Pelensky claims Division title in LCJGT

By on August 3, 2016
Warwick sophomore-to-be Kathryn Pelensky follows through on a shot from the fairway in the Lancaster County Junior Golf Tour this summer
Warwick sophomore-to-be Kathryn Pelensky follows through on a shot  from the fairway in the Lancaster County Junior Golf Tour this summer

Warwick sophomore-to-be Kathryn Pelensky follows through on a shot
from the fairway in the Lancaster County Junior Golf Tour this summer

Admittedly, Kathryn Pelensky wasn’t expecting much heading into this summer’s Lancaster County Junior Golf Tour.

After all, the rising Warwick sophomore hadn’t been practicing her game all that much.

“It was going to be my last year (before) moving up to elite,” Pelensky said, “so I was like, ‘Alright, I’ll just try my hardest, have some fun and then next year I’ll move up to elite and take it more seriously.’”

Turns out, she had a lot more fun than she anticipated.

Pelensky captured top honors in the Girls 18-Hole Division, scoring 75 points in five events to easily outdistance Hummelstown’s Amanda Gerrish and Lancaster’s Katherine Lapinsky, who tied for second place with 45 points apiece.

First-place finishes at Hawk Valley, Foxchase and the Major championship at Tanglewood helped the 15-year-old Pelensky secure the title.

“I was pretty excited considering that I didn’t really practice at all over the summer,” she said. “I would practice every once in awhile, but I was really just playing for fun. I’m more looking forward to high school.”

After placing third in her division with a 9-over 45 on June 23 in the George Crudden Memorial Tournament at Four Seasons, Pelensky took charge exactly one week later with her first-place finish at Tanglewood, carding a 13-over par 87. The 24 points she scored there accounted for nearly one-third of her total production.

“That was the best tournament that I had,” Pelensky said.

Hard to argue.

She finished with birdies on holes 8 and 15, while adding pars on 2, 10, 14 and 17.

“There were a few holes where I didn’t think I did the best, but it wasn’t awful … I’ve played (at Tanglewood) a few times,” Pelensky recalled. “The last time was at Leagues and I shot a 104, so I wasn’t very happy with that. So I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going to try to go out and do better because that definitely wasn’t my best.’”

She acknowledged that her putting wasn’t a real strength in the LCJGT, but clearly, she was able to capitalize in other areas of her game.

“My iron shots were pretty good throughout,” Pelensky said. “And I was able to hit the driver further than the rest of the competitors. In the beginning, my driving was really good, and then it sorta fell off and I didn’t hit it as straight.”

Next up was Fairview, where she placed third with a 96 on Thursday, July 14, just three strokes behind Lancaster’s Lauren Wassel, who carded a 93. Pelensky fired birdies on holes 4 and 17, but it wasn’t quite enough.

“I did alright,” she said of her overall LCJGT performance. “I wasn’t very consistent with each hole. One of the tournaments, I had (a couple) birdies and I still ended up shooting a (96) because I had blow-up holes throughout it too.”

Pelensky returned to the top of the leaderboard on July 20 at Foxchase, tying Ephrata’s Tayler Moyer, each with a 23-over par 95.

She had two pars each on the front and back nine, including a par-5 on hole 14.

Finally, Pelensky wrapped up the title while taking first place at Hawk Valley last Tuesday, July 26, carding a 95 and edging out Gerrish by one stroke.

It could be just the springboard she needs heading into the high school season, which gets underway later in August. A year ago, Pelensky placed eighth at the L-L Championships and qualified for Districts at Briarwood Golf Club in York. This October, she’s hoping to take yet another step or two.

“Last year, I made it into the first day of Districts and I want to at least make it past that,” she said. “I’m pretty confident that I can make it, like, to at least the second day of Districts now that I know what to expect.”

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