MOSCOW — Maybe it was the large gallery following him making him nervous.
Or maybe, Scranton Prep sophomore Nick Reach was just ahead of his time.
Whatever the case, the Moscow resident proved he can play golf with anyone.
Reach, who was in contention after the first round of the NEPA Classic, faltered on Friday in the second round and finished the day missing the cut with a two-day score of 143.
Reach, who shot 3-under 67 in the first round, carded 76 in the second round. He was the recipient of the largest gallery during his two rounds.
From the time he hit his first drive at 2:15 p.m. until he sank his final putt at 6:45, only a few spectators stopped following. And every fan cheered all 76 of his shots on Friday.
“It was awesome. It was an experience,” said Reach, 16, who will resume golfing for Scranton Prep next week. “I usually don’t have that big of a gallery. I appreciate it so much, I appreciate everybody coming out this week. And the board giving me an exemption, I really appreciate everything. I just hope I get another opportunity to play in another one of these.”
The lone amateur in the field, Reach knows the expectations could be sky high this coming high school season, but he won’t let that bother him.
“I think (the expectations will be high), but I also think I can do well at states if I just play well and hit the fairways,” he noted.
Kingston resident Greg Pieczynski, playing in his third NEPA Classic, missed the cut for the third time. He finished one shot behind Reach with a 144. He started off his day with birdies on two of his first five holes (11 and 14) and also birdied No. 8, but he made five bogeys and one double-bogey.
His score was better than his previous two appearances however. In 2004, he shot 147 and in 2007 he scored 151.
John Pillar, the golf director at Woodloch Pines, carded 143 for his two-day total, while Lewisburg’s Brian Kelly shot 142 and Jon Rusk, from Yardley, fired 140.
The trio all missed the cut.
Reading native Rick Price is sitting tied for sixth with 134, two shots behind co-leaders Greg Chalmers, D.A. Points and Brad Fritsch.
D.A. Points might have had the most luck of the three former champions playing this weekend as he is tied for the lead, but Craig Bowden also had a solid day and can never be counted out.
Bowden, who shot even-par on Friday to remain 3-under, won the event in 2006 after trailing by seven strokes entering the final round. Prior to his win, he placed 11th in 2005. Elmhurst is a much different course than Glenmaura National Golf Club, but Bowden is still confident.
“I wish we were over at Glenmaura because I had such a good track record there, but if I have to come to Scranton, this is a pretty good place to come,” Bowden said. “If I can find a way to shoot a pair of 65s this weekend, I have just a good a shot to win as anyone. If I get good putts and stay close, I can win the golf tournament.”
Jason Hill, the 2001 winner, didn’t fare as well as the other two recent winners as he missed the cut with a score of 142.