Caitlyn Butler, left, watches as Kerra Loomis lines up a putt during Sunday’s first-round qualifier in the Girls U-17 Division for The Greatest Junior Golfer of the Valley tournament at Pine Lakes Golf Club in Hubbard. The top two boys and girls in each division (U-17 and U-14) advanced to the championship final set for July 21 at Trumbull Country Club. Butler finished tied for third with a 91, and Loomis finished in fifth with a 96.
First 8 junior golfers advance after Pine Lakes qualifier
By ryan buck
Eight golfers shook off the 85-degree heat on Sunday afternoon to punch their tickets for The Vindicator’s Greatest Golfer of the Valley Junior’s Competition finals.
The top two scorers from each of four age groups of boys and girls emerged from the first qualifier held at Pine Lakes Golf Club.
In the U-17 Boys’ Division, Girard’s Evan Standohar and Poland’s Jason McQueown both carded 77 to tie for first place.
Standohar will be joined at the final weekend at Trumbull Country Club by his younger brother, Mark, who topped the U-14 Boys division with an 82. Joe Shushok finished two strokes behind Mark Standohar to earn the age group’s other invitation.
For the girls, Gina DePasquale of Hubbard and Poland’s Melinda Hannon earned qualifying score in the U-17 group.
Skylar Ladig and Kaci Carpenter qualified in the Girls U-14 division with a 101 and a 103, respectively.
Despite the heat, Pine Lakes Club Pro Chris Carfangia was pleased with the shape of the course and, in turn, the scorecards of the players “lugging around their golf bags.”
“It went well. With the weather and the conditions I think the scores indicated it was kind of a tough test, though,” Carfangia said.
Players that were able to overcome the fatigue later in their rounds excelled.
“You saw the numbers jump up on the back nine, especially for the girls. For the boys, the numbers seemed to go down on the back nine, which was strange,” Carfangia said. “But the course condition was fantastic so that kind of helped with some of the good scores.”
The consistent Evan Standohar, making his first appearance in the competition, kept his cool.
“I try and block it out and be mentally tough, physically too,” Standohar said of the high temperatures. “I didn’t really try and let it get to me; just work on my fundamentals and worry about the game of golf.”
DePasquale used her familiarity with Pine Lakes to her advantage. Her low of 84 was also a credit to her accuracy off the tee.
“I love this course,” DePasquale said when asked if she played it often. “Yeah, basically, because I live right down the street.
“It was my drives and my second shots because I hit the green in two mostly every time.”
Hannon, who turned in an 85, earned some redemption from her performance in the tournament last summer.
“I missed qualifying by one, so I was really happy [today],” Hannon said. “No more pressure. I can just go play now.”
The next Greatest Golfer Junior qualifying event takes place on June 9 at Mohawk Trails in New Castle, Pa. Tournament information and registration is available at The Vindicator website and in print.