YORK - The shot that could have salvaged Mariano Medico’s miserable day, a 10-foot putt for birdie on the final hole, was one he’s easily made hundreds of times before on a golf course.
This one lipped out. To make matters worse, so did the next one.
So instead of a finishing with a birdie, Medico wound up with a bogey, which punctuated his exasperating first round Monday at the PIAA Class 2A boys individual golf championships.
“You know, I’m pretty frustrated with my performance,” said Medico, Holy Redeemer’s two-time District 2 Class 2A golf champion. “I was coming here to win.”
A five-hole run of bogeys on the windy back nine of a challenging Heritage Hills Golf Course left Medico with a six-over 77 — and left his dream of a state title dwindling.
Going into today’s final round of the two-day event, Medico sits tied for seventh place with Garrett Bastardi of St. Joseph, eight strokes behind Class 2A leader Cole Miller of Northwestern Lehigh.
And Isaiah Logue of Fairfield is right behind Miller’s 69, taking second place with a 70 after the first day of action.
“Cole, he’s so steady, I’m going to have to turn it up (today) if I want to win,” Medico, a senior, said. “I think I put myself too far back.”
Not necessarily, his coach encouraged.
“He’s not out of it,” Holy Redeemer coach Art Brunn Jr. said. “It wasn’t his best day. Hopefully, he’ll have his A-game (today). He certainly dug himself a little hole, but not to the point where he can’t come back. For a struggling and as frustrating of a day it was for him, he’s still OK. He’ll bounce back with a good game. I know him.”
It didn’t take Medico long to realize he was in for a rough day.
After opening with a par on his first hole and birdie on his second, the Redeemer senior bogied two of his next three holes on the front nine, then got caught with a double bogey on the par-3 eighth hole that left him two strokes off the lead over half of the course.
“I was five-over on the par 3s,” Medico said incredulously, “which is not going to cut it if you want to win a state title. It was my long iron game today. I couldn’t hit a long iron on the face of the planet.”
He hit more tough luck on the back nine.
Battling through a tall rough and some harsh winds at times, Medico was saddled with a string of bogeys from the 11th through 15th holes.
“The back nine was tough,” Medico said. “The wind really picked up. I bogeyed five holes on the back, tried to fight back. T wind, it played with my ball a little bit.”
“A frustrating day,” Brunn Jr. called it. “The rough was almost four inches high, it was windy and the greens were super, super fast. The pins were tucked. They really set the course up tough. (A) 75 is a really great golf score today.”
Medico had a shot at a great rally at the finish.
He birdied the par-3 16th, which very nearly started a run of three day-ending birdies that would have given him a 74 and left him five strokes away from the lead.
But a strong putt on the 17th didn’t quite make the hole — “The only putt I left short all day,” Medico said — and he settled for par.
Then, a great approach shot put him 10 feet from birdying the 18th. But a little too much mustard on an uphill attempt and then a five-foot downward try on two consecutive cracks at the hole sent the ball swirling around the cup, and saddled him with his ninth — and perhaps most maddening — bogey of the day.
“It lipped out there. That was the story for me all day,” Medico sighed. “It’s just, I hit it right through the hole there, four or five feet from the pin. I did my best, just didn’t perform how I should have. Now I’m in position to make a run for the top five, top 10. I’m looing forward to (today). And we have team (state finals) on Wednesday, so I’m looking forward to that.”
PIAA first-round individuals
Top 10 Class 2A boys
1. Cole Miller, Northwestern Lehigh`35-34-69
2. Isaiah Logue, Fairfield`36-34-70
3. Roland Massimino, New Hope Solebury`36-36-72
4. Owen Miller, Burgettstown`37-36-73
5. Keenan Hickton, Sewickly Academy`38-36-74
6. Austin Renz, Danville`37-39-76
7. Garrett Bastardi, St. Joseph`38-39-77
7. Mariano Medico, Holy Redeemer`37-40-77
9. Noah Firestone, Mount Cavalry Christian`37-41-78
10. Dom Stevens, Central Columbia`41-37-78
Other District 2 golfers
Class 2A boys
33. Dom Mancinelli, Holy Cross`46-43-89
Class 3A boys
T-5. Anthony Sebastianelli, Abington Heights`38-37-75
T-16. Nick Beckish, Abington Heights`36-43-79
Class 2A girls
18. Hannah Yanoski, Valley View`52-59-111
Class 3A girls
T-15. Julia Santo, Wallenpaupack`48-44-86