Honesdale, Wallenpaupack Area, Western Wayne and Forest City competed at the Wayne County Commissioners Cup
The 2018 Wayne County Commissioners Cup will go down in local links history as one of the most exciting ever held.
This year's edition of the event was hosted by Red Maples in South Canaan, Western Wayne's home course for the Lackawanna League campaign.
In addition to the Wildcats, golfers from Honesdale, Wallenpaupack Area and Forest City took part in the tournament, which acts as the unofficial end of the season.
And, while Tuesday's match focused more on individuals than on teams, the action was nothing short of electrifying.
A total of 34 golfers competed in six divisions … and no fewer than five sudden death tiebreakers were needed to decide all the place winners.
“It was wild and wooly!” exclaimed Hall of Fame Coach Bob Simons with a big smile. “The course was still a little bit wet, but that didn't stop anybody. The competition was really good and there was a lot of camaraderie out there. It was great to see.”
Landon Firmstone of Western Wayne was the overall winner among the boys, while Paupack's Mady Babyak took home top honors for the girls.
Trophies were also given out for the top three place winners in each class, provided by the Wayne County Commissioners.
“We're very committed to supporting these types of positive experiences for the youth of our community,” said Commissioner Wendell Kay. “I was pleased to see all the smiling faces and all the good sportsmanship.
“One of the best things about golf is that it teaches lessons that you can carry with you for the rest of your life … things like teamwork, communication and cooperation.”
“It's a wonderful event and we as Commissioners are proud to play a small part in it every year.”
Coach Simons was quick to agree.
“It's always good to get all four of the local schools together,” he said. “The kids really enjoy it and so do the coaches. It's a great experience and I hope it's a tradition that keeps going for a very long time.”
Next year's Wayne County Commissioners Cup will be hosted by Honesdale Golf Club. It is tentatively scheduled for the first week of October 2019.
On the Course
Joe Lauersen was the first champion crowed at the 2018 Commissioners Cup.
A student/athlete from Wallenpaupack Area, Lauersen carded a 44 to earn Low Freshmen honors.
The sophomores were up next and this is where all the fun began. Forest City's Henry Nebzydoski eventually captured the crown, but not before defeating Joe Ferrara of Paupack in a playoff.
Nebzydoski parred the first hole of sudden death to claim the title. Both golfers finished with an official score of 38 for their round.
AJ Keller and Trevor Regenski of Paupack tied for third at 39.
Landon Firmstone and Ben Williams also gave the gallery a thrill by closing out regulation with identical scores of 36. This also necessitated a sudden death playoff, which Firmstone won with a clutch par putt on the first extra hole.
“Landon is very accurate off the tee and with his irons,” Coach Simons said.
“I'm proud to say that he's a graduate of our Youth Program at Honesdale Golf Club. And, now he comes back and volunteers. I was very happy to see Landon do well today.”
Firmstone was awarded the first place overall trophy, while Williams had to be content with Low Junior honors.
The battle for third place may have been the most exciting of all. Will Long of Honesdale and Western Wayne's Jacob McCormick each finished with a 40.
Long saved his best for last, unleashing a huge drive on the seventh hole, a long par-4. Will's ball jetted all the way onto the green and came to rest inside five feet. He then calmly drained his eagle putt to take home the trophy.
Meanwhile, in the Senior bracket, reigning District Two champion Alex Pillar returned from a brief layoff and battled Honesdale's Luke Flederbach all the way to the last green ... and beyond.
Pillar and Flederbach each carded a round of 37, which led to yet another sudden death playoff. The senior Buckhorn emerged victorious, knocking down a short birdie putt on the par-3 first hole.
Paupack's Jack Mowatt wound up in third with a score of 39.
In the race for overall girls champion, the top two spots came down to a duel between Paupack's Mady Babyak and Alexis Peet.
After finishing tied at 48, Babyak finally put the match to bed with a clutch birdie putt on the third hole of sudden death.
“Both of those girls have a tremendous amount of potential,” Coach Simons said. “I really hope Mady and Alexis use this as motivation for next year. I think it was an excellent experience for them.”
Over & Out
Western Wayne Head Coach Marty O'Hora acted as this year's host, in conjunction with the nice folks at Red Maples and. of course, the Commissioners.
“They all did a great job,” Coach Simons said. “We're very grateful to everyone who takes time out of their busy schedule to help put this together every year.”
The Commissioners Cup marks the end of the 2018 high school links season. The only local player still active is Pillar. Paupack's all-time winningest golfer is headed to the Eastern Regional Tournament on Monday, October 15.
That at event is scheduled for Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood.