Hawley leads Lions to third place finish on Penn State Blue Course

John Hawley tees off at Valley Country Club
John Hawley tees off at Valley Country Club

State College, Pa. - The Nittany Lions earned their best finish of the year on Monday at the Penn State Blue Course, led by outstanding play from freshman John Hawley (Mountain Top, Pa.) amidst a noticeable change in the seasons and the noticeable loss of one of the game's most prolific icons, Pennsylvania native and golf's greatest ambassador, Mr. Arnold Palmer. In a way it was fitting that the Penn State University Athletic Conference was back on the links on such a somber day and perhaps there's no better way to celebrate a life well played than by competing in the game he helped make so popular and taught us all to enjoy.

Teams battled cold, windy conditions and slick greens on the prestigious Blue Course but for the third consecutive outing, Penn State Mont Alto carried the day, taking home the team title. The southern campus sent in four excellent scores finishing with the winning total of 322, followed by Wilkes-Barre in second with a total of 331 with Penn State Hazleton landing the bronze position with 347 strokes on the day. Lehigh Valley's Nick Engelman won the individual medal, turning in a scorecard of four over par, 76, followed by three players tied at 78 including Hazleton's John Hawley.

Hawley nearly tied the top mark, but a costly three-putt on the third hole, potentially cost the freshman medalist honors. Blemishes on the third and fourth holes left Hawley five over par, aside from that, the Mountain Top native played brilliant on the day. Hawley tallied five birdies in difficult weather, and played his final eight holes at two under par to finish the round strong. 

The freshman hit a number of brilliant approach shots and capitalized with the putter. Hawley knocked a nine iron right at the flag on the par four 15th that led to a tap in birdie, then after nearly reaching the par five 18th in two, pitched the ball to just outside five feet and sank the putt as he made the turn. Following his hiccups on the front nine, the freshman reinvigorated his round with a birdie on the 6th hole, then sank a 30 foot putt on the par three 8th. Hawley capped his round with a birdie on the 10th hole, then parred his final two holes to finish six over on the day. Hawley's teammates backed up the freshman with solid performances of their own. Junior Zach Kyttle (Berwick, Pa.) shot an 86 for the Lions, while freshmen Joshua Provost (Hazleton, Pa.) and Geran Triano (Sugarloaf, Pa.) turned in scores of 88 and 95 respectively to help the Lions capture their third place finish amongst a very competitive field.

Team Results

1. Mont Alto - 322

2. Wilkes-Barre - 331

3. Hazleton - 347

4. DuBois - 357

T-5. Lehigh Valley - 369

T-5. New Kensington - 369

T-7.  Schuylkill - 407

T-7. Fayette - 407

Individual Results

1. Nick Engelman (LV)- 76

T-2. John Hawley (HN) - 78

T-2. Tom Shearer (MA) - 78

T-2. Jonathan Wilson (WB) - 78

5. Owen Groft (MA) - 80

6. Austin Green (MA) - 81

T-7. Jeff Carter (WB) - 82

T-7. Daniel Smith (NK) - 82

T-7. Alex Acree (DB) - 82

10. Jordan Shaffer (MA) - 83