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BArry Sankey

SCHUYLKILL -- Phoenixville's John Bilo had the best score of the day, but the boys golf match still belonged to Spring-Ford Thursday afternoon.

Bilo, a senior, shot a 1-over-par 48 for 12 holes at Pickering Valley Golf Club, but the rest of the Phantoms struggled in a 274-279 victory by the Rams, who remained undefeated in the Pioneer Athletic Conference to start the season.

Spring-Ford upped its PAC-10 mark to 4-0 (4-1 overall) while Phoenixville fell to 1-3 (3-3 overall) in the early going.

Bilo posted four birdies and six pars in his stellar round. His score would have been even better if not for two bogeys on holes No. 5 and No. 11. The second rough hole came when Bilo had an 8 on a par-4 for the 346-yard hole for a quadruple bogey.

"I was 2-under par until then," said Bilo, who birdied the first, fourth, ninth and 12th holes. "It is disappointing. It stinks when you shoot a good round and you lose. We were missing two guys, and the other guys feel they have to step up. It is kind of disappointing that we came close to beating Spring-Ford when everybody played bad. I try to look at the positive side of it."

Mike Oczypok took top honors for Spring-Ford with a 52 and Paul Luchon came in right behind him with a 53.

"It was a good match," said Spring-Ford coach Jeff Mast, a 22-year veteran of the links wars. "That is what we expect when we come down here.

"It is a nice course. It is in good shape. The greens are rolling well."

Austin Galaska (55), Mike Lynch (56) and Lucas Virnig (58) completed the Rams' scoring.

Matt Brierer (54), Matt Rubino (56), Rob Werner (60) and Nick Giannopoulos (61) closed out the scoring for the Phantoms.

Mast sees some similarities between the Rams' homer course at Turtle Creek in Limerick and Pickering Valley.

"They are both more open up front and the last three holes tighten up a little bit," Mast said. "The course played nice today (Thursday). The greens were rolling. We wanted to break 270 and it is a little disappointing that we didn't. But a win is a win."

Mast likes the way his Rams are winning key matches on the road against good teams in defending champion Perkiomen Valley, St. Pius X and Phoenixville..

"You have to show that you can

win on the road and we did it today," Mast said. "We are 3-0 on the road so far and that's good. Every home team has a big advantage."

Bilo birdied the first hole, a 295-yard par 4, to start his day on a big plus side. On the fourth hole, he shot a 4 on a par-5 hole that covers 455 yards.

Bilo scored his third birdie on hole No. 9 with a 3 on a par-4 hole that covers 332 yards. The final birdie came on a par-4 chance at a hole covering 306 yards.

Bilo shot a 2-under-par 34 for the first nine holes of the match.

He produced two straight pars on holes two and three and came back with three more in a row on holes six through eight.His last par came on hole No. 10.

Spring-Ford 274, Phoenixville 279

12 holes at Pickering Valley GC, par 47

Spring-Ford (274): Mike Oczypok 52, Paul Luchon 53, Austin Galaska 55, Mike Lynch 56, Lucas Virnig 58.

Phoenixville (279): John Bilo 48, Matt Brierer 54, Matt Rubino 56, Rob Werner 60, Nick Giannopoulos 61.

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