BY JEFF FALK
QUENTIN – Is golf an individual pursuit or a team exercise? It really all depends upon one’s perspective.
If you asked Annville-Cleona’s Simon Domencic or a certain foursome of Cedar Crest players, you might get different responses.
On an overcast Thursday afternoon at the 6,011-yard, par-71 Fairview Golf Course, Domencic and the Falcons indirectly and informally debated the topic, during the contesting of the Lebanon County Scholastic Golf Championships. Though the issue remained unsettled, Cedar Crest captured the team title at the annual event, while Domencic, a poised freshman, was crowned the individual winner.
Domencic bested Falcon junior Nolan Hoover in a sudden-death, one-hole playoff for the championship, after the two finished in a tie for first-place with identical nine-hole scores of one-over-par 37 – the event was shaved in half by impending weather. Palmyra’s Quinton Leonard carded a 38 over Fairview’s front-nine to take third, while Falcon Enzo Emerich and Little Dutchman Dave Fiebig came in tied for fourth with matching 39s.
Cedar Crest’s Brock Smith and Andrew Alquist of Palmyra were sixth individually with a 40, and Lebanon Catholic’s Mark Gates fired a 41, the same score Palmyra senior Kelsey McConaghy needed to win the girls’ competition.
On the strength of Hoover’s, Smith’s and espcially Emerich’s performances, the Falcons totaled 116 team strokes, which was three shots better than the Cougars’ 119. Domencic’s Little Dutchmen were third, followed by Lebanon, Lebanon Catholic, Northern Lebanon and two-time defending champion Elco.
“It would’ve been great,” said Cedar Crest head coach Rick Dissinger of the possibility of winning both the team and individual titles. “The team hasn’t won anything recently (2015). It’s a great accomplishment. Based on averages, us and Palmyra were tight coming in. We thought it was going to be close. It’s the way we thought it would turn out. But their (the Cougars’) low three averages were lower than our three.
“Nolan played a great round and Brock was around his average,” continued Dissinger. “But Enzo averages a 97, so he came through in the clutch. He talked himself into it. He said to me, ‘I’m taking it low, you watch’.”
“I surprised myself a little bit,” said Domencic, who’s also playing soccer this fall. “I feel like this is what I’m capable of. I haven’t played well this fall, but today was the way I’m capable of.
“I’m always trying to shoot a target score,” Domencic continued. “Today I was shooting for 38. Sometimes I get ahead of myself.”
Both Domencic and Hoover drove their tee shot well, at the 300-yard, par-four Number One, the initial hole of their sudden-death playoff. But it was Domencic’s deft chip which allowed him to get up-and-down for par.
Hoover misfired on a ten-foot par putt that would’ve sent the playoff to a second hole.
“He (Hoover) hit first and hit really good drive,” said Domencic of the playoff. “My drive just cleared the bunker (on the front left). I missed my birdie putt, but I set myself up in a really good spot.”
“They’re (Domencic and Hoover) just two great guys, and there was a little pressure,” said Dissinger. “But they bombed it to within five or ten yards (of the green) with their drives. Nolan said Simon was making everything all day. He (Hoover) went for it (on his par attempt). He just didn’t want to come up short.”
The playoff was necessitated after Domencic bogeyed the 182-yard, par-three ninth hole. It was the third bogey of Domencic’s nine, after he had gotten off to a good start, and biridied Fairview’s par-five fourth and par-four eighth holes.
“I started off well and I was one-under through four holes,” said Domencic. “I made three good pars to start. I chipped in at Number Eight for birdie, and after that I thought I had to par out to win. I just missed my putt on nine. But overall I really played solid.
“I always like playing against good players,” added Domencic. “It’s nice to know what I’m up against.”
McConaghy’s 41 was fairly impressive, given the fact that she was playing Fairview for her first time.
McConaghy registered birdies at the par-five fourth hole and the par-five seventh hole. She also encountered a couple of bogeys and a pair of double bogeys over her front-nine.
“This was my first time playing here,” said McConaghy, who defended her Lebanon County title from a year ago. “It was pretty open, so it wasn’t hard to find my way around. My strength is my distance of the tee, and this course plays to my strength.
“It would’ve been nice if the team would’ve won, but we came up a little short,” McConaghy continued. “But I played pretty well. I haven’t played this well in the postseason. This is what I was looking for. My short game was much better than it had been.”
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Annual Lebanon County Scholastic Golf Championships
(at par-71, 6011-yard Fairview Golf Course)
Boys’ Individual Results
x-1. Simon Domencic, Annville-Cleona 37
1. Nolan Hoover, Cedar Crest 37
3. Quinton Leonard, Palmyra 38
4. Enzo Emerich, Cedar Crest 39
4. Dave Fiebig, Annville-Cleona 39
6. Andrew Alquist, Palmyra 40
6. Brock Smith, Cedar Crest 40
8. Mark Gates, Lebanon Catholic 41
8. Brandon Shirk, Palmyra 41
10. Luke Spangler, Northern Lebanon 43
11. Jeremy Seyfert, Annville-Cleona 45
12. Dawson Blouch, Lebanon 47
12. Alex Bricker, Elco 47
14. Todd Griffiths, Lebanon 51
14. Ian Stephanchik, Annville-Cleona 51
16. James Fenton, Lebanon Catholic 55
17. Naziah Eberhart, Lebanon 56
18. Wyeth Ullom, Elco 57
19. Austin Drahovsky, Lebanon 59
20. Cameron Stichler, Northern Lebanon 60
21. Andrew Moyer, Elco 63
21. Ethan Marlow, Northern Lebanon 63
21. Braden Root, Lebanon Catholic 63
Girls’ Individual Scores
1. Kelsey McConaghy, Palmyra 41
2. Emma Dissinger, Cedar Crest 44
3. Kerrigan Klopp, Cedar Crest 56
1. Cedar Crest 116
2. Palmyra 119
3. Annville-Cleona 121
4. Lebanon 154
5. Lebanon Catholic 159
6. Northern Lebanon 166
7. Elco 167
Lebanon County Scholastic Golf
Past Team Champions
2018 – Cedar Crest
2017 – Elco
2016 – Elco
2015 – Cedar Crest
2014- Cedar Crest
2013 – Cedar Crest
2012 – Northern Lebanon
2011 – Palmyra
2010 – Palmyra