QUENTIN – Splitting fairways. Staring down pins. Rolling in putts.
And breaking hearts.
It’s good to be king. It’s also good to be crowned a champion.
On a warm Tuesday afternoon at the 6,011-yard par-72 Fairview Golf Course, during the annual contesting of the Lebanon County Scholastic Tournament, Cedar Crest’s Ben Feeman and the Annville-Cleona Little Dutchmen were coronated kings. But one ceremony was much more dramatic than the other.
Annville-Cleona, the reigning Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four champions, easily defended its County team title, firing a three-player score of 227 that was 15 strokes lower than the runner-up Falcons. Elco finished third in the team competition, while Northern Lebanon was fourth, followed by Palmyra and Lebanon High.
Feeman, on the other hand, had to go to a sudden-death playoff to capture his championship, after he and Little Duthman Simon Domencic tied for medalist honors with matching four-over par scores of 76. There Feeman won the individual title with a par, when Domencic’s tee shot bounced off the cart path and his ball couldn’t be located.
Defending individual champion Luke Spangler carded a 77 and tied Cole Weaver of Elco for third place. Annville-Cleona’s Ian Stefanchik posted a 78, while teammate Regan Flynn and Palmyra’s Trey Hibert both registered 79s.
The girls’ individual championship went to Jill Fidler of Cedar Crest and her 91.
“We’ve kind of played like that all year,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Dean Metzger. “We’ve been pretty consistent in most of our matches. Regan Flynn has really been the key to our success the whole season. He’s stepped in as a freshman and counted every single match. I was expecting it to be closer because it was Cedar Crest’s home course, and then he rolls in with a 79.
“You’ve got to play the course,” continued Metzger. “Golf is a funny game and anything can happen. I just told our guys, ‘Play your game. Don’t compound your mistakes. Recover from your bad shots.'”
“It feels good,” said Feeman, who will be competing at the District Three tournament in York on Friday and Saturday. “There are a lot of talented golfers playing in this. Winning this means a lot to me, just knowing I can compete with those good players.
“It also makes me know I can compete at districts,” added Feeman, “and that I have a chance to go to states. It makes me know I can compete with some of the better players in the district.”
Feeman hit his drive on the first playoff hole – Fairview’s 300-yard, par-four first hole – tee high, chipped on and two-putted for par. After Domencic couldn’t find his ball, he was forced to return to the tee and hit another drive, before settling for a double bogey.
“I was hoping he would find it,” said Feeman of Domencic’s ball. “Winning that way wasn’t too pleasing. But it happens.”
“Where the ball ended up (behind Fairview’s tenth green), it would’ve been a tough four,” said Metzger of Domencic’s drive. “A win’s a win, but you hate to lose like that. I thought he (Domencic) played well today, but he said he left some shots out there. It’s just unfortunate.
“I think he had a little extra motivation today because he didn’t qualify for districts as an individual,” Metzger continued. “He really wanted to win the county tournament. But we’re all going together on Friday (as a team to the District Three championships).”
Feeman forced the playoff with a clutch second shot that produced an eagle at the par-five 17th hole. He had recorded pars on the previous four holes.
“When I got to hole number 16, I asked Simon how he was doing and he said he was four-over,” said Feeman. “I knew I had a chance. And when I made eagle at Number 17, I knew I had a chance to pull out the win.
“On Number 17, I hit a good tee shot,” continued Feeman. “I was looking for a birdie, but my ball ended up behind a tree. I knew I had to hit a low, punch shot and hit it as well as I could. It ended up on the green and I made the putt.”
Feeman got to even par when he birdied the 479-yard, par-five fourth hole. But he endured bogeys at the par-three sixth hole, the par-five seventh hole and the par-three ninth hole.
“I feel like I played a pretty solid round,” said Feeman. “I had some hopes coming in, thinking I could do OK. Once we got to the back-nine, I knew I could pull something together.
“The guys in my group were all very good golfers,” Feeman added. “My group (the second) wasn’t too much different than the first group.”
2020 – Annville-Cleona
2019 – Annville-Cleona
2018 – Cedar Crest
2017 – Elco
2016 – Elco
2015 – Cedar Crest
2014 – Cedar Crest
2013 – Cedar Crest
2012 – Northern Lebanon
2011 – Palmyra
2010 – Palmyra