East Juniata wins first match

Heffelfinger lowest scorer in victory

Sentinel photo by MIKE GOSS
East Juniata’s Tanner Barth blasts out of a sand trap on hole No. 4 at Lost Creek Tuesday. The Tigers won their season opener over Mount Union.

OAKLAND MILLS — East Juniata Golf coach Mike Zendt has high expectations for his squad entering the 2019 season.

And why not?

The Tigers, coming off an undefeated season and Tri-Valley League championship, didn’t disappoint their mentor against Mount Union in the season opener.

East Juniata had four golfers score in the low 90s or below in a 342-455 win over the Trojans at the Lost Creek Golf Course on Tuesday afternoon.

“We should be tough to beat this year with those kinds of scores. I’m pleased with our results. That’s solid rounds by four of our six players and even our fifth and six players, I’m not disappointed with their scores either,” Zendt said. “Those are good scores. Definitely, our top four are playing well and that’s what you need. You got to have lower scores.”

The highlight of the day was the battle at No. 1 between defending District 4 champion Will Orwig of the Tigers and PIAA qualifier Trey Heffelfinger of the Trojans.

Heffelfinger shot a 72, one over par, while Orwig fired off a score of 77. The difference came on the eighth hole, par 5 from 515 yards away. The Trojan senior made it in on four. Orwig, who struggled with birdie putts all day, had a double bogey to fall behind by two strokes.

Heffelfinger got even better as the game and humidity intensified. The Trojan fired a 35 on the back nine, picking up three strokes on Orwig, who shot a 38.

“Trey is going to be what he is all year. He came through with a great score being away from home and in the heat,” Mount Union coach Matt Fiscus said. “With high school golf you have to carry your own clubs and that makes it even more difficult doing it for the first time this season and in the heat. Coming in with a 72 you have to be happy with that and hopefully, that means big things to come.”

Zendt was more than thrilled with his No. 1’s performance on opening day.

“Will had a great score today with a 77. With Heffelfinger shooting a 72, that almost cancels his score out. He usually beats his opponent by 15 strokes or more. It’s a five-shot difference, but he played well to stay up with Heffelfinger because he’s quite a player,” Zendt said.

Fiscus liked the performance of the rest of the team, despite a lack of numbers and inexperience.

“To be honest, when you have brand new golfers the worst thing you can do is go on the road and battle the heat. That’s what we had to do today,” Fiscus said. “They really responded. Some of these scores weren’t perfect but for the first time out I thought we did awfully well.”

The Tigers picked up solid games from Tanner Barth (84), Mitchell Watts (89) and Max Lauver (92). Five and six golfers Caleb Kirk and Isaac Austin each finished with a 106.

Zendt believes the heat and a lack of conditioning had a negative effect on the scores. As the season goes along, the scores will lower.

“The heat had an effect for sure. This is the first time they walked to the holes. Our first couple of games they are slower because it is so hot,” Zendt said. “Once they get three, four matches into the season they get their conditioning. You don’t realize you have to be in shape to play golf but you do, especially in this heat. It was hot today. It was brutal. It was tough on them.”

Contributing to the Trojans’ cause were Kerrigan Woodward (125), Devin Delo (127) and Raylee Beatty (131).

“I thought Kerrigan and Devin, especially only having a week in coming out and shooting in the 120s, did well. It was a good score for us and we will definitely take some strokes off coming up here and get better,” Fiscus said.

East Juniata travels to Shade Mountain to face Midd-West along with Newport and Millersburg, while Mount Union hosts Tussey Mountain and Everett, on Thursday.

East Juniata 342, Mount Union 455

East Juniata

Will Orwig 77, Tanner Barth 84, Mitchell Watts 89, Max Lauver 92

Mount Union

Trey Heffelfinger 72, Karrigan Woodward 125, Devin Delo 127, Raylee Beatty 131