Davis, Tigers come up short in the end
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Hollidaysburg senior Eric Davis showed the resolve of a champion Wednesday in the District 6 Class 3A championship at Scotch Valley Country Club by battling back from a four-stroke deficit to tie John Olsen.
Unfortunately for Davis, Olsen knows all about being a champion. The State College junior beat Davis on the first playoff hole for the championship a year ago and was able to hold him off again down the final stretch of Scotch Valley’s back nine and come away with a one-stroke victory with a 77.
“It feels good, because I put in a lot of work, especially in the past couple weeks,” Olsen said. “I feel bad for Eric. He’s a senior, and he plays extremely well. He’s good all around, but it does feel good to be on top again.”
Adding to the heartbreak for Davis, unlike last year when the runner-up advanced to Tom’s Run for the PIAA Western Regional, regionals have been canceled this season due to adjustments for the coronavirus pandemic and only Olsen will move on to the PIAA Championships in York.
Davis had a chance to advance with his team, as Hollidaysburg competed against State College for the 3A team title, but the Little Lions came out on top, 333-345.
“This season was great,” Davis said. “Going into today, I was confident. I love playing with this team. They are great friends. We just came up a little short.”
Davis’ round appeared as though it was going to go up in flames early when his approach on No. 3 went over the green and he three-putted for a double bogey. On the next hole, Davis found a greenside bunker and got too much of the ball on the way out of the sand and it went over the green. He two-putted for another double bogey.
Trailing Olsen and Altoona’s Scotty Lawhead by four strokes, Davis kept his composure. It paid off on the next hole.
“I just tried to keep my head up through that and made a birdie right after those two doubles to try and get it back,” Davis said. “It just never really all came together.”
Through nine holes, Davis was just one behind Olsen and two behind Lawhead, who had four birdies on the front nine.
The 10th hole started the downfall of Lawhead, who made his first of three straight double bogeys on the hole.
“I was feeling pretty good, but once I got to the turn, my fundamentals broke down,” Lawhead said. “I started making mistakes that I shouldn’t have. I started losing confidence, and things went downhill.”
Davis pulled into a tie with Olsen with a birdie on No. 15 after missing an opportunity on the par-5 No. 14. He was on the fringe in two but opted to putt for eagle. He ended up making par after blowing his first putt past the hole, something set up by leaving several putts short earlier in the day.
“I was just thinking get it there, if not past the hole,” Davis said. “I should have chipped that. That was a mistake.”
With the two golfers tied going into No. 16, Davis knocked his approach within 8 feet. Olsen made par, but Davis’ putting woes returned with another three-putt, and Olsen held him off for the final two holes.
Davis took home his second silver medal. Lawhead missed out on a fifth-place medal after shooting an 87 and losing a card-off against Max Wager.
“The wind was definitely a factor, it impacted everyone out there,” Lawhead said. “I had an issue with that, and I really wasn’t on my game today.”
In Class 2A, West Shamokin dominated both the team play and individual competition. The Wolves won the team title, 337-363, over Penn Cambria. Eric Spencer carded a 74 to win the individual title, one stroke better than teammate Jack McCullough.
Tyrone’s Jake Taylor advanced through districts for the second year in a row and will advance straight to the PIAA championships after finishing fourth with an 84. Joining him will be a pair of Huntingdon golfers, Brady Handy (third, 82) and Ryan Marshall (fifth, 85).
“I’m excited, because when I came in after my round, I didn’t think I would make it,” Taylor said. “The wind was tough. I started off pretty good, but I was 5-over the last four holes, so that’s why I was worried.”
TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (champion advances): 1, State College (SC) 333 (Olsen 77, Janac 78, Wager 87, McCaughey 91); 2, Hollidaysburg (H) 345 (Davis 78, Eberhart 86, Clapper 89, Aigner 92)
INDIVIDUALS (champion advances): 1, Olsen, SC, 77; 2, Davis H, 78; 3, Janac, SC, 78; 4, Floruss, Central Mountain, 86; 5, Wager, SC, 87; 6, Lawhead, Altoona, 87; 7, Wise, Mifflin County, 89; T-8, Hay, SC, 91; T-8, McCaughey, SC, 91
TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (champion advances): 1, West Shamokin (WS) 337 (Spencer 74, J. McCullough 75, S. McCullough 90, Geist 98); 2, Penn Cambria (PC) 363 (O’Donnell 86, Caldwell 87, Vinglish 94, Weakland 96); 3, Tyrone (T) 373 (Taylor 84, Royer 88, Brooks 100, Miksich 101); 4, Saint Joseph’s (SJ) 383 (Peters 88, Cross 89, Straub 102, Scanlon 104)
INDIVIDUALS (top five advance): 1, Spencer, WS, 74; 2, J. McCullough, WS, 75; 3, Handy, Huntingdon, 82; 4, Taylor, T, 84; 5, Marshall, Huntingdon, 85; 6, O’Donnell, PC, 86; T-7, Marasco, Bishop Guilfoyle, 87; T-7, Caldwell, PC, 87; T-9, Goss, BG, 88; T-9, Royer, T, 88; T-9, Peters, SJ, 88