Clarion Area golfers breeze to win

The Bobcats swept to their fourth-straight Megamatch win

By Kenn Staub

For the CLARION NEWS

CLARION TWP.

The weather -- sunny with temperatures in the low 70s -- could not have been better last Thursday (Sept. 2) at Clarion Oaks for the fourth Megamatch of the KSAC's 2021 golf season. Though there were a few wet spots on the course, the usually challenging greens were softened just enough from steady rain the previous day to play in a more forgiving manner.

Clarion's Kam Kerle made the most of the beautiful weather and softer course, shooting 38 (two over par) on the 3,118 yard front nine to earn medalist honors. His round was highlighted by birdies on holes two and eight.

Discussing his birdie on the second hole, a 418-yard downhill par four that bends to the left, Kerle relayed, "I hit my drive and pushed it a bit to the right. Then I hit a nine iron to about six inches (from the hole) and tapped in."

His other birdie came on hole eight, a straight, downhill 238-yard par three. "I hit it (the ball) pin high about three feet to the left of the hole and tapped it in," reported Kerle.

It was Kerle's third victory of the season. He won the season's first megamatch at Cross Creek Resort (Titusville) and second at Aubrey's Dubbs Dred Golf Course (Butler)

Devon Lauer, Kerle's teammate, posted a 40 to finish second. Highlighting Lauer's round was a ten-foot putt to birdie the eighth.

Describing his day, Lauer remarked, "It was okay. I didn't hit that many greens in regulation. My putting was working and my chipping was okay."

Commenting on conditions, Clarion-Limestone head coach Jason Craig said, "I thought the course was in good shape. It's about as green as I've seen the course in September in a long time. We played lift-clean-place (due to the damp conditions), but I thought the greens were running nice and they (the golfers) got good contact on the ball."

A-C Valley/Union's Max Southworth and C-L's Nick Aaron each shot 43, knotting them for third.

Southworth, who parred three holes, summed up his round, saying, "I think it went pretty well. You really just had to take your time with everything. There are some things I could improve upon, but I think I did pretty well.

"My chipping could have been improved, my putting was pretty good, my driving was all right. Other than that I think everything was pretty solid."

Aaron began his round strong, but then fell off a bit, "It started off good, I was even through four (holes). Then I went downhill from there. The next hole (hole five) I triple bogeyed, bogeyed the next few, finished with another par."

The C-L golfer's round was made memorable when he chipped in to save par on the third hole, a downhill 591-yard par five that finishes on an elevated green.

Relayed Aaron, "I had a good drive. I was on the cart path, so I got free relief. I hit a really good three wood, but then kind of chunked my seven iron. I was a little short, so I got out my 60-degree (wedge) and chipped it up there and it just rolled right in."

Venango Catholic's Colin Liederbach finished with a 44, rounding out the top five.

Kam Kerle and Lauer were joined in the top 10 by three teammates; McKayla Kerle (46) in sixth, Avery Kline (47) in seventh, and Owen Kriebel (48) in a tie for ninth. The Bobcats' combined stroke count (219) earned the team victory, their fourth consecutive.

Observed Clarion coach Jay Kerle of his team's potential for continued success this season, "We did well today. I think the main thing will be just staying healthy. We have a lot of depth on our team. We're young, we need to mature and keep growing as a team."

C-L (252) finished second, 33 strokes behind the Bobcats. Joining Aaron in the top 10 was Brady Fowkes (47), who tied for seventh. Also contributing to the Lions' total were Jordan Hesdon (49), Rylie Klingensmith (53), and Kaden Ferguson (60).

It was the Lions' best finish of the season after taking fourth in the first two Megamatches and third at the previous event in Foxburg.

Noted Craig, "Clarion is pretty solid, it's going to be tough to beat them. But being our own course, we expected to beat everybody else. That's what we did, so I'm happy with the way they (his team) performed."

Cranberry (257) finished third, Forest Area (283) fourth, and A-C Valley/Union (284) fifth.

Forest Area was paced by Ethan Carll (50) and Keyon Custer (51). Other scores that counted for the team were Zeelan Hargenrader's 55, Mason Shaftic's 56, and Ethan Merryman's 58.

Joining Southworth in scoring for A-C Valley/Union were Hayden Smith (55), Archer Ferris (59), Carter Burns (63), and Mikael Bulisco (64).

The other Clarion County team competing at the event was Keystone (309), who placed sixth. Tanner Vickers (59), Tyler Rupp (59), Tyler Weaver (62), Noah Standish (63), and Tyler Burns (66) contributed to the Panthers' total.

Now just shy of the season's midpoint, Clarion is in the KSAC's top spot (36 points), Cranberry second (31 points), and Clarion-Limestone third (27 points).

With its finish at Clarion Oaks, Forest Area (22 points) leapfrogged Moniteau (18 points) into fourth. Moniteau did not compete at the event due to a COVID-related hold on fall sports.

A-C Valley/Union (14 points) sits in sixth, forging ahead of Karns City (13 points), the Gremlins being unable to field a full team at the match due to COVID protocols.

Keystone is eighth (13 points) and Venango Catholic (10 points) ninth.

The next KSAC megamatch is scheduled for today (Oct. 9) at Hunter's Station Golf Course (Tionesta).