Warwick’s Elle Overly stood on the first tee at Overlook Thursday with mixed feelings.
As a freshman playing her first high school match, she was a bit nervous. As a player with some self-belief, she was mildly irked at being placed at the number four spot in the Warriors’ lineup.
Then Overly bombed her first tee shot down the middle of the fairway and birdied the first hole. Four hours later, she had posted the best score of her 14 years of life, a 74, on the opening day of high school sports in Lancaster County and the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One season.
“I definitely wanted to move up in the rankings,’’ Overly said afterward. “I was a little nervous, but after that first birdie, I was OK.’’
Overly beat everybody but Hempfield senior Sawyer Martin, who celebrated verbally committing to York College last week with a superb even-par 70.
The team story of the day was written by Penn Manor, which went 4-16 a year ago and hasn’t won a section golf title since 1976. The Comets got the depth everyone in the Section is looking for, a 77 by Jesse Shue and 79 by J.P. Radwanski, and shot a four-player total of 327.
Warwick matched that number despite a late-round withdrawal, due to back pain, by number-two player Tyson Mitchell. Penn Manor got the win based on the tiebreaker, which is each team’s fifth-best score, thanks to 89s by Comets Aidan Doyle and Keegan Diggs.
So the Comets are 5-0, Warwick 4-1, Hempfield 3-2 (335), perennial power Manheim Township 2-3 (342), Cedar Crest 1-4 (356) and Lancaster Catholic 0-5 (362) despite Jack Novis’ 77.
Both Sawyer and Overly flirted with really low numbers.
There were expectations for Overly, based on her play on the local junior circuit this summer. But nothing like this; her previous career best was a 76 at Crossgates. She was a giddy three under par after eight holes Thursday.
She admitted to thinking a little about what was happening at that moment, promptly double-bogied the ninth, but managed to steer it home well enough that teammates came up to her afterward and said, “Thanks for carrying us.’’
Sawyer is a long hitter who can go deep on a shortish layout like Overlook if the driver’s hitting fairways and the putter’s holding up its end. He made five birdies.
“I was getting off the tee really well and putts were going in, which has been an issue for me the last couple months,’’ he said.
Sawyer missed qualifying for the state tournament by two shots as a freshman. His scoring average was higher last season than the previous one.
“I’ve been playing for 13-14 years,’’ he said. “You can have a year when you aren’t fully engaged.
“I took golf for granted last year. I feel like I have something to prove.’’
Section One gets back at it Monday, when Lancaster Catholic hosts at Bent Creek Country Club.
Which happens to be Elle Overly’s home course.