Dramatic Boys’ Golf Clash with Lawrenceville Ends in Draw

Sunday, May 15, 2022
Nick Barnes ’22

Mercersburg’s boys’ golf team concluded its spring 2022 season by hosting Mid-Atlantic Prep League rival Lawrenceville May 14 in a match-play event at Chambersburg Country Club. The Blue Storm’s Nick Barnes ’22 drained a 15-foot putt on the final hole to win his match, bringing the overall competition to a close with the teams deadlocked at 4-4.

The Storm entered the day hoping to avenge very narrow defeats from earlier in the season, and knew right away that it was in for a battle. Argyle Downes ’23 and Josh Pethel ’22 were locked in a fight from the start against the top two from the Big Red; after Downes dropped his match, 3 & 2, it took a clutch 18th-hole birdie by Pethel to halve his match and give the Storm half a point from the first group.

Equally strong play was required from the second group of Kenneth Yonke ’22 and Jason Jones '24 to salvage a half-point. Yonke needed a clutch up-and-down out of the sand to tie his opponent. With two groups still on the course, the Blue Storm trailed 3-1 and needed heroics from the final four golfers.  

In the third group, Ethan Xin ’23 posted Mercersburg’s first win of the day, 3 & 1, while Khoi Pham ’22 fell 4 & 3 to give Lawrenceville a 4-2 lead with just the final two pairings left on the course. As the team circled back to see where the match stood, Daniel Zhong ’23 closed out his opponent, 4 & 3, for the most commanding win of the day and pulling the Storm within 4-3.

Barnes was the lone Mercersburg hope left, and needed to win his match to salvage an overall tie between the teams. Barnes entered the final hole clinging to a one-hole lead and just had to tie the hole to halve the match. After a circuitous route to the green that involved a driving range, a tree, and extremely deep rough, Barnes stood over a 15-foot putt as both teams surrounded the green. Barnes stepped up and drained the putt into the heart of the cup for a rousing win which ended the match in a 4-4 draw.

“That was such a clutch putt by Nick on the final hole, but honestly, it took three strokes of 18th-hole magic to tie the strong Lawrenceville squad,” Mercersburg head coach Doug Smith said. “We had Josh’s birdie, Kenneth’s sandy, and then Nick’s putt. In all the excitement, we must remember that Ethan and Daniel were the key to even having a chance, and I’m just so thrilled that the depth of the program was able to keep us in this match. This was a truly fitting way to end an amazing season!”

Between the fall and spring seasons, Mercersburg finished 2021-2022 with a 9-0-1 record in head-to-head matches.