What do golf greats Arnold Palmer and Jay Sigel have in common?
Both won United States Golf Association Championships, with Palmer winning the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. Sigel won back-to-back U.S. Amateur s and three Mid-Amateur crowns. Both men won at the professional level and both hale from Pennsylvania.
Oh, and both captured back-to-back Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association individual state championships.
Over the years only four Bucks County competitors have earned a state golf championship, none since Council Rock's Jon Rusk won in 1997 with a two-day 141 total at the Pennsylvania State University Blue Course. The other local champions were Council Rock's Brian Killough (148 at Range End in 1981), Central Bucks West's Larry Larson (146 at Hershey Parkview in 1980) and Pennsbury's Russ Elkan (148 at Hershey Parkview in 1975).
Latrobe High School's Palmer claimed the 1946 and 1947 crowns, while Lower Merion's Sigel captured the 1960 and 1961 titles. Both went on to attend Wake Forest University.
That's four Bucks County state champions in 74 years. The question is, can a local boy or girl claim a 2010 championship?
While no local boy has captured a championship since 1997 and a local girl has never won, a large contingent of tournament tested players will battle in a 36-hole shootout Monday at Heritage Hills Golf Resort near York for Pennsylvania supremacy next week.
Six boys and five girls will battle in the individual competition, and the Council Rock North boys team and Central Bucks East girls team will be playing for the state team championship.
A year ago Council Rock North's Brandon Dalinka placed third as a junior, scoring rounds of 70-76-146. Teammate Zachary Herr closed out his freshman year with a 73-74-147 sixth place effort. Both are back this year, where they are joined by New Hope-Solebury junior Raleigh Chapin, Archbishop Wood's Paul Carbone, Jr. and Neshaminy senior Colby Lederer and junior Mike Lam in the 48-player field.
CB East senior Jordan Glatt, the East Region champ, heads the girl contingent with District champion Erica Herr of Council Rock, a freshman, also expected to contend. Also in the 37-player field is junior Ashley Cassidy. CB East seniors Stephanie Yocum and Francesca Ruscio are competing for the CB East team.
Last year CR North's team placed third and didn't make the state finals. This year they did and hope to battle for the team championship. In addition to Dalinka and Zach and Erica Herr, seniors Liam Kane and Austin Birky are competing for the four-person team score. Scranton Prep will be out to defend its team title and Cathedral Prep has a stelar squad.
Nicholas Reach, who tied Dalinka for third last year while attending Scranton Prep, spent his senior yearr at Greg Gilchrist Golf Academy in Florida and isn't eligible to compete.
The competition at Heritage Hills will be intense, as the best of the best will be competing.
Can a Bucks County boy or girl or a local team bring home a title?