Until now, that is.
Erica Herr, in a picture of near perfection, placed her well tuned game on cruise control and captured the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Girl's Individual Championship at Heritage Hills Golf Resort.
She played 36 holes as she always does, with consistency, poise and skill. The Council Rock North High School sophomore opened with a 74 then added a second round 76 to hold off Eastern Regional Champion Jackie Rogowicz of Pennsbury by five shots on a one-two Bucks County leaderboard.
Herr played the front nine of her final round in even-par 36, holding a lead that only disaster could wrestle from her. She struggled a bit over the final five holes, going bogey, birdie, bogey, bogey, bogey, but her lead was so large that bogeys were a good score given the situation. She completed the two-day event at six-over-par 150, a full five shots in front of freshman Rogowicz (79-76--155). Mt. St. Joseph's Ilabella DiLisio was third at 156.
Earlier this year Herr admitted that the prize --- a PIAA State Championship --- was on her mind, especially after a fifth place finish at states a year ago. Still, it is a diffifcult task.
"There are so many things that can happen," she said at the time. "You have to get there, you have to play well, and you need some luck along the way. My goal is simple, to go out and play like I can."
She did just that, getting to states by winning the District One Championship then watching Rogowicz take all the Eastern Regional marbles. At states she was consistent and accurate, making shots when she needed to make them. Her strong play early put the championship in her grasp, as long as she didn't suffer a major hiccup.
Garrett Browning of West Allegheny, the 2009 champion, regain the state championship with a 75-71---146 effort in claiming a one-shot win over Peters Township's Tommy Nettles and Indiana's Colton Wiggins. Last year's champion, Brandon Mathhews of Pittston Area, tied for seventh at 152.
Holy Ghost Prep's Chris Crawford, who earned a berth in the U.S. Amateur over the summer, was the top local finisher, placing 6th after round of 74 and 77 for a 151. Central Bucks West's T.J. Summers finished in a seventh place tie after a 79-73---152 effort, as did Council Rock North's Zachary Herr, the District One champion. Each earned a medal for a top-10 finish.
CHIP SHOTS: Central Bucks West's Lily Gordon was 22nd after an 88-92---180 effort in the girl's event....Browning joins Arnold Palmer and Jay Sigel as two-time winners of the event.,,Zachary Herr closed with a final nine of even-par 36....Holy Ghost Prep's Chris Szal finsihed 40th among the boys after an 80-84--164 effort...Erica Herr has the distinction of holding both the PIAA State Girls Championship and the Pennsylvania State Women's Golf Association Junior Championship at the same time.