kokinda of Panther Valley and Mara Dubacher of Moravian Academy, will play the 36-hole event on the White course. Murphy and fellow district 3A champion Allie Tarreto of Nazareth lead the 3A contingent on the Blue course.

Murphy’s district final round was representa­tive of his season. He started with a double bogey and a bogey to fall three shots out of the lead.

The Cardinal played the next 11 holes in 5-under-par before bogeying Nos. 16 and 17 to finish at even par.

“I wasn’t putting well,” he admitted. “But I stuck one close [on No. 3] and went on from there.”

Murphy was 71st last year at states. Dubacher’s putter carried her to a second consecutiv­e district title after she too started slowly with three bogeys in her first seven holes.

The Lions sophomore believes last year’s experience at states will help her this week vie for a medal. She also believes her game is in better shape than when she shot 91-92 on two cold, windy days to finish tied for 21st.

“My approach shots last year weren’t as good,” she said. “I’ve gotten a lot better, especially from 150 yards in. My tempo is better.

“I also have a new set of clubs. Last year, I was playing with U.S. kids clubs. Now I’ve got actual adult clubs: Titleist driver, 3-wood and hybrid; TaylorMade irons, Ping wedges and Scotty Cameron putter.”

Stroudsbur­g’s Hunter Probst leads the group of returning state qualifiers. The junior tied for 10th in 2022 with rounds of 72-77. He also tied for 55th two years ago.

Other state competitor­s with experience: (Class 2A) Schuylkill Haven’s Tyler Barton was tied for 55th last year; Moravian Academy’s Collin Schreiber was 65th; (Class 3A) Nazareth’s Camryn Hoff was 29th.

Ashlyn McCormick is among District 11’s first-time qualifiers. The Pocono Mountain West senior said she’s playing with house money after recording a hole-in-one in the district tournament.

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