Trevor Rodgers is making the most out of his senior year on the links.
A fantastic 2013 campaign for the Cambridge Springs star senior got even better Thursday afternoon, as Rodgers shot an even par 72 at The Country Club of Meadville, and won a tiebreaking playoff hole to claim top honors at the Meadville Invitational.
Rodgers and Cathedral Prep’s Ryan Podufal both turned in scorecards reading 72 after 18 holes of play, forcing a playoff which started and ended on hole No. 16. A beautiful drive by Rodgers was followed by a nice up-and-down for par, which was enough for the title.
“My demeanor doesn’t really change at all,” Rodgers said on his approach to a playoff hole. “It’s just another hole. I don’t change too much. That just leads to stupid mistakes. I’d rather play conservative than lose in a stupid manner.”
Despite shooting a par round and impressing peers when they read the leaderboard, Rodgers is the first to say that there were plenty of shots he left out there, though he was very pleased when it was all said and done.
“I played pretty decent. You can’t always be completely satisfied with your round,” Rodgers said. “Things always go wrong. You make stupid mistakes no matter what, and you never play a perfect round. That being said, I’m very happy with how I hit the ball.”
Also very happy Thursday was Cathedral Prep, which claimed first place in the team competition with an impressive five-player team score of 308. Three of the top five rounds carded Thursday came from Cathedral Prep golfers, with Podufal’s 72 being followed by a pair of 77’s from Andrew Britton and Nick Hayes.
McDowell was second with a 329, followed by Mercyhurst Prep (331), Slippery Rock (338) and Grove City (339) to round out the top five. Harbor Creek (342) took sixth place and Titusville finished seventh overall with a score of 344, while Meadville (346) finished in eighth place out of the 21 participating schools in the second year of the tournament.
“I can’t really be too pleased. It was about as bad as we could play,” Meadville head coach Fred Garvey said. “Maybe we put a little too much pressure on ourselves.”
The Bulldogs’ Charlie Holt and Matt Burchard both shot an 85 to lead Meadville, though Burchard was docked two penalty strokes. James Mullen carded an 86, while Dalton Zelasco shot an 88 and Kyle Luben posted a 91.
“I’m thrilled with James shooting an 86,” Garvey said. “Charlie couldn’t keep the tee ball in play, and that was the same with Kyle and Dalton. They were spraying the tee ball all over.”
Even though it was a picturesque day on a beautifully maintained course, plenty of teams struggled to post low rounds, including General McLane (368, 13th), Cambridge Springs (380, 16th), Union City (381, 17th) and Saegertown (387, 18th).
With the District 10 individual and team championships just over a week away on Oct. 5, which will also take place at The Country Club of Meadville, Thursday’s competition was quite the warm-up for the many golfers that will return to the course in hopes to keep the season alive.
“I came in to today thinking that there will be a lot of schools here, so I gauged it as a serious practice round for districts,” Rodgers said. “I’m a member here so I play here all the time. I like the layout and the course, and it’s always in good shape.”
Though his team didn’t fare too well, Garvey agreed that The Country Club is as good as it gets when it comes to courses in the area.
“This place is so warm and welcoming. The pro here, Michael Ferry, does a fantastic job with youth golf in the area,” Garvey said. “You can’t ask for a better facility or better place to practice. We have been pretty successful for the last five years, and they have a lot to do with that. They do a lot for us, and we recognize that.”
As far as the Meadville Invitational coming down to a playoff, Garvey was excited for the golfers as well, especially Rodgers, who he has watched golf for multiple years.
“We were in the region with him when he was younger,” Garvey said. “Trevor is a good player and he works hard. It couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”
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