A year ago, Abington Heights’ Anthony Sebastianelli finished third in the state in Class AAA, and Scranton Prep’s Nick Johnson placed fifth. It was the first time two Lackawanna League golfers finished in the top 5.
Can we expect similar results from the five players who will represent District 2 when the state championships begin Monday at Heritage Hills Resort in York? The answer is a definite maybe.
Hey, if I had a divining rod for golf, I’d win my fantasy league every week. Heck, I’d be flying to Vegas every Wednesday before the Tour tees off. But golf is the one sport where handicapping is darned near impossible.
Almost every other sport, there is a clear-cut, here’s-my-reasoning justification for every pick. Did you like the Jets over the Patriots on Thursday? There probably was some statistical backup for that misguided logic, but nonetheless, there was something to tell you it could happen.
In golf, there’s nothing. You can’t watch a guy on the range and say, ‘He’s the one.’ Anything can happen. How many times have you gone out after a couple strong holes and thought, “I can shoot 72 or 73 today.” And you sign for 82 or 83.
The game can turn on a dime. That putt that lips out. The drive that catches the only divot in the fairway. That frog that farted while you were putting. (Man, I hate that.)
With that in mind — well, not necessarily the frog part — here’s my analysis of the five players going to states, and a reason why each of them could be good enough for a state medal.
Nick Beckish, Abington Hts.: I like a kid who has the moxie to ask if I can work inviting his date to next weekend’s Homecoming into my preview story for this weekend. Shows some panache. Sorry, Nick, I can’t do that.
Beckish was there last year — five rounds under your belt on a course means a lot — and shot 79-87. The 87 still stings. You can hear it in his voice, and he’s a grinder. I respect grinders. They are the guys who can put up 14 pars and drive you crazy with the fairway, green, two-putt routine. But the grinders are never out of it, and we have plenty of them.
Tom Dzwonczyk, Holy Cross: Another guy who is more grind than glitz, but maybe moreso than anyone else there, has the mindset that can serve him well. He doesn’t set his mind on a pre-determined number. Just executing the next shot.
His driver is not his best club in the bag, but it’s not one that’s needed all the time at Heritage Hills. His 3-wood will serve him well and if he continues to hit greens and putts reasonably well, good things could happen.
Austin Smith, Montrose: He’s quiet and goes about his business. You get the feeling if he got no attention until the end of the day, he’d be happy with that. One shot at a time is his working mantra, and he hasn’t been outside the top 10 in a tournament this season.
That said, this is states. It’s a bigger deal, bigger stage and tougher greens than he faces on a daily basis. But he succeeded at regionals despite stumbling over his brain (too much thinking about what might happen) the way in. He’ll learn, and he’s consistent.
Chris Cerminaro, Scranton Prep: Player of the Year in 2012. Comeback Player of the Year, if we had one, in 2014. Been waiting to see him light it up in a round this year. Has the ability to make a lot of birdies, and has took big numbers out of play at regionals after learning one last lesson at team interdistricts (33-42–75).
The 33 tells me he’s ready to pop one and win his second state medal (T5, 2012). The fact that he was one shot out of the lead with four holes left in that tournament tells me he could be there when it matters on Tuesday.
Tom Keegan, Scranton Prep: Along with Smith, probably the two best golfers in the area that get almost no attention. And here is another guy who can grind. Scores of 75, 75, 77 and 77 in four of the biggest events of the year show what he is capable of doing.
Experience may be lacking in terms of knowing Heritage Hills, but that might not matter. Keegan is not dwelling on the run-up to states. When Sunday arrives, it’s time to switch gears. Different strokes for different folks. Who’s to question approach when you have been as successful as he has over the course of a season.
Which of those five will bring home a state medal? History tells us that one of them will. Last time District 2 went without a state medalist was 2008.