Pethel Shoots 69 to Lead Golf Teams at Swing Against Cancer

Monday, April 25, 2022
Swing Against Cancer boys’ medalist Josh Pethel ’22

Mercersburg’s boys’ and girls’ golf teams faced talented fields in the Swing Against Cancer event, which was held April 23 at the Peddie Golf Course in Hightstown, NJ. All six Mid-Atlantic Prep League teams were part of the boys’ field along with several solid New Jersey schools, and the girls’ lineup featured five MAPL squads. The Blue Storm boys finished third in an 11-team field, with the girls placing fourth.

The boys’ competition was strong to say the least, with 20 golfers shooting in the 70s. None of them, however, bested Mercersburg’s Josh Pethel ’22, who was the only golfer to break 70; he shot 69 to earn medalist honors. “Josh rebounded from an off day like a true competitor does by grinding at practice and determination to perform in the match,” Mercersburg head coach Doug Smith said. Pethel’s 69 was not only the low round on the day, but it was the lowest round in the tournament's 10-year history—and is believed to be the lowest round for a Mercersburg golfer in competition in at least the past 25 years.

Argyle Downes '24 was next for the Blue Storm, continuing his excellent play with a fourth-place finish of 73.  With under a month left in the season, Downes is on pace to post a below-par scoring average for the entirety of the spring season. Jason Jones '24 was the next golfer on the squad in the standings, carding what can only be described as a rock-solid 81. Ethan Xin '23, who has taken a tremendous leap this spring, posted a very fine 82.

Mercersburg posted a team score of 305, just three strokes shy of first-place Blair (302). Lawrenceville was second (303), and rounding out the top five after the Blue Storm were host Peddie (318) and Cranford High School and West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North (who tied for fifth with 320).

"That was a great day of golf for the Blue Storm, and for us to come up narrowly short of the championship is a tough pill to swallow," Smith lamented. "We knew the competition was strong in this tournament but we also knew we have what it takes to win these events. Josh's 69 is the best round of golf I've ever seen in a Mercersburg Academy competition, and I am thrilled for him.  His level of dedication to the game and desire to improve is second to none, and today was a testament to his will power. Credit has to go to Blair and Lawrenceville for their outstanding play, and many thanks to Peddie for putting on this event for such a great cause.”

In the girls’ competition—which marked the first official tournament action for Mercersburg’s girls’ squad in its inaugural season—the Blue Storm shot an aggregate of 384 to finish well ahead of Lawrenceville (428). Blair took first in the overall standings (327).

Shiyeon Bae '24 led the team in scoring and is regaining her form that she showed in the fall by carding a very solid 90 on the day. Amanda Xi '25 was next for the team in scoring; she posted a 95 and is also on the path to shaking off the winter rust and recapturing her potential. Captain Sandra Apfelroth ’22 had her best performance of the season with a 99 and Abby Yang ’25 was the fourth scorer for the team with a 101.

“I was proud of the way the girls handled the intensity of a competition like this one," Smith said. “This is basically a preview of the MAPL Championship in two weeks, and we showed improvement and toughness. The team is beginning to put it together collectively, and each of the girls know they could've been much lower today.”

The Blue Storm boys will face off in a quad-match with Landon School, St. Paul’s School, and St. Albans School Saturday, April 30, at Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View, DE. The girls will prepare for the MAPL Girls’ Golf Championship Saturday, May 4, at Brookside Country Club in Pottstown, PA.