Penns Valley’s Ryan Johnson plays the role of perfectionist almost as well as he plays the role of the Rams’ No. 1 golfer.
The junior finished tied for fourth individually among the Class 2A boys at the 2017 Happy Valley Invitational — the first sign that high school fall sports have arrived — but he still wasn’t satisfied Thursday with an 85. Not even if that score helped guide his team to a third-place finish out of the six-team class at the Penn State Blue Golf Course.
“It wasn’t my greatest round,” Johnson said with a shrug. “I had four doubles and two triples in my round.”
“But,” he added, “we all played well today; it was definitely a team effort.”
Penns Valley was among the 26 total teams — boys and girls, Class 2A and 3A — that competed Thursday at the invitational hosted by State College. Central Dauphin was the big winner as it took the boys’ 3A title with a 15-over 231, while the McDowell girls placed first with a 30-over 246 — which would’ve been good enough for fourth overall against the boys.
In Class 2A, the Punxsutawney boys seized the winning wooden plaque with a 31-over 247, and the Penn Cambria girls took the crown with an 87-over 303.
Individually, the county showed some flashes. On the girls’ end, Philipsburg-Osceola’s Halle Herrington finished with a 90, the top score among the Class 2A girls, while State College’s Kaylee Richards carded an 84 — which acted as the fourth-best overall score among the 35-girl field.
“I think that was one of my personal bests,” Richards said. “So I’m pretty happy with it.”
On the boys’ side, State College’s Tyler Nordbloom was the top local finisher. He turned in an 83, which tied him for 14th out of the 64-boy field. Teammate Alex Stewart had an 84, and the Rams’ Johnson was close behind with an 85.
Golf practice started up just on Monday, so teams didn’t have long to prepare. Thursday’s invitational acted as a prolonged tryout for some, a practice for others — and a solid early season competition for more.
Most golfers chose not to linger too long on the first round of the high school season, however.
“Definitely want to hit practice hard tomorrow,” Johnson said, “and hopefully play well at the next invitational.”