GILBERTSVILLE — Brandon Vance has been doing anything but resting on his laurels since winning the Pioneer Athletic Conference Boys Golf Championship a year ago. He worked hard over the winter, finished third in a world class tournament in July, and helped Methacton go undefeated in the PAC-10 regular season this year.
And now the Warrior senior has added another accomplishment to his ever-growing list — a second straight PAC-10 title after shooting birdies on two of the last three holes on Monday afternoon at Gilbertsville Golf Club to finish with a four-over par 75. That was two strokes better than his freshman teammate and brother Kyle Vance and Spring-Ford junior John Foley, who are all among the league's 18 District 1 qualifiers.
In the girls tournament, also at Gilbertsville, Boyertown junior Emily Gilbert had an all-around steady day to capture her first title with a 6-over par 76, which was two strokes ahead of defending champion Maddie Saeger, an Owen J. Roberts sophomore. Five other girls advance to District 1 play.
Brandon Vance was six over par with three holes to go, but birdied white course hole No. 7, earned a par on No. 8, and birdied No. 9 to pull out the win.
"That means a lot,' he said. "I went birdie, par, birdie, which really saved my round. It just shows how my game has really improved since my freshman year. I'm forgetting about my bad holes. It was really great, just the fact that I made some putts. I was just hitting a lot farther and a lot more accurate. My putting wasn't there today.'
Last year Vance won the title in a playoff against Boyertown's Carlo Barrasse after carding a 74. This time there wasn't quite as much drama, though Vance knew he was nip-and-tuck with his brother the whole way.
"The whole time, we were making signs back and forth,' said Brandon Vance. "We were almost tied. Near the end, he was ahead.'
The repeat title comes after a year of commitment and tournament play.
"Actually, last winter I lifted a lot of weights,' Vance added. "Last year at the U.S. Kids Teen Championship, I finished 85th. This year I finished third out of 135 at Pinehurst (North Carolina) against people from all over the world.'
Gilbert shot a birdie and 10 pars to win the title after finishing tied for sixth with an 89 last year, 12 strokes off the pace.
"All around, I was pretty solid,' she said. "I had some nice putts and my drives were pretty straight. I adjusted to the wind. I just had to stay relaxed and not psych myself out ... play my normal game and not the other players.'
Gilbert has been golfing for eight years and has been part of the Boyertown girls team that has now been in existence for three years.
"I actually did a book report on Tiger Woods in third grade and I found it interesting,' she said. "Recently, I've been doing a lot of Junior PGA Tournaments. I kind of started the (Boyertown girls) team. I gathered a bunch of friends and bugged (coach Mark) Takacs.'
And all of that has helped her improve her game quite a bit.
"I've put in a lot of hours of practice,' she added. "My game has improved a lot. I'm hitting it a lot farther and I'm working on my short game. I'm just very blessed. I'm surrounded by a great team and great coaches and my parents are supportive.'
Vance, who missed making the PIAA Tournament by one stroke last year, is the first repeat PAC-10 champion since J.C. LaDow from Owen J. Roberts won an unprecedented three straight titles from 2004-06. ... The District 1 Tournament will be held at Turtle Creek on October 7 and 8, with the girls playing at Gilbertsville on the first day. ... Six Methacton boys finished in the top 18. ... Six boys tied for 14th place with scores of 84 and were involved in a playoff for the final five district spots.
(at Gilbertsville GC, par 71)
District Qualifiers (top 18)
1 Brandon Vance (Mt) 75
T-2 Kyle Vance (Mt) 77
John Foley (S-F) 77
4 Drew Kriebel (UP) 78
T-5 Carlo Barrasse (Bt) 79
Mike Foley (Mt) 79
T-7 Brandon Caiola (PJP) 80
Corey Betham (Mt) 80
T-9 Phil Huber (Bt) 81
Lamar Saxon (Bt) 81
T11 Connor Green (PV) 83
Nate Guerinni (PV) 83
Eric Faust (OJR) 83
T14 Zach Feaster (Mt) 84
Jared Faust (OJR) 84
Dan Rieger (Mt) 84
Matt Keim (SF) 84
Elijah Landes (PV) 84
(at Gilbertsville GC, par 70)
District Qualifiers (top 7)
1 Emily Gilbert (Bt) 76
2 Maddie Saeger (OJR) 78
3 Laura Hackman (OJR) 84
4 Sarah West (GV) 85
5 Carly Dorminy (PV) 87
6 Olivia Steinmetz (Bt) 89
7 Katie Brophy (GV) 94