Last week, Central York’s golf team shot an 11-over-par 299 at Briarwood East to win the York-Adams League team championship by nearly 50 strokes.
After the win, head coach Sean Guerin said if his team broke 300 in the District 3 Class 3-A team tournament, the Panthers would probably defeat Manheim Township for their third-straight district crown.
Guerin was right, except that Central didn’t shoot as well Tuesday at the district championship as it did a week ago in the league event. The Panthers shot a combined 38-over 326 at Briarwood East to lose by 24 strokes to Manheim Township.
“I knew we’d have to have a stellar day to get through. We had it last week, but we just didn’t have it this week,” Guerin said. “Manheim is very good. You have to have your best stuff to beat a team like that, and we just didn’t have it.”
Junior Carson Bacha, who led all golfers with a 2-under 70, said the loss was “disappointing.”
“It wasn’t quite the way we wanted to finish the season as a team, putting up literally our worst score this year,” Bacha said.
Only the district champion advances to state play.
Inexperienced squad: The Panthers graduated seven seniors from last year’s team, with only two starters — Bacha and Jun Lee — returning.
Guerin said the young team’s inexperience showed Tuesday.
“This tournament is probably the biggest thing that they play in,” Guerin said. “They just don’t have a lot of experience in that arena. It’s a different kind of golf. It’s not like playing in our county stuff. There’s a little more pressure.”
Guerin added that aside from Bacha, who regularly plays in competitive, “big-time” tournaments, the rest of the team hasn’t played under the level of pressure they did Tuesday.
“It’s a different kind of feeling, knowing that all of your teammates are counting on you,” Guerin said.
Bacha leads the way: Bacha, an Auburn University commit, birdied three of his first five holes — the same stretch where he excelled during last week’s Y-A League individual championship, which he won.
The rest of his round was average by his high standards. He shot 1-over par the rest of the way to finish with a tournament-best 70.
“Considering how well I struck the ball, it was a day where I could have taken it deep if I played a little bit better on the greens,” Bacha said.
Seven holes into his round on the par-3 third hole, Bacha missed a short putt, which he said started his putting problems for the next 11 holes.
“I liked where my round was heading, and then I kind of just hit a brick wall after a mishap on hole three,” Bacha said. “From there on, I started missing some putts inside of five feet.”
Other Class 3-A scores: Bacha was one of two golfers to shoot under par. Garrett Engle of Central Dauphin, which finished last of four teams with a 338, shot the second best score of the tournament with a 71.
The four next best scores all belonged to Manheim, which totaled a 14-over 302. Graham Calhoun and Hamilton McNaughton both shot a 2-over 74, while Shaun Fedor (76) and Ellen Wager (78) rounded out the Blue Streaks’ four-golfer score. Wilson finished third with a 331.
Joining Bacha on Central was Jun Lee (84), Alex Gekas (86), Cailey Roman (86) and Cole Sevick (86).
Class 2-A tournament: York Catholic finished fourth out of six schools in the District 3 2-A championship, also at Briarwood East on Tuesday.
Lancaster Mennonite won the title with a 334. Brandywine Heights followed with a 341, and Trinity took bronze with a 342. York Catholic’s 369 put it ahead of Dayspring Christian and Millersburg, which had scores of 377 and 399, respectively.
York Catholic’s Russ McPaul was the best 2-A golfer on the day, shooting a 3-over 75. Trinity’s James Ulsh (76) and Brandywine’s Elijah Rupert (77) were the only other 2-A golfers to shoot sub-80.
McPaul was joined by Max Kile (91), Ben Andrasi (92) and Patrick Doran (111).
Looking ahead: With neither Central nor York Catholic moving onto the state team tournament, both teams look ahead to the golfers participating in the District 3 individual championship Friday through Saturday back at Briarwood.
McPaul is the only York Catholic golfer advancing to districts, while Bacha and Lee move on for Central. Roman will compete in the girls’ tournament this weekend.
“There’s a lot of positives I can take from today,” Bacha said. “There’s some work I need to get in before Friday. I’m excited for what the weekend has to hold and what I can do.”
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.