Julia Santo and Molly Mowatt of Paupack are headed for the Eastern Regional golf tournament
The high school links season will continue for Wallenpaupack Area after two talented golfers dazzled at the 2013 District Two tournament.
Julia Santo and Molly Mowatt each turned in a stellar performance at Elmhurst Country Club on Tuesday, dominating a field of elite players and qualifying for regionals.
"Julia struggled a little bit early in her round, but then she got it going and played extremely well," said Coach Bob Simons.
"Molly was a pleasant surprise. She made a couple of minor adjustments and that was the difference. She worked very hard on her swing and it paid off."
Both girls now advance to the Eastern Regional tourney, which is scheduled for Golden Oaks Country Club in Reading on Tuesday, October 15.
This year's edition of the PIAA Championships will follow one week later over two days Oct. 21-22 at Heritage Hills in York.
Santo started slowly at districts on Tuesday.
Julia missed several make-able putts in the opening holes, but her iron play saved the day.
"She was very aggressive and attacked some pretty tough pin placements," said Coach Simons. "The main strength of Julia's game is her irons and she was really hitting them well."
Santo's laserbeam focus led to three birdies in four holes and a solid front nine score of 40.
Last fall, Julia battled her way to a runner-up finish at the event. This time around, the Lady Buck junior was poised to make a run at the overall title.
Santo made the turn and headed for home, hitting one approach after another to within 10 feet of the flag. She carded a 39 on the back nine, finishing with a round of 79 and a comfortable 5-stroke cushion.
Dana Hunt, a senior from Delaware Valley, earned runner-up status with an 84.
"Julia was mentally focused out there," Coach Simons said. "She got into some trouble, but then got out of it. Julia didn't panic, she just kept playing steady golf like she always does."
Mowatt has also enjoyed a solid season for Paupack as a member of the varsity.
Still just a sophomore, Molly carved out a starting role for herself early on and never looked back.
On Tuesday at Elmhurst, Mowatt carded a 44 on the front, then
"This performance was a total turnaround from the way she'd been playing the last week or so," said Coach Simons.
"Molly started finding her swing plane during practice on Friday. She put it all together at exactly the right time."
Mowatt shot a 41 on the back for a round of 85, good for third place in the overall standings and a trip to regionals.
The strength of Molly's game is her length off the tee. Big drives led to shorter irons, which led to shorter putts and myriad scoring opportunities.
"Her confidence really started to build as the day went on," Coach Simons said. "I'm very proud of the way she handled herself."
Honesdale's Faith Decker also competed Tuesday at districts, but came up just a bit short of the cutline.
The Lady Hornet senior struggled to a 52 on the front, but then posted a 47 on the back. Her score of 99 was good for 10th place in the girls standings.
On the boys side of the bracket, John Pillar Jr. represented Paupack well.
The Buckhorn junior posted a sizzling 39 on the front, but then slid to a 42 on the back and finished up 13th overall.
Pillar was just two over with seven holes to play, but then encountered problems with his driver. The result was three straight bogeys and a drop right out of the Top Ten.
"This was definitely a good learning experience for John," Coach Simons said. "He played very well, but then lost his focus a little bit. John will be back again."