Maff, Yocum advance
In most tournaments, golfers are playing to win and second place means about as much as fifth or tenth or last.
The District 11 Championship Qualifying Tournament is a little different. There's not medal for first place, no prize for winning. And for most golfers, 10th place or 15th place feels just as good as first. The only thing that matters is getting through the tournament and advancing to the district championships.
"You're just trying to keep your head on, get the ball out there, hit it solid and make a few putts," said Northwestern Lehigh junior Nick Vecellio, who should know a little something about qualifying for districts. He has played in three straight and Monday he advanced to his third straight District 11 Championship when he carded an 11-over par 83 at the qualifier, held at Woodstone Golf Club in Danielsville.
"The goal has always been to make states this year," he said. "This is another step along the road. I've just got to keep my head down and keep playing well."
He speaks for most of the players who qualified. In the first district qualifier to be split into two classes, the top 18 players in Class AA and top 20 players in Class AAA move on to districts.
Bethlehem Catholic's Nick Maff and Freedom's John Yocum both made it through the qualifier. Maff shot 81, while Yocum made it right on the Class AA cut number at 85.
The golfers in both fields (53 players in Class AAA and 33 in Class AA) played the same course Monday. Eamon Marone of Notre Dame (Green Pond) shot the low round of the day with a one-over par 73. Northampton's Evan Notaro, the 2010 district champ, shot the low round for Class AAA with an 75.
The 27-hole district championship will be held next Monday at Shawnee Golf Course. The top six boys in each class and top three girls in each class will advance from districts to the PIAA East Regional Tournament a week later at Golden Oaks Golf Course in Fleetwood.
Some other Bethlehem area players competed at Monday's qualifier but did not advance to districts. They are Freedom's Tommy Archer (87), Bethlehem Catholic's JT Barker (87) and Jason Matuczinski (88), Liberty's Mitch Racosky (90) and Kevin Zakszesky (93).