By Stacey Swan
North East golfer Isaiah Swan took home the gold medal in the PIAA Boys AA competition on Monday, Oct. 19, in dramatic fashion. The tournament was held at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, Pa.
In his final appearance at the state individual tournament, Swan felt confident after his warm-up and started his round by carding a bogey free front nine that included three birdies.
Sitting atop of the leaderboard at -3 at that point he had a little trouble making the turn as he had two bogeys in a row on holes 10 and11 leaving him at only one under.
Undaunted, he kept grinding through back nine. His lone birdie on the back nine came on hole 16 where he drove the green and almost sunk the 30 foot putt for eagle. He finished 18 with a par and an overall score of -2 (69) for the day.
Meanwhile, Matthew Tressler from Scranton Prep was charging on his second nine holes carding an impressive 6 birdies and finishing tied with Swan at 69.
The two boys headed out to hole 18 to play sudden death to determine the winner. Swan teed off first and the ball took an unfortunate bounce off the creek rocks into some fountain grass, Tressler, wanting to avoid the pond on the left, put his tee shot way right in 10’s fairway.
Tressler then made a beautiful approach onto the green, over a tree to 35 feet above the pin. Now Swan was looking at a extremely unfavorable lie in the small shrub about 89 yards from the green with the pond right in front of him.
After much deliberation he takes out his sand wedge and made perfect contact with the ball and put the ball on the green 30 feet from the pin.
Because Tressler was away, he putted first and rolled the ball about 8 feet past the pin and gave Isaiah a great read on the putt. With a large gallery gathered, Swan took his stroke and the ball rolled down almost to a trickle and dropped in the cup.
“The putt felt solid coming off the face and was right on the line I chose,” Swan said. “At the last six feet it still looked good, I just hoped it stayed up. It did and caught the bottom edge of the cup and dropped in!”
With that putt he was crowned 2020 PIAA Boys Champion.
The Pickers had three other golfers competing in York.
Teammate Carter Hassenplug shot an 80 to finish tied for 18th.
Although not his best round of the year, he was there celebrating with his teammate at the award ceremony.
Isaiah’s sisters Lydia and Anna were also competing on the girls side.
Lydia was hoping to repeat as the gold medalist but would have to settle for bronze shooting a 6 over 78.
“I just never really got it going today,” shared Lydia after the round.
While Anna, one of only three freshmen in the field, started on 10 and struggled through the back nine holes but managed to pull herself together and shoot even on the front nine.
“If there was something that could go wrong it did, from a bad bounce to unfortunate lie, Anna couldn’t catch a break on the back nine holes,” coach Mark Hughes said. “What was impressive was her ability to regroup for her second nine holes and shoot even; a testament to her skill as a golfer and her character as a person. She faced obstacles and overcame them with flair.”
Anna finished with an 82, tied for seventh.
Both girls are now looking to head back down to York Monday to compete with teammates Taylor Urban and Ellie Sebolt in the Girls Team competition.
Isaiah and Carter will join teammates Cole Lanahan, Ryan Hathaway and Elliot Heinrich to play at Tom’s Run Golf Course on Thursday in a sub-regional for a chance to also advance to the State tournament on Monday.