YORK — It’s not in John Peters nature to think he is out of a tournament.
Even when things look as bleak as it did heading into the 18th hole of Saturday’s second and final round of the District 3 Class 3A Boys Golf Championships.
The Carlisle senior battled with Spring Grove’s Karl Frisk all round, however the long-hitting Frisk knocked down an eagle putt on No. 17 for a two-stroke lead.
“I never think it’s over until it’s truly over. I never wish bad upon anyone, but I just know that anybody can make any score at any time,” Peters said. “One hole left, the odds were against me, but I could only control me. That’s what I had to do.”
Frisk’s drive on 18 sailed into the driving range at Briarwood Golf Club East, and the two-stroke penalty, combined with Peter’s par, sent the two to a playoff hole tied at 1-under par, 143 for the two-day tourney.
Once again Peters had the chance to prove he’s never out of it as both players hit booming drives. However, Frisk chipped onto the green, while Peters came up short.
Still, 20 feet off the green and a tough lie was no problem as Peters chipped in for a birdie, handing the Duke-bound golfer the district championship in the most dramatic fashion.
“[The ball] was in a very rough patch and called the officials over to see if I could get ground under repair [relief],” he said. “It was thin, and it kind of checked. About 6 feet out I knew it had a pretty good chance and it just trickled in. I am really fortunate.”
Peters, who claimed silver a year ago before going on to grab bronze at the PIAA championships, trailed Frisk by one stroke after the first round and following an even-par on the front nine Saturday for both. But consecutive birdies to open the back nine put Peters ahead.
“I really did everything I could, the chips fell and fortunately I got into a playoff,” Peters said. “It’s just the way things go. It was back and forth all day. It was a great fight all day. It wasn’t a pillow fight. We were both playing well.”
He was not the only Cumberland County golfer to leave the spacious golf resort with hardware.
One day after she and her Boiling Springs teammates earned the Class 2A district team title, Bubblers sophomore Brooke Graham went out and earned an individual crown as the District 3 Class 2A girls champion.
Graham fired an 82 and held off Olivia Maddux of Trinity for a four-stroke victory.
“I did not expect it,” Graham said. “I wanted to get a district title so I can get a banner for my school, so now we got two in the same weekend. I thought that was really cool and to get my name up there will be awesome.”
No Bubblers golfer or team had ever won a district championship. They added two in 24 hours.
Although putting was a challenge for all the 2A players on the Briarwood West course, Graham managed to birdie the par-4 12th, which put her in position to capture the Bubblers’ first individual title.
“It was a challenging day,” she said. “I knew I was ahead but knew I had to finish strong because every stroke counts.”
Bubblers coach Jim Lithgow knew it was a great weekend for his squad.
“The kids deserve everything they got,” he said. “They’ve worked so hard the last two years to get themselves ready. I told them I am just a chauffeur. They do all the work over the summer, and it’s just great to see.”
Peters’ teammate Hannah Barrett led coming into Saturday’s 3A girls play after her 1-under round Friday. While the sophomore didn’t play poorly Saturday, Dallastown’s Makensy Knaub shot even par and won the 3A title.
Barrett’s 5-over par tourney earned her a silver medal, a step up from the bronze she won during her freshman season.
“I wanted to go into today playing conservatively. I shot even on the front, but the back just got me,” she said. “Once I knew it was over, I just accepted it. I am still proud of second place.”
Adding that she is happy to go to states representing Carlisle, she is also playing for Paige Richter of Camp Hill, a friend who was not allowed to play at districts and states because of a Covid-related shutdown in the school district late this week.
“I want to go to states and play for Paige Richter,” Barrett said. “She doesn’t get the opportunity to play and I couldn’t imagine not getting that opportunity.”
Trinity’s James Ulsh was the model of consistency during the weekend, shooting 77 both days for a second-place finish in boys 2A. Berks Catholic’s Michael Fioravante took the lead for good and never looked back, finishing with a round of 73 for the day.
“I was hitting a long way and had irons into most of the par-5’s, which helped me,” Ulsh said. “But I only had one birdie for the two days, which really caused me to struggle out there. I’d make a bogey and not be able to fix it.
“I was making pars, saving myself from going into to trees and making some long putts. Michael had two birdies back-to-back, which good for him. He played really well and deserved it. It was a good battle.”
Other local golfers who qualified for the PIAA championships Oct. 19-20 include: Cumberland Valley’s Brady Davidson (74-74-148) in boys 3A; CV’s Emily McAninch (87-81-68) in girls 3A.