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Esterbrook, Bensing qualify for Regionals
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Ephrata junior golfers Megan Esterbrook and Lacey Bensing both earned their second-straight trip to the PIAA Eastern Regional Tournament following respective top 10 finishes at the District Three Girls tournament held this past week at Briarwood West Course in York.
For the second-straight season, Esterbrook placed sixth overall at Districts and won a medal after putting together rounds of 86-86 to finish at 172. She finished behind only champion Allison Cooper of Central Dauphin (74-79-153), runners-up Haley Goodling of Manheim Central (86-81-167) and Red Land’s Ali Habermehl (84-83-167), Hershey’s Laura Rhoads (82-87-169) and Mary Beth Palic of Manheim Twp. (83-88-171).
"Megan is very consistent and I think part of it is she doesn’t let anything bother her out there," Ephrata Coach Ed Gambler said. "If she goes through a rough stretch then she just shrugs it off and gets back to shooting low scores. She really doesn’t let anything get under her skin at all."
Bensing, who was 10th a year ago, also was in the 80s both days, finishing 89-86 for a total of 175 which placed her eighth overall and punched her ticket to regionals for the second-straight year.
"The goal was for both of them to make it to regionals. That was the goal they set for themselves, and they did that," Gambler said of his two players. "They accomplished what they set out to do. Now, was Lacey a little disappointed with her scores? Yeah, she was. She was hoping to move up this year into medalist category but wasn’t quite able to pull that off. Again, the big key at this point is to keep moving on and she did that."
A year ago, Esterbrook finished in a tie for 21st place at regionals while Bensing tied for 28th place. Just the top 13 golfers advance to States out of regionals which will be played Monday, Oct. 17 at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood, so both will need their respective "A" games come Monday.
"They are both capable," Gambler said. "They both shot in the 70s this year and that’s about what it’s going to take (to advance to states). Something in the 70s or very low 80s, and both have done it this year. It is just a matter of avoiding that little rough stretch that most golfers go through every round."
"You have to minimize the damage," he continued. "When you hit that rough patch you got to figure out a way to get bogeys instead of doubles and triples. That’s hard for most people to do, including these kids who are playing in these tournaments."
The top 13 will qualify for the PIAA Championships which will be held Oct. 24-25 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort and Conference Center, York.
In addition to Esterbrook and Bensing, junior Paige Hammaker also competed at Districts but shot an opening round 109 and did not advance to Saturday’s second round.
In boys’ action, Cocalico’s Nate Sauder and Trevor Bensel also competed at Districts. Sauder made the first-round cut but did not advance, turning in scores of 78 and 81 for a total of 159 strokes.
Bensel shot an opening round total of 82 and did not advance to the final round.