Punxsy wins season opener over Redbank, 130-187

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Even the approaching storm couldn't stop the Punxsy boys' golf team and its opponent, Redbank, from completing the first match of the season. With each team scoring its three top players, Punxsy defeated Redbank 130-187 to earn the win at the Punxsutawney Country Club.

Redbank's squad consisted of just three players, but Punxsy was still allowed to send five onto the course and take the top three players' scores. The players each played the front nine holes at the Country Club.

Punxsy's low score of 42 belonged to Micky DeChurch, who teed off with the first group, and Ian Miller, who was also in the first group, scored just one shot higher with a 43. Brandon Mancuso was Punxsy's third lowest finisher with a 45, rounding out Punxsy's official scores.

Redbank's lowest score was a 51 by Samantha Dinger, and Josh Shick, 64, and Blaze Hildebrand, 72, rounded out its scores.

The largest hiccup in the match was a 45-minute weather delay, forced by lightning and a torrential downpour, but Punxsy head coach Josh Conrad was convinced the delay didn't have much impact, because it happened so early in the match.

The first group had not even completed the second hole at the time of the delay.

DeChurch's round was highlighted by a "great recovery" on hole No. 5 after topping his tee-shot and not reaching the fairway, Conrad said.

"He then hit an amazing approach that ended up six feet from the pin and two-putted to make par."

Conrad liked what he saw out of DeChurch's game on the green, as well.

"Micky putted great today," he said. "He drained many five- to seven-foot par putts."

Conrad also noted that his players were off to a bit of a rough start, "spraying drives everywhere," but they seemed to calm down after the first few holes.

Despite Miller's second-best score, Conrad also knows his top player is capable of more.

Miller hit his second shot on No. 1 out of bounds and took a double-bogey six to start the day.

"It was Ian's worst round of the year here at Punxsy's course," he said. "He's been shooting right around par. I'm glad he got that out of his system. He couldn't get a putt to drop at all today. He left so many one inch short or one inch to the left or right."

Mancuso birdied No. 7 en route to his 45, hitting an approach shot to within six feet of the pin and sinking the birdie putt.

Overall, Conrad wrapped up his boys' performance by saying they "did a pretty good job of scrambling from what I saw."

Punxsy's fourth and fifth scorers were just a few shots off Mancuso's pace with Eli Thompson shooting a 46 and Jesse Verdill shooting a 48.

Punxsy's next tournament will be the Bolton Tournament in State College Monday. Punxsy's girls will also play in the Bolton Tournament.