CB East’s Patrick Sheehan tied for third place to top the SOL golfers at the PIAA Championship on Tuesday.
By Ben Reese
YORK -- Everyone who participates in the PIAA Golf Championship wants to win. That, however, is not possible.
Only one boy and one girl can take home the gold in AAA. Unfortunately, neither of them came from the Suburban One League.
That is not to say that the league's representatives -- Central Bucks East's Patrick Sheehan, CB West's Luca Jezzeny, Matt Fleming of Council Rock South, Souderton's Stephen Butler and Jade Gu of Pennsbury -- didn't put everything they had into the effort to win. It just didn't go their way.
For the three seniors -- Sheehan, Jezzeny and Fleming -- it was the culmination of four years of hard work. For the two sophomores, it was a taste of things to come.
Sheehan was the top finisher for the SOL, tying for third with a 73-73--146. Jezzeny finished eighth (76-74--150), Butler 24th (89-72--161), Fleming tied for 34th (78-91--189) and Gu seventh (83-76--159) for the girls. Both Sheehan and Jezzeny received medals.
For Sheehan and Jezzeny, it was a vindication of sorts. Sheehan missed getting to states last year by one stroke and Jezzeny didn't even get to Regionals in 2017.
"I'm not disappointed but I'm not necessarily happy," said Sheehan. "I think I could have shot a lot better. My putter let me down. I had 7, 8 three-putts in two days."
"Obviously, I was happy to get here and obviously would have liked to win," Jezzeny said. "Overall, I'm not too upset with how I played. I know I'm better but it is what it is."
Actually both Sheehan and Jezzeny had difficulties with their putters.
"I wasn't making any putts," said Jezzeny. "I had so many birdie chances that I let slip away."
But for Sheehan, it was what happened on 18 that bothered him the most.
"I hit a drive that went a little right," he explained. "I saw it end up around the tree.
"I didn't know if I had a shot. The tree, at the bottom, was all roots; there was no grass, (just) rocks and stuff.
"I didn't know what to do. I hit it with the back of my 52 (degree wedge), punched it into the fairway and then I got in the rough.
"The wind was brutal on 18. I don't know how my 60 (degree wedge) didn't stop on the green but it just rolled over. Then I hit a terrible putt about 30 feet past. I just made six."
That double bogey was a costly one. It dropped him from a tie for second into the tie for third.
That brings up the wind. For the morning, it was relatively calm; it picked up in the afternoon.
For Fleming, it was a hindrance. For Sheehan, a help.
"The wind just kept changing on us," Fleming said. "I hit a couple of shots and I thought they were going to land right on the pin and they landed 30 yards past the pins in hazards. I made some big numbers from there."
"I think it helped my game," Sheehan said. "I wouldn't have gotten as close to one hole nor driven the other hole without the wind (behind me)."
The two sophomores both rebounded from tough opening days. Butler shot an 89 on the first day, 18 over par, and Gu had an 83 on Monday.
But both came roaring back in the second round. Butler shot a 1-over 72 and Gu a 76.
"It was a lot better than yesterday," said Gu. "That was a disaster.
"Today my ball-striking was still pretty bad. I couldn't hit it straight or solid. My short game helped me a lot."
For Butler, it was a totally different day.
"I hit a lot of greens today and I had only one three-putt," he said. "Yesterday, I did not hit very many greens.
"Today, I was hitting most of them. I had a few one-putts today and that helped."
Strangely enough, Sheehan felt that his second round was much like his first.
"It was not going well," he said of his second round, "until I almost drove the green on 13 and that started a stretch of four birdies (on holes 13 through 16). That kind of changed my attitude a bit.
"I had close birdie opportunities on those four holes. That was the only difference (from the first round). I didn't putt well today; I didn't drive the ball well today. I actually hit the ball worse today than I did yesterday. I ended up with the same score. I had a stretch of four holes where I played really well."
Palmer Jackson of Franklin Regional of District 7 took the boys AAA title. He shot a 73-67--140 to finish at 2-under. He made five birdies on the front nine.
The girls’ crown went to North Allegheny's Caroline Wrigley with a 74-73--147, 3-over.