Siegel line up birdie putt

Clarion-Limestone's Hayden Siegel lines up a long birdie putt he eventually made on the first hole during the final round of the District 9 Class 2A Golf Championships last year. Siegel, now a senior, looks to defend his title at the two-day event, which begins Monday at Bavarian Hills Golf Course in St. Marys.

With the unveiling of the fall sports postseason via the PIAA this week and some movement at the District 9 level — although some details remain an unknown — the golf postseason tees off Monday at Bavarian Hills Golf Course in St. Marys.

It’s the boys championship tournament, a two-day event as usual with the second day next Saturday. Monday is a shotgun start at 9:45 a.m.

District 9 golf chairman Kevin Doverspike released details early Friday. He confirmed that there are some changes in qualifiers getting out of districts and that there is no regional tournament format this year. It’s on to states from districts for the first time in around 20 years.

The format changes of note:

— The Class 2A field, headed by defending champion Hayden Siegel of Clarion-Limestone, has 46 players entered with 39 qualifying to compete for the individual title. Four teams are sending teams to districts, based on meeting an average score criteria and a reduction of teams the district wanted to bring to the postseason — Coudersport, Kane, Ridgway and C-L.

— Monday’s 18-hole event will determine the team champion, with the best four-man score winning the team title and advancing straight to the state tournament Oct. 26 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.

— Also Monday in Class 2A, the top 12 scores and ties among the individual qualifiers advance to the second round on Oct. 3 starting at 9:30 a.m. That’s a smaller field than the usual top 16 scores cut in previous years. Then on Saturday, it’s the top five finishers qualifying directly to the 18-hole PIAA Championships on Oct. 19 in York. Previously, the top six finishers advanced to regionals. And, to note, states is only one round this year.

— Class 3A is a slightly different setup with three teams from D-9 competing, although it’ll just be Bradford and DuBois competing on Monday for the team title. Monday’s 18 holes will also determine the D-9 individual champion. Seven golfers will compete for that title — DuBois’ Gavin Kaschalk, Tyson Kennis and Cody Jaconski; Clearfield’s Luke Roach and Ryan Gearhart and Bradford’s defending champion Spencer Cornelius and Jack Tim.

Although there isn’t a regional setup in Class 3A, there will be sort of one between Districts 9 and 8, or the Pittsburgh City League. A scheduling conflict led to D-8 sending its seven golfers — two from Brashear, two from Taylor Allderdice and two from Obama Academy to next Saturday’s round where the low score from the combined field of 14 golfers from that round only qualifies for states, which is a day after Class 2A on Oct. 20 and just 18 holes as well.

— The D-9 girls tournament is a one-day only event at Punxsutawney Country Club on Oct. 5. More details will be released on that event, although the top three Class 2A finishers provided the scores are under 100 advance directly to states on Oct. 19 also in York with the Class 2A boys.

— Just two of last year’s top-six regional qualifiers from Class 2A return this year with Siegel and Kane’s Curt Barner, who finished fourth. Siegel mounted an incredible second-round comeback as he entered the day trailing Barner and defending champion Connor Alfieri of Smethport by six strokes.

But Siegel, who shot a first-round 84, carded a 77 and beat Alfieri by one stroke and Barner by three.

Just missing the top-six cut for regionals last year were three top-10 finishers in Ridgway’s Eric Christoff (eighth), Curwensville’s Nate Hryn (ninth) and Moniteau’s Jacob Felsing (10th). Other second-day qualifiers returning from last year are Coudersport’s Brady Streich (12th), Ridgway’s Collin Porter (13th), and C-L’s Hayden Callen (15th).

Ridgway is the defending champion. Porter and Christoff are back from that four-man lineup and will be joined this year by Kole Asti and Sean Fitch. But from there, it’s wide-open as this year’s KSAC champion Clarion is the only other team that competed in what was a six-team field last year. Jackson Fox is the lone player back from that lineup.

Other area teams and players headed to St. Marys Monday include Brookville’s Ian Pete and Killian Radel, C-L’s other two team-only players Nick Aaron and Brady Fowkes, Clarion’s Devon Lauer, Curwensville’s Chase Graham, DuBois Central Catholic’s Carter Hickman and Nick Colbey, Elk County Catholic’s Mark Kraus and Jordan DePrator, and St. Marys’ Lucas Benjamin and Cole Cousins.

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