Kiepert, Ferguson finish event in top 25

PIAA Golf

YORK — The two remaining boys golfers from the Altoona Mirror coverage area finished just two strokes apart in Class 2A competition as the PIAA individual championships wrapped up on Tuesday at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.

Central Cambria senior Alex Kiepert repeated his 11-over-par 82 from Monday to finish in a 21st-place tie with North Catholic’s Tre Bartony. Meanwhile, Tyrone Area junior Andrew Ferguson bounced back to turn in one of the best scores of the day — 77 — to put a tough first round in the rearview mirror and post a 166 that placed him 24th.

Tulpehocken’s Chase Miller shot a five-over-par 147 to win the tournament by three strokes over Hunter Donahue of McGuffey, Christian Sadler of Bentworth and William Miriams of East Stroudsburg Notre Dame.

“Very unfortunate,” Kiepert said when asked to assess his play. “I’ve said in the past that sometimes the ball just wouldn’t go in the hole. Unfortunately, (Tuesday) was one of those days it just wouldn’t go in the hole.”

Kiepert said he didn’t feel any particular part of his game let him down in his quest for a top-10 finish. He just couldn’t seem to put it all together.

“After the first 17 holes, I was on a pace (for what I needed to place in the top 10) — I was plus-8. But I took an 8 on the last hole on Monday. I knew I had to go low,” Kiepert said. “It was frustrating.”

Kiepert was 4-over on the first three holes of Tuesday’s play but birdied No. 4. He didn’t shoot worse than bogey the rest of the way, parring five holes.

Only six 2A competitors turned in a better second-round score than Ferguson’s plus-6.

From the fifth through eighth holes, Ferguson shot birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie.

“The first day, nothing was going right, and the first few holes of (the second day), nothing was going right, either. Then I just said I’m doing this my own way. I got a putt to go in and my putting started to improve. Then off the tee I started to hit better,” Ferguson said.

It was a stupendous turnaround for Ferguson, who shot his worst-ever varsity score on Monday, an 89.

“It’s hard to forget that, but my dad (Tyrone coach Greg Ferguson) and I talked, and he said a lot of good things,” the younger Ferguson said. “I wanted to shoot a 66 and redeem myself. I didn’t do that, but I was able to have a good five-hole stretch. As the day went on and my score went up, I adjusted my goals.

“Being honest, I struggled as much (on Tuesday) as I did in the first round. The only difference was I was able to get something to go my way and get some momentum.”

Holy Ghost Prep’s Liam Hart was the Class 3A champ, shooting a two-day total of 143 for plus-1. Pine-Richland’s Lauren Freyvogel (147, plus-3) was the 3A girls champ, while North Catholic’s Maddie Smithco outlasted Rockwood’s Vileska Gelpi in a playoff for the Class 2A girls title.

The event wraps up today with team competition.

Central Cambria is part of the field in Class 2A girls.

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