WILMINGTON, Del. — Standing at 5 over after his first three holes, Ryan Siegler of Mercer Oaks GC could’ve thrown in the towel and enjoyed a no-frills day of golf. Instead, the West Windsor, N.J. resident forgot his mistakes and forged ahead to capture the Christman Cup Thursday at a beautiful Bidermann GC (par 72, 6,564 yards). Siegler outlasted the 47-player field, clutching onto a 3-over-par 147 total to prevail. The win marked his first on the Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior circuit.
“This is great,” Siegler, a relative GAP newcomer, said. “With this being my senior year, there’s a lot of pressure to put up good scores for colleges. I’ve been working on my game hard, and to see it pay off is rewarding.”
Siegler, who began his morning round on the back nine, three-putted the No. 10 (par 4, 424 yards) green from 30 feet to lose a stroke. He dumped an 8-iron into the front left bunker on the par 3, 155-yard 11th hole. Siegler exploded out of a plugged lie, lofted a chip to 30 feet and again three-putted to card a triple bogey. Things didn’t get any easier on No. 12 (par 5, 520 yards). The lanky lefty three-putted for a 6 after reaching the putting surface in regulation with a sand wedge.
“I didn’t really have a feel for the greens,” he said of the early miscues.
A collected Siegler finally settled into the round with a birdie on No. 14 (par 4, 440 yards). He drilled a 9-iron 142 yards to three feet. Siegler, a soon-to-be-senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School, shifted into full throttle on No. 1 (par 4, 315 yards). The long-hitter drove the green and two-putted from 50 feet behind the hole location for birdie. He eagled the par 5, 475-yard No. 2 following a 6-iron shot that sailed 170 yards to 15 feet. Putting woes re-emerged on Nos. 4 (par 3, 175 yards) and 5 (par 4, 379 yards) as Siegler missed a pair of par-gimmes. He recovered with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 6 (par 5, 479 yards) and 7 (par 4, 311 yards). On the first, Siegler hit an 8-iron 175 yards downwind to 30 feet and two-putted. His length off the tee served Siegler well on No. 7. He again ripped a drive to the front of the green and two-putted for a 3. Siegler posted a 33 on the back nine to finish as the first round leader with a 2-over-par 74.
“I knew it couldn’t possibly get any worse. I was just in a groove and kept it going,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t hitting bad shots. I was just a little unlucky. I knew if I continued to hit good shots and make some putts, I could turn it around. I didn’t assume that I was going to have the first-round lead because I thought someone was going to come in lower than 74.”
With the rest of the field giving chase, Siegler stayed comfortable in the pace car. He birdied No. 2 after smashing his 6-iron 170 yards to the right of the green and nestling a chip to three feet. Siegler failed to get up-and-down for par from the front left bunker on No. 4 (par 3, 175 yards). He reclaimed that stroke on No. 7 by driving the green once more and two-putting for birdie. Siegler found another red figure on the treacherous par 5, 504-yard 15th hole. He stuck a 6-iron 175 yards to 12 feet and again two-putted to move to 1 over for the tournament.
“I knew that if I played OK coming in, I’d have a good shot,” Sigler, who finished fourth in last week’s Francis Hussey Memorial alongside clubmate Charles Cai, said. “I just tried to par as many holes as I could and take advantage when I hit it close.”
Siegler stumbled out of his groove for a brief moment on No. 16 (par 3, 215 yards). He steered a 3-iron out-of-bounds and registered a double bogey. Two conservative pars preserved a 1 over for the afternoon.
W. Evan Thornton of Berkshire CC logged a 6-over-par 150 total to finish second. The Wyomissing, Pa. resident used a 1-over-par 73 in the afternoon to shoot up the leaderboard.
|W. Evan Thornton|
“I really wanted to go low today because it’s such a big tournament,” Thornton, 16, said. “I was really nervous in the beginning. I thought I needed to make a run on my second 18.”
Thornton, an incoming junior at Wyomissing High School, did just that. He birdied two of his last four holes. After reaching the No. 6 (par 5, 479 yards) green in two strokes with a 6-iron from 185 yards out, Thornton almost canned a 15-footer for eagle. He came up 20 yards short of the No. 7 green and knocked a chip 10 feet. Thornton turned in his best GAP performance Thursday. Last year, he finished tied for fourth in the Jock MacKenzie Memorial and qualified for match play in the Junior Boys’ Championship.
|Ryan Siegler, Mercer Oaks Golf Course||74-73–147|
|W. Evan Thornton, Berkshire Country Club||77-73–150|
|T.J. Summers, Commonwealth National Golf Club||77-75–152|
|Reilly Erhardt, Trenton Country Club||76-76–152|
|Connor Eichman, Llanerch Country Club||76-79–155|
|Zach Arsenault, Little Mill Country Club||83-74–157|
|Ryan Rucinski, Hartefeld National||80-77–157|
|Cole Berman, Philadelphia Cricket Club||78-79–157|
|Kevin Zipf, Philadelphia Country Club||77-80–157|
|Kyle Sterbinsky, Yardley Country Club||83-75–158|
|Jonathan Rennard, Phoenixville Country Club||76-82–158|
|Sean Fahey, Overbrook Golf Club||79-80–159|
|Jack Fosselman, Hartefeld National||83-77–160|
|R. Morgan Dougherty, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||83-77–160|
|Joseph Rueter, Jr., Huntingdon Valley Country Club||89-74–163|
|Sam Gallen, Berkshire Country Club||81-82–163|
|Matt Yanek, Woodstone Country Club||85-78–163|
|Kevin Conners, Jr., Whitford Country Club||79-85–164|
|Steven Altieri, Hopewell Valley Golf Club||85-81–166|
|Sam Soeth, White Manor Country Club||87-79–166|
|Alex Dupre, Rolling Green Golf Club||82-84–166|
|Jon Stewart, Honeybrook Golf Club||89-78–167|
|Alex Kane, Radley Run Country Club||82-85–167|
|Connor Goodrich, Merchantville Country Club||85-83–168|
|Matthew Bastian, Jr., Rolling Green Golf Club||80-88–168|
|Kevin Hosey, DuPont Country Club||88-82–170|
|Liam McAnally, Applecross Country Club||86-84–170|
|Francis Worthington, Manufacturers Golf & Country Club||86-84–170|
|Brendan Papariello, White Manor Country Club||81-90–171|
|Mac Selverian, Aronimink Golf Club||82-89–171|
|Chris Burns, Kennett Square Golf & Country Club||82-89–171|
|Ryan Sander, Medford Village Country Club||84-88–172|
|Mac Ryan, Overbrook Golf Club||81-91–172|
|Chris Szal, Jr., Torresdale-Frankford Country Club||94-81–175|
|Brock Kovach, Berkshire Country Club||88-87–175|
|Liam Fahey, Overbrook Golf Club||94-83–177|
|Mac Walsh, Aronimink Golf Club||90-88–178|
|Sean Fitzpatrick, Cavaliers Country Club||91-89–180|
|Jack Quirk, Huntingdon Valley Country Club||88-94–182|
|Robert Firth, Jr., Commonwealth National Golf Club||100-85–185|