RANDOLPH — To open the 50th year of Penn-York Junior Golf, the tour explored a different part of the Southern Tier for the first time.
Cardinal Hills Golf Course played host to the league’s season-opening tournament on Monday, its first Penn-York stop and the first of six on the league schedule this summer. Two returning Penn-York golfers, Smethport’s Connor Alfieri and Bradford’s Elyse Godding, earned first-place finishes in the boys and girls Division I (18 hole) age groups.
Alfieri, from Smethport CC, led the Div. I boys (age 16-18) , carding a 1-over par 73, besting runner-up Thomas Anderson of Bradford’s Pennhills by four strokes.
Alfieri said he’d twice played Cardinal Hills before, in a scramble last year and a practice round on Sunday.
“The greens were a lot firmer chipping the ball so I knew that was helpful, so I didn’t have to carry the ball as far,” Alfieri said of what he learned about the course. “Then putting on some of them, just to figure out what they were doing, how they were rolling, that was beneficial.
“I missed some putts, hit some stupid putts, but overall I had a lot of good iron shots, I never got into trouble off the tee hardly ever. I wish I could have closed out that front nine a little bit better but I’m not going to complain because I rounded out that back with two under.”
Alfieri, in his “fourth or fifth” year playing Penn-York, said he enjoys a stress-free environment on the junior tour.
“I just like it because there’s no stress in the tournaments,” Alfieri said. “It’s a lot of fun playing with Matthew (Lonto) and Sam (Hyman) today. We had a lot of fun, we were laughing pretty much the whole time. It’s just fun because it’s like a low-pressure tournament but it’s still fun to play.”
Anderson said he came out for the league for the first time at the suggestion of his friend, Spencer Cornelius.
“This was my first time,” Anderson said of the course. “I liked the course. It was nice. Some of the par fives were kind of getting me.”
Also in the boys Div. I, Eric Christoff of Johnsonburg (Laurel Mills) carded the league’s first double-eagle — or an “albatross” — finishing the par-five No. 10 hole in two strokes. He finished tied for third with a 78.
“I hit my drive down the middle to about 205,” Christoff said of the 10th hole. “I hit my hybrid up by the green. I was walking up to the green, thought it was going to be close and one of the other kids actually chipped in for par and we were looking around for the ball. I was going to go back and hit again and then we went over to the hole and it was in the hole.”
— Godding (Pine Acres) won the top girls division by 10 strokes, with a 79. She said she got in a practice round on Sunday to learn the course.
“I learned that some of the greens, they can be quite tricky,” she said. “Some read a break, some don’t, so you just have to really focus on putting and getting it close to the whole. My round today was a little bit off. Normally I’m lower than 79, but I’m not too mad at it.”
Later this month, she plans to visit Australia for an international golf competition.
“I got invited to play in the Down Under Sports Cup in Australia,” she said. “It’s Australia vs. the U.S., so two international tournaments and one All-American tournament.”
— Curtis Barner (Kane CC) shot an 81 to win the boys Division II (ages 14-15).
Ryan Lechner (Bartlett CC) of Allegany won Division III (ages 12-13) with a nine-hole score of 44. Emma Edwards (St. Bonaventure GC) won the girls Division III with a 55.
Playing from the modified tees in Division IV (11-under), Randolph’s Jaxon Morrison won a playoff on his home course for first place. Morrison and Carter Davis, also from Cardinal Hills, tied with a 42, but Morrison earned first with a par on the first playoff hole.
— The tournament featured two other playoffs for runner-up trophies. Jarrett Pond (Elkdale) and Cole Lechner (Bartlett) tied with an 82 in the boys Div. II, and tied the first three sudden-death playoff holes starting at No. 10 before Pond clinched second place on the 13th hole.
In the boys Division III, brothers Clayton and Mitchell Brinsky (Pennhills) tied for second with a 51 before Clayton earned the runner-up trophy in a playoff.
— To mark the 50th season, all Penn-York golfers received a hat and bag tag with a commemorative logo. The league had 86 golfers sign up, though only 62 competed due to prior commitments to various sports camps, director Kyle Henzel said. Those interested in signing their child up for the final five weeks of Penn-York are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week, Penn-York makes its annual trip to Elkdale Country Club in Salamanca on Monday, July 8.
— The first week Top 10 by age group divisions:
Division I Boys
1. C. Alfieri (Smeth) 73 10
2. T. Anderson (Pennhills) 77 9
3. E. Christoff (Laurel Mill) 78 7½
3. S. Cornelius (Pennhills) 78 7½
5. B. Burton (H.Hills) 79 6
6. Z. Zameroski (LM) 80 5
7. M. Davis (Bartlett) 81 4
8. M. Lonto (Elkdale) 82 3
9. S. Hyman (H.Hills) 83 1½
9.) C. Salvaggio (C.Hills) 83 1½
Division II Boys
1. C. Barner (Kane) 81 10
2. J. Pond (Elk.) 82 9
3. R. Lechner (Bartlett) 82 8
4. K. McClain (Bartlett) 89 7
5. M. Bizzak (Kane) 92 6
6. J. DeRose (Bartlett) 97 5
7. T. Stitt (Bartlett) 98 3½
7. M. Bizzak (Kane) 98 3½
9. D. Brokaw (Pennhills) 101 2
10. M. Keller (Unatt) 105 1
Division III Boys (9 holes)
1. R. Lechner (Bartlett) 44 10
2. C. Brinsky (Pennhills) 51 9
3. M. Brinsky (Pennhills) 51 8
4. T. Salvaggio (C. Hills) 57 6½
4. D. Smith (Pennhills) 57 6½
6. K. Padlo (Birch Run) 61 5
7. C. Brainard (C. Hills) 63 4
8. E. Whitmore (Bradford) 67 2½
8. K. Scanlon (Bolivar) 67 2½
10. D. Wiedmann (Unatt) 68 1
Division IV Boys (9 hole modified)
1. J. Morrison (C.Hills) 42 10
2. C. Davis (C. Hills) 42 9
3. D. Skaggs (P. Acres) 43 8
4. A. Schott (Coud) 46 7
5. O. Wright (C. Hills) 47 6
6. C. Carls (Springville) 51 5
7. J. Marsh (C.Hollow) 54 4
8. A. Wade (Elkdale) 68 3
9. C. Kosinski (H. Valley) 75 2
Division I Girls (18 holes)
1. E. Godding (PA) 79 10
2. J. Corey (Chaut) 89 9
3. L. Salvaggio (CH) 94 8
4. K. Kline (Unatt) 99 7
5. J. Stockwell (Moon.) 102 6
6. S. Pillitieri (Moon.) 104 5
7. I. Palermo (Moon.) 119 4
8. O. Schott (Coud) 134 3
Division III Girls (9 holes)
1. E. Edwards (Bonas) 55 10
2. A. Salvaggio (C. Hills) 56 9
3. N. Eckloff (Moon.) 58 8
4. S. Cornelius (PA) 61 7
5. K. Crawford (Bonas) 62 6
6. A. Hirlman (Birch Run) 74 5