Central York's Will Gekas uses strong summer to prep for fall season of great expectations
As summer slowly fades into fall, Central York golfer Will Gekas knows the competition will only grow stronger as the events increase in significance.
With that in mind, he’s using his time on the York County Junior Golf Association's summer tour as a chance to gain beneficial experience for the scholastic season ahead. It's one when the talented Panthers will be tasked with living up to lofty expectations.
Gekas wrapped up a successful summer regular season with a second-place finish at the YCJGA’s event at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.
Gekas’ 78 was four shots behind Boys' 15-18 Blue Division medalist Austin Shreffler of Northern York. Spring Grove freshman Karl Frisk was third at 79.
With his performance Tuesday, Gekas wrapped up the top seed for next week’s YCJGA George Barton Match Play Championship at Grandview.
Shreffler closed his regular season with back-to-back second-place finishes before Tuesday’s victory. That stretch vaulted him all the way into the second seed. Gekas’ Central York teammate, Brady St. Pierre, is the projected third seed.
The field will be set later this week.
Gekas participated in the YCJGA’s summer tour to get an early taste of tournament pressure. He got things started by winning the season opener at Cool Creek and he also claimed a victory at Hanover Country Club. Gekas was also runner-up on three separate occasions this summer.
“Playing in tournaments really gives me some knowledge, knowledge of Heritage (and other courses). And just more experience and being more comfortable,” Gekas said.
The match-play event will allow Gekas a chance to work on game planning, while also playing under the expectations of being the top seed.
“Match play is a different game than stroke play,” Gekas said. “So you’re going to have to play more aggressive, shoot at pins more often. A lot more strategy goes into it.”
Trouble closing sides: Had it not been for a stretch of trouble down the stretch on each nine, Gekas might have been able to boast a trio of summer triumphs.
With play starting on the back nine Tuesday, Gekas looked like he might make his move after an arrow off the tee on the par-4 sixth set him up with a prime scoring chance. Gekas was able to tuck a shot 8 feet from the pin before converting the birdie to get his second nine to even par.
However, trouble awaited. Gekas carded a bogey, double-bogey finish. He also gave three shots back to par on the final three holes of his first nine.
Talented Panther squad: Gekas is hoping a solid performance in the match-play event can help build momentum for the fall, when he looks to be a key contributor for a talent-rich Panther team.
Central returns nearly its entire lineup from a 2016 season that saw it win York-Adams League and District 3 Class 3-A titles, as well as a PIAA Class 3-A third-place medal. Gekas played a large part in the Panthers’ state bronze performance.
Led by University of Arizona recruit Joe Parrini, the defending York-Adams and District 3 champ, the Panthers look powerful. They will also return York-Adams Leauge girls’ champ Julianne Lee, as well as Connor Bacha, who placed fifth in the state in Class 3-A a season ago as a freshman.
“It makes me want to be a better player,” Gekas said of being able to practice alongside the area’s top talents. “Watching our No. 1 player, Joe Parrini, you can find a lot of good things in his swing. And I try to implement how he plays the game. I’m really looking forward to a good school year.”
Girls’ side: In Red Division girls’ play, the projected bracket for the match play event will look very similar to Tuesday’s leaderboard.
Central’s Cailey Roman was Tuesday’s medalist with an 83 and will be the top seed next week. New Oxford’s Ella Moores was runner-up with an 84 and will be the second seed. Taylor Pratte shot an 89 for third place and will be the third seed. Lillian McNally will round out the match-play field after placing fifth Tuesday with a 96.
OTHER LOCAL GOLF
Series of aces: A trio of holes-in-one were recorded at area courses recently.
Charlie Karwacki used an 8-iron to ace the 131-yard par-3 third hole at Briarwood East on July 12. His feat was witnessed by Greg Fink, Gary Bowman and Danny Baer.
Terry Hormel sank his shot on the par-3 second hole at Hanover Country Club on Tuesday using his 5-hybrid. Witnessing his shot were Ernie Farley and Sam Prutch.
Lee Dietz rounds out the group with his recent ace on the par-3 fifth hole at Cool Creek. Greg Grim, Bob Snyder and Jim Fiorentino watched Dietz use a 6-iron to get the job done.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.