First of all, congratulations to all area high school golfers who qualified for the PIAA state tournament. Congratulations to those whose seasons, or high school careers, ended at Turtle Creek this week.
While there are few places I'd rather be than on the golf course, the weather on Wednesday was downright miserable. I say this after Monday's round was delayed by frost.
Gusty winds and sub-par temperatures I'm sure left many fingertips numb or tingly after catching the ball a little thin. Windbreakers simply weren't enough as many spectators, and even golfers, wore winter hats and gloves. Sub-par scores were few and far between.
Golf is not a game of perfect, and I hope the area's athletes that participated in this year's District 1 Championship and PIAA state qualifier learned that if they didn't know that already.
I know golfers from Phoenixville and Great Valley did. Neither of the Phantoms district qualifiers have qualified for states, or even made the cut, but you would not have known that from their demeanors.
Phoenixville's Mike Leupold simply went out and had fun, though I'm sure he was disappointed with how he played. Anyone who can keep their cool after not catching a ball on the club face after playing for five hours deserves credit, maybe even more that those who broke 80. Hats were removed and hands were shaken by nearly the entire field after walking off their 18th green no matter what the scorecard said about how professional or unprofessional their scores were. The personalities were most professional, as these athletes defined the gentleman's game.
Phoenixville's heartbreaker, Mike McCarraher, missed making the cut but one stroke for the second year in a row. Still, McCarrraher was happy with how he play and left the rest out on the course.
While talking with both McCarraher and Leupold after Monday's round I got the feeling that the two Phantoms golfers were not thrilled with the result but realized they could tee it up again today and shoot even at Turtle Creek. Both players have a lot of good golf left in them whether they play at the next level or not.
McCarraher's round teased with qualifying for the second day, and Leupold's did not. What could be worse? Great Valley's Britt King did qualify for the second day and flirted with qualifying for the state tournament but came up short.
King said his goal for Wednesday's round was to shoot 75. He came in with 37.
All he had to do was keep it up for two more hours, but he collapsed. King endured what may have possibly been the longest nine holes of his life. Still, when it was all said and done, knowing he would not be making an appearance in the state tournament, he simply pocketed his ball and walked away - not sacrificing it to the golf gods by hurling it into the pond that lurks below the 18th green.
Unfortunately for Leupold, McCarraher and King, that's golf. But a golfer's season doesn't end, even when there is a foot of snow on the ground. As we approach Daylight Savings Time opportunities to play golf become more sporadic but we play as much to compete against ourselves as we do our opponents. Watching these three golfers twist and turn through doglegs and left to right downhill sliders, while emotions were high before hitting rock bottom like a flop shot, provided a lot of excitement and a great way for me to head into the winter months.
Again, congratulations to high school golfers around the area, and thank you for the lesson in not only shot shaping, but character shaping as well.