WAVERLY — His first swing nearly put him in golfing jail.
His last helped send Abington Heights to the Lackawanna League Class 3A championship match.
Coming off a key birdie on the par-5 seventh hole to square his match, Comets sophomore Bryce Florey followed that with the biggest shot of his young career.
His chip-in for birdie after a wayward drive lifted unbeaten Abington Heights to a stunning turnaround over the final three holes and a 6½-2½ win over Honesdale on and a berth in Wednesday’s championship match at Elmhurst Country Club. (The Comets match against Wallenpaupack was played after this edition went to print).
“For a sophomore kid playing in a big match like that, he persevered,” Abington Heights coach Frank Summa said. “He was 1-down with three holes to play. He really came through.”
His birdie on No. 7 tied him with Aidan Pietraszewski, but his drive hooked way left on the next hole, leaving him no chance to go to the green.
“I thought I wasn’t going to have a shot, and I really didn’t have a shot at the green,” Florey said. “I just thought get it over the creek where I can hit a decent chip shot and two-putt, get a bogey and try to push the hole.”
It cleared the creek by 3 feet and stopped short of the yawning bunker fronting the green.
“I thought I was really lucky,” Florey said. “The rain contributed a lot to stop the ball before it rolled in the bunker, and kept it from going in the creek. I was just happy it didn’t go in the creek and gave me a shot.”
To that point, Honesdale seemed to be in control, leading five matches with three holes left.
“After about six holes we thought we had them and we had a good chance for the upset,” Honesdale coach Mike Miller said. “It all changed just like that. But give the kid credit. He really made a beautiful shot. And his second shot from where he was, left of the trees, to get it up and over the trees and not go in the water, and not have it go in the trap, everything that needed to go right for them on that hole at that time went right.”
Not to mention the remaining chip over the trap to a front pin.
“I thought the greens were going to be real soft with all the rain and I talked to (playing partner) Will (Brown),” Florey said. “We thought, leave it 3 feet to the right and try to land it close and give myself a look at par. I hit the shot pretty well. It was real exciting because it had a lot to do with the match.
“It was awesome. I was just happy to help the team out.”
Florey wasn’t alone on the comeback trail.
Michael Marion was 2-down with three holes left and rallied to tie his match with Cole Bannan, Marion’s par on the eighth hole helping to turn around the better-ball match with teammate James Flickinger as the Comets ended up taking 2½ points after trailing in two of the matches.
Abby Marion of Abington Heights was the top local girls finisher Saturday at the NEPA Invitational at Bloomsburg University.
Marion placed seventh out of 197 runners with a time of 20:27.4. Cori McCormick from North Schuylkill was the race winner in 18:32.3.
Two other Lady Comets runners finished in the
top 20. Maia Arcangelo was 11th in 20:38.1 and Gianna Sabatini was 17th in 20:58.8. That helped Abington Heights finish fifth out of 26 teams with 169 points.
In the boys race, Gavin Ross of Abington Heights was the top local finisher, covering the 5,000-meter course in 17:35.2 to finish 19th out of 220 runners. Williamsport’s
J. Henry Lyon won in 16:22.0.
As a team, Abington Heights was 15th of 32 with 400 points. Wyalusing Valley won the team title with 102 points.
Bella Peters, Clare Della Valle and Lauren Koczwara won their singles matches in straight sets to lead Abington Heights to a 5-0 win over West Scranton in a Lackawanna League match on Friday.
Gray-Paul Bossi scored two goals to lead Abington Heights to a 2-1 win over Wallenpaupack in a Lackawanna League Division I match Friday.
Adele Hollander had 12 kills, 12 service points and nine digs to lead Abington Heights to a 3-1 win over Susquehanna in a Lackawanna League match. Kylie Augis had five kills and nine points, and Gianna Toth registered 32 assists and had 11 points.