Penn-York Junior Golf

Spencer Cornelius (right) won the boys’ Division I on Monday in the first stop of the Penn-York Junior Golf League with a score of 73, holding off runner-up Connor Alfieri (left).

SALAMANCA — Amid a unique summer in the 51 years of the Penn-York Junior Golf League’s existence, young golfers reported to Week 1 in strong numbers Monday morning at Elkdale Country Club.

While other sports — in and out of school — have suffered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, golf is still an option this summer, to the benefit of Penn-York. League director Kyle Henzel said 90 golfers out of a registered 94 turned out for Monday’s opening tournament at Elkdale Country Club, a much stronger percentage than last year’s 62 out of 86 in Week 1.

Henzel suggested a lack of competing events, such as athletic camps, led to stronger golf participation.

“My theory is because there’s no baseball camps, no soccer camps, there’s nothing going on, there’s a little travel baseball going on, there’s a little travel softball going on, but other than that, I don’t see anything going on,” he said. “So there’s just not a lot to do. I think maybe that’s helped golf a little bit. I had a friend from Jamestown, who said his kid’s playing and he never played Penn-York. I said, ‘Why are you playing?’ He said, ‘I played a lot during lockdown.’ So maybe that’s helped.”

Henzel said the league made slight alterations to limit contact and space out golfers on the course.

“Just because of what’s going on, we’re not exchanging scorecards at the end to sign,” he said. “It’s just one step that they’re doing, other than that, nothing really has changed: just trying to keep them more spread apart with the groups behind everybody, no shaking hands, just the normal stuff.”

BRADFORD’S Spencer Cornelius, from Pine Acres Golf Course, continued a red-hot summer by winning the Division I Boys (ages 16-18) medalist trophy with a 73 (3-over par). He edged out Smethport’s Connor Alfieri, who carded a 74 as runner-up.

Playing in the first group of Div. I boys, Cornelius knew Alfieri was on his heels on the back nine.

“My coach did come over on (the) 14th tee and told me Connor was 1-under through 12,” Cornelius said, “and that really pushed me to keep playing my game and just try to shoot as good as possible. I ended up shooting 1-under in the next four holes, (but) unfortunately ended with two bogies.”

Also playing this summer in the Western New York PGA Junior Tour, Cornelius won five of his first six tournaments. He made it six of seven on Monday.

“For Week 1, I did really well on the front nine, went to the back and left a lot of strokes out there, definitely could have played better,” Cornelius said. “But we’re still happy with first, just had a few lip out par putts that didn’t go in but could have.

“Keep doing better than what I did last year,” Cornelius added of his P-Y goals. “I know I shot a 73 here last year too, so I wasn’t really excited about my score today, but I can live with it if I take first place.”

Cornelius, 16, in his fifth year of Penn-York, said he loves the competition at the top of the oldest boys division, with a strong group of about 10 contenders. He said being able to practice at home has helped give him a head start on the summer.

“I’ve got a golf hole in my backyard that I always love to practice my iron shots on,” he said, “and just getting to play a little bit more than the other kids when COVID was going on really helped out my game.”

KAYLIN Kline (Holland) won her first-ever Penn-York title in the Division I girls (9 Holes) with a round of 39. Talan Stitt (Bartlett) shot a 95, winning boys’ Division II (ages 14-15) for his first victory of the year. The Division III boys (ages 12-13) winner was Ryan Lechner (Bartlett), shooting a 42 for his first victory.

Peyton Leet (Pine Acres GC) won the 9-hole girls’ Division III with a score of 58.

Matthew Beaver (Cardinal Hills) won the Division IV boys (11-under), carding a 40 on modified tees. Makenna Heckman (Coudersport) won the Div. IV girls, shooting a 62 from modified tees.

Penn-York tees off again Monday, July 13, in Bradford at Pennhills Country Club for the second stop in a five-week season.

BOYS DIVISION I

1. S. Cornelius(PA) 73-10 2. C. Alfieri (Smeth) 74 9 3. M. Bizzak (Kane) 75 8 4. B. Burton (HH) 76 6.5 4. M. Lonto (ELK) 76 6.5 6. C. Salvaggio (CH) 77 4.5 6. M. Davis (Bar) 77 4.5 8. C.Barner (Kane) 79 3 9. S. Russell (Spring) 80 2 10. K. McClain (Bar) 81 1

DIVISION II

1. T. Stitt (BAR) 95 10 2. A. Forrest (BR) 96 9 3. E. Bailey (WELL) 100 8 4. J. DeRose (Bar) 101 7 5. D. Brokaw (PH) 103 6 6. T. Bates (Bona) 107 4.5 6. E. Oberfell (Bona) 107 4.5 8. M. Brinsky (PH) 111 2.5 8. L. Brushingham (Bona) 111 2.5 10. C. Brinsky (PH) 112 1

DIVISION III (9 Holes)

1. R. Lechner (BAR) 42 10 2. T. Salvaggio (CH) 50 9 3. K. Heckman (Coud) 51 8 4. C. Strade (Bona) 52 7 5. C. Davis (CH) 53 4.5 5. J. Morrison (CH) 53 4.5 5. C. Votgli (Bona) 53 4.5 5. J.Mest (Bona) 53 4.5 10. C. Kline (RA) 54 1.5 10. D. Skaggs (PA) 54 1.5

DIVISION IV (9 Hole Modified)

1. M. Beaver (CH) 40 10 2. L. McCardle (Cal) 49 9 3. N. Beaver (CH) 50 8 4. J. Bell (PA) 53 7 5. L. Johnson (Bar) 54 6 6. D.Myers (Bar) 55 5 7. C. Bartman (Bona) 56 4 8. A. Bohdanowycz (Bar) 59 3 9. M. Forrest (BR) 63 2 10. A. Leet (PA) 65 1

GIRLS DIVISION I (9 Holes)

1. K. Kline (Holl) 39 10 2. A. Salvaggio (CH) 53 9 3. O. Schott (Coud) 63 8 4. S. Cornelius (PA) 70 7

DIVISION III (9 Holes)

1. P. Leet (PA) 58 10 2. N. Ecklof (Moon) 63 9 3. R. Thompson (BOL) 66 8 4. A. Bates (Bona) 69 7 5. K. Crawford (Bona) 72 6 6. M. Ford (Bona) 76 5 7. C. Bell (PA) 83 4

DIVISION IV (9 Hole Modified)

1. M. Heckman (Coud) 62 0