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Reiber stays hot in juniors

August 17, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Kevin Reiber doesn't need to go to the zoo to learn about birdies and eagles.

He has his own bag of fowl and he put it on display Monday during the Tri-State Junior Golf Association championship at Black Rock Golf Course.

Reiber, coming off Sunday's WACO championship, blistered Black Rock's 6,236-yard, par-72 layout with a 5-under 67, carding four birdies and two eagles for the title in the 16-18 age group.

Chambersburg's Andrew Burke, playing in a threesome with Reiber and Boonsboro's Nick Zaccaria, had his share of birdies, posting five to finish one shot back at 68.

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Reiber started with three birdies in the first five holes on the back nine but also had two bogies, while Burke's lone birdie left the two tied at 35 through nine holes before things became interesting.

Reiber, a Waynesboro senior, birdied his 11th hole, the par-5 first, and then offset Burke's birdie on the par-5 13th when he chipped in off the fringe from 25 feet for eagle.

Burke answered with two more birdies and the two were tied at 4 under.

Reiber then produced another eagle when he putted in from from the fringe about 20 feet from the cup to go 6-under, with Burke coming back for another birdie.

Burke followed with a three-putt bogey on the par-3 16th to fall two behind, and the final margin came when Reiber three-putted on the 18th.

Zaccaria, who finished fourth with a 76, said it best after his round: "It was great watching those two today ... where else can you have so much fun getting beat by nine strokes."

Reiber, who will play this weekend in the Gitlen Invitational in Hershey, Pa., said he "didn't drive the ball that well" despite driving near the green on several of Black Rock's mid-300-yard holes.

"All-around, I didn't play all that well," said Reiber, also expected to make an official visit to The University of Minnesota in the next two weeks. "I just wasn't that consistent. If I don't have those eagles, I might not have won."

Burke, who spent the early part of the golf season playing baseball on Chambersburg's state championship team, didn't look rusty.

"Really, I haven't played as much as normal," Burke said. "My chipping and putting helped me. A lot of the birdies were from 15 feet. I struggled with the driver."

Burke, a senior at Chambersburg, knew his birdies on the back nine wouldn't ruffle Reiber's feathers.

"I knew he'd keep on playing and it wouldn't bother him," Burke said. "But I didn't really expect to see two eagles."

Daryn DeShong, also a senior at Chambersburg, came in third with a 36-37-73 and, along with Reiber and Burke, qualified for the American Junior Golf Association tournament, to be held Sept. 24-26 at Black Rock.

Jacob Wetzell, a sophomore at Waynesboro, won the 14-15 age group with a 36-39-75, while Alex Hoffman continued to dominate the 12-13 division with a 34-40-74.

"I could have played better. ... I left some strokes out on 5 and 6," Wetzell said. "A win is a win, but I could have had some birdies."

Hoffman, of Hagerstown, will jump into the 14-15 division next year despite just turning 13 after winning his fourth tournament this year.

Playing from the red tees measuring 5,179 yards, Hoffman shot even par and at one point on his first nine was 5-under, turning in a 34.

"I got to 5-under with an eagle on No. 9 and that was neat," said Hoffman, who gets some of his golf tutelage from his father Bill, the Tri-State tournament chairman.

North Hagerstown sophomore Steve Hutzell, who shot a 40-42-82 in the 14-15 group, was named Golfer of the Year based on six checkpoints of standards established by the association. In his three years as a Tri-State member, Hutzell has never missed a tee time nor been late.

"This award was something I certainly didn't expect" Hutzell said. "I like this award. ... For three years I've worked hard at everything I do."

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