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Smarch earns medal at leagues

Four Salisbury golfers competed in Monday’s Colonial League Championship Tournament.

The Falcons’ Ava Smarch took fourth place and earned a medal in the girls tournament, while teammate Owen Fogel tied for 22nd place to lead the Falcon boys team.

Smarch, a junior playing in her third league championship tournament, shot 95 Monday at Bethlehem Municipal. She said she left a couple shots out there but overall was pleased with her round.

“It could have been better,” Smarch said. “My driver was amazing today. My chips shots, there was a few shots that I could have done a lot better on.

“Last year I didn’t do very well and I just wanted to shoot under 100 today. I would have loved to have shot 80-something, but I’ll take a 95.”

Smarch started both nines with a bit of trouble before settling in. She took triple bogeys on her second and third holes then started the back nine with another triple. But she made a par and seven bogeys over her last eight holes to beat fourth-place finisher Maggie Hagens of Southern Lehigh by two shots.

Smarch also plays soccer in the fall season and basketball in winter. Golf is her priority, but she tries to make all the soccer games she can get to.

“It’s kind of stressful sometimes,” she said. “I make it work. I like playing sports and being involved with the school.”

Smarch was the veteran player on a Salisbury team that had a lot of new golfers this season. She tries to impart some of her knowledge of the game to teammates, things she learned from her grandfather, Stephen Kulik, who taught her the game.

“He’s the reason I’m here today,” she said after her round Monday.

With the regular season over, Smarch will go on to Monday’s District 11 qualifying tournament at Olde Homestead. She needs to shoot 110 or better to make the district championship field. After missing the qualifying tournament with an illness last year, she’s excited to return to district play for the first time since her freshman season and hopes to make the championship for the first time.

“I want to qualify of course,” Smarch said of her goals for Monday’s event. “I want to do my best. Olde Homestead is a course I’m comfortable with so I’m really hoping to do well there.”

Fogel, who shot 92 Monday, led a contingent of three Falcon boys players. Jake Zellin carded a 96 to tie for 29th place and Josh Holler shot 105 for 42nd place.

Fogel, a sophomore in his second season on the team, shot 46 on each nine Monday. He made one triple bogey, five doubles, nine bogeys, two pars and a birdie. He was one of just three players to birdie the par 3 16th hole Monday out of a field of 48 boys and 10 girls.

“I could have played better,” Fogel said. “There were a couple times I could have taken my time. But it’s over now. There’s always next year to improve.”

Asked what worked well Monday, Fogel said “Pretty good with the driver. Irons were all right, could have been better. I actually putted very well today. I minimized three putts.”

Fogel is one of several boys players on the golf team who play other sports as their primary athletic pursuit, but joined the golf team because they enjoy the game and were not busy in fall.

The young team won a couple matches this season, finishing 2-11, while learning the game and having some fun.

“I think we all had certain goals,” Fogel said. “I think we met some of that. We had some kids come out who had never picked up a golf club that performed pretty decent for never playing. I think we did pretty good.”

Fogel averaged 97 this season, down from 104 last year, his first year playing the game. With a couple years of experience he’s looking forward to improving even more next year. He also said he expects most of this year’s team to return next season.

Zellin, who was the Falcons’ top player in most matches this season, had a few bad holes damage his round Monday.

He made two triple bogeys on the front nine, on the first hole and the fifth. In the middle part of his round Zellin played a stretch of nine holes at just six over par, including a birdie on the par 4 13th and pars on his next two holes. But a 9 on the 17th hole was the one that really hurt his scorecard.

Holler opened with a 55 on the front nine before settling down a bit on the back nine, including making his only par of the day on the 13th hole.

Moravian Academy’s Evan Eichanlaub won the boys title Monday with a 4-under par 67. He finished five shots better than Palmerton’s Tyler Hager in second place to lead the Blue Bombers to their third straight team title.

The Lions swept the individual titles Monday as Mara Dubacher beat Bangor’s Natalie White in an exciting girls tournament that ended in a playoff.

White eagled the par 5 15th hole then birdied the 16th to take a two-shot lead. Both players bogeyed the 17th before Dubacher birdied the last hole while White made bogey. Both players finished at 8-over par before the playoff.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Salisury junior Ava Smarch took fourth place among girls in Monday's Colonial League Golf Championship.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Owen Fogel led Salisbury's boys contingent at the Colonial League Golf Championships, shooting 95 to place just outside the top 20.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Jake Zellin watches his drive during play at the Colonial League Golf Championships, held Monday at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Josh Holler holds his finish after a driver swing at the Colonial League Championships.