Marple Newtown senior Sam Soeth and Radnor sophomore Brynn Walker both struggled in the middle of their rounds, but both emerged with a shot at a medal after Day 1 of the PIAA Tournament Monday at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort.
Soeth ended up with a 6-over 77 over the 6,700-yard, par-71 Heritage Hills layout and stands in a tie for seventh in the Class AAA race.
Walker had an 8-over 80 on a Heritage Hills course that plays to 5,145 yards and a par 72 for the girls and stands in a tie for fifth.
The top 10 boys finishers and the top five girls finishers win medals.
Soeth, who finished tied for third at the District One Tournament, opened with a bogey at the par-4 first hole. After birdies at three and four, he made a bogey at the fifth and made the turn at even-par. But he bogeyed four of the first five holes on the back nine — 10, 11, 12 and 14 — and added a double bogey six at the par-4 16th to drop back to 6-over.
Walker, coming off a tie for fourth at the East Regional and a runnerup finish at the District One tourney, made double bogeys at the ninth and 11th holes that slowed her momentum.
"I hit a good drive on nine and just hit it thin over the green and then three-putted it,' Walker said by phone. "I hit a good drive on 11, but I was in the rough. I tried to hit a hybrid and I just didn't get it and it went 20 yards. Then I had a bad chip on that hole.'
The biggest problem for Walker was gauging the speed of the greens at Heritage Hills.
"I had four three-putts, the greens were just lightning,' said Walker, who tied for seventh at Heritage Hills a year ago. "They had some tricky pin positions and it was pretty windy.'
Walker had birdies at 16 and 18 around a bogey at 17, which was the result of the last of her three-putts for the round.
Manheim Township's Ryan Dornes carded a 1-over 72 to lead the boys AAA field. Conestoga's Andrew Willner and Bishop Shanahan's Kevin Connors, who won the East Regional titlte last week, are a shot back of Dornes at 2-over 73.
Canon-McMillan junior Lauren Waller leads the girls AAA field with a 1-over 73. District One champion Jackie Rogowicz of Pennsbury is a shot back at 2-over 74. Tied for third at 4-over 75 are Mount St. Joseph junior Isabella DiLisio, the 2012 District One champion, and two-time reigning PIAA champion Erica Herr, a senior at Council Rock North.