Tunkhannock’s Dakota Brown chips up to the green during pre-district tournament at Fox Hill Country ClubCHARLOTTE BARTIZEK/FOR THE TIMES LEADER
EXETER – Dakota Brown always wears a hat when he takes the golf course.
The last few times out, the Tunkhannock standout hasn’t had much luck in tournaments.
On Monday morning, Brown forgot his orange Tunkhannock headgear.
He might want to forget it more often.
The senior shot 3-over-par 73 at Fox Hill Country Club and won a three-player playoff to claim the championship of the Wyoming Valley Conference Pre-District Tournament. Brown was also in a playoff in last year’s tournament, but lost to Dallas’ Joe Bevevino.
Monday he defeated Pittston Area freshman Brandon Matthews and Wyoming Seminary’s John Henry to notch the win. He avenged a loss to Matthews at the preseason Tom Tryba Tournament last month.
“Brandon Matthews is going to be a great player,” said Brown, who was advised by Billy Remakus. “It feels good to win this. Obviously (Henry) had to have a very good day to hit 73.
“This is the first stage to states, but it feels good to win.”
Joining that trio in advancing to the District 2 Tournament on Oct. 6 at Fox Hill are 31 other golfers, who shot 89 or better. The final spot also needed a playoff as Coughlin’s Joe Patrizi defeated Nick Humphreys from Wyoming Valley West, Evan Leas from Wyoming Seminary and Anthony Bellino from Wyoming Area after Brown clinched his win.
On the championship playoff hole, Brown’s drive was slightly to the left of the fairway. He rebounded nicely with his second shot getting to about 23 feet from the hole. He then two-putted, with the second a gimme.
Henry was in the best position to knock off Brown on the extra hole.
The Wyoming Seminary junior, who had six birdies on the day, hit his drive right in the middle of the fairway. His second shot was also straight ahead and he was about 10 feet from the cup.
His third shot, however, sailed past the hole to the left, and his fourth shot was also misfired.
“I was lucky that he three-putted from 10 feet and pretty much gave it to me,” Brown said about Henry’s shot. “I was in a playoff last year with Joey and I just couldn’t believe that in a million years that a little tap-in would win it. I was thinking let this go in and we’ll go to (the second playoff hole).”
Matthews’ drive landed on the right of the fairway. His second hit wasn’t so good as the ball landed on the right of the green, near a bunker. He also settled for bogey.
Although he’s a freshman, he didn’t appear one bit nervous.
“He left himself in a spot that was almost impossible to get down,” Patriots coach Len Benfante said about Matthews’ second shot. “Watching him on the green, he was very well composed for a freshman. I’m sure he was a little nervous, but nothing to cause him to miss any shots.”
Crestwood qualified the most golfers for districts with six. Josh Popowycz (78), Eric Jesikiewicz (84), Mike Wrenn (86), Dan Kempinski (86), Keith Novatnak (87) and Matt Kachurak (87) will represent the Comets.
Holy Redeemer was second on the list with most representatives as five golfers advanced, while reigning WVC champion Tunkhannock advanced four.
Wyoming Seminary’s Mike Hirthler scored 76, while Holy Redeemer’s Donny DeRemer carded 77 to round out the top five scores.
The postseason continues Sept. 29 with the WVC team tournament at Fox Hill. Each division winner from the conference will compete for a chance to advance to the District 2 championship on Oct. 10 at Elmhurst Country Club.
The current division leaders are Crestwood (South Division, 9-1 record), Tunkhannock (East, 7-1), Holy Redeemer (Central, 8-1) and Wyoming Seminary (North, 8-0).
Wyoming Valley Conference
Pre-District Golf Tournament
(at Fox Hill Country Club)
Top 34 scores advance to District 2 Tournament Oct. 6 at Fox Hill Country Club
*-- Won playoff for championship
** -- Won playoff for final spot
1. *Dakota Brown, Tunkhannock …35-38-73
1. Brandon Matthews, Pittston Area …37-36-73
1. John Henry, Wyoming Seminary… 37-36-73
4. Mike Hirthler, Wyoming Seminary… 39-37-76
5. Donny DeRemer, Holy Redeemer …38-39-77
6. Will Bevevino, Wyoming Seminary …39-39-78
6. Josh Popowycz, Crestwood …38-40-78
6. Keanu Sorbelli, Pittston Area… 37-41-78
9. Jamie Bresnahan, Wyoming Area …37-42-79
10. Jake Humphreys, WVW… 36-40-80
10. Mike Napkori, Holy Redeemer …38-42-80
12. Neil Brown, Holy Redeemer …40-41-81
13. Mike Daubert, Coughlin …43-39-82
14. Adam Charles, Tunkhannock… 42-41-83
14. Jonathan Thomas, Lake-Lehman… 42-41-83
16. Zach Eyer, Berwick …43-41-84
16. Eric Jesikiewicz, Crestwood …41-43-84
16. Matt Millan, Tunkhannock …41-43-84
19. Matt Weckesser, Hazleton Area …48-37-85
20. Andrew McCabe, Dallas… 44-42-86
20. Dan Kempinski, Crestwood …43-43-86
20. Joe Caffrey, Coughlin …42-44-86
20. Mike Wrenn, Crestwood …41-45-86
20. Tony Bevevino, Dallas …41-45-86
20. Casey Judge, Holy Redeemer… 40-46-86
26. B. Williams, Hazleton Area… 39-48-87
26. Matt Kachurak, Crestwood… 47-40-87
26. Keith Novatnak, Crestwood… 44-43-87
29. Austin Smith, Dallas …43-45-88
29. Jared Piskorick, Hazleton Area …43-45-88
29. Steve Brand, WVW… 43-45-88
29. Cody Bevan, Tunkhannock …42-46-88
29. Aaron Remakus, Redeemer… 41-47-88
34. **Joe Patrizi, Coughlin …48-41-89
Vicky Petrosky, Wyoming Area …49-43-92
Brooke Keeler, Wyoming Area …50-50-100