Central York junior Carson Bacha entered the PIAA Class 3-A Individual Boys' Golf Championship with an opportunity to almost achieve the impossible — a clean sweep of the postseason.
Bacha, a University of Auburn commit, won the York-Adams League individual title in late September. He then came back from down three strokes on Day 2 of the District 3 tournament to win that crown. A week later, Bacha won the one-round East Regional tournament to qualify for the state championship.
Despite his dominance all season, Bacha couldn’t complete his postseason sweep, shooting an 11-over-par 153 total across the two-day tournament at Heritage Hills Golf Resort to finish tied for 12th.
“It’s frustrating to have a solid season end the way it did,” Bacha said. “Obviously, states are held here every year, so I’ll be looking forward to coming back next year and see what can happen then.”
Central head coach Sean Guerin said the “disappointing” finish at the state tournament doesn’t change the “incredible” season Bacha had.
“He wanted this one bad, so it stings a little bit,” Guerin said. “To win counties, districts, regionals … he was going for the perfect season and sweep them all, which is not easy to do.”
As it turns out, Bacha wasn't the top finisher from the York-Adams League. That honor belonged to Spring Grove sophomore Karl Frisk, who tied for ninth at 9-over 151.
A long five days: Bacha shot a 5-over 76 in the first round Monday, falling three strokes off the lead. He said he was playing off only a few hours of sleep the night before because of a nearly 10-hour drive back from a three-day junior tournament in South Carolina this past weekend.
“That’s not quite an excuse I’d like to use,” he said. “I just didn’t play good golf.”
He tallied a 6-over 77 Tuesday for his two-day card of 11-over. He only birdied three of the 36 holes.
“I think I might have just been mentally and physically drained from this tournament,” Bacha said. “I just played five straight days of tournament golf, with these last two not being on a lot of sleep. I just didn’t quite have it for this tournament, and it’s frustrating.”
A learning lesson: Bacha, who didn’t compete in the state tournament as a freshman or sophomore, said he must learn from the mistakes he made this season to win the crown next year.
“Staying patient and just learning from new experiences,” said Bacha about what he learned. “This is a tournament that I played the first round on about two or three hours of sleep. There are going to be times when you don’t get the ideal start to a tournament you want. So maybe just taking that and learning from it and trying to improve if that were to happen in another tournament.”
“I think he nailed it on the head when he said he has to be more patient,” Guerin said. “When you don’t get off to the best start, you start pushing (and) taking chances probably that you shouldn’t take. He’s got to learn to be a little more patient.”
Frisk places ninth: After the first day of action, Frisk was tied with Bacha at 5 over.
The sophomore shot a 4-over 75 Tuesday.
“The first day was tough conditions,” Frisk said. “I just kind of slapped it around, and I was surprised to be only three back coming into today. Today, the scoring conditions were a lot better with the weather and how warm it was. There was no wind in the morning, and the front nine is substantially easier than the back nine.”
Frisk said he needs to improve his focus if he wants to win a state title in his last two seasons.
“I learned that I just need to focus a little bit more,” he said. “On some of the shorter putts, I yipped at them today. If I zone in and focus and eliminate the big mistakes, I can do some damage. I’m looking to win it one of these next two years.”
Jackson wins Class 3-A: While Frisk and Bacha didn’t play their best rounds Tuesday, it likely wouldn’t have mattered even if they did.
Palmer Jackson of Franklin Regional (District 7) shot a 4-under 67 Tuesday to take the crown by four strokes over Jimmy Meyers of Central Catholic (District 7).
“He was on fire today,” Frisk said. “I was looking at the scoreboard, and I knew he was a really good player.”
Peart finishes in 16th: Littlestown’s Devin Peart had a rough second day after a great first day put him in contention for the Class 2-A crown.
The senior shot 5 over Monday to trail by three strokes entering the final round. He shot a 12-over 83 Tuesday to finish tied for 16th.
William Mirams of Notre Dame (District 11) won the 2-A title by two strokes with a two-day card of 7 over.
The girls' champions were North Allegheny's Caroline Wrigley in 3-A at 3-over 147 and North Catholic's Maddie Smithco in 2-A at 11-over 155.
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at email@example.com.