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Chambersburg's Rotz wins Pennsylvania Junior title

July 07, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

MONT ALTO, Pa. - Mistake-free golf boosted Chambersburg's Clayton Rotz to the Pennsylvania Junior Championship on Thursday, as the 17-year-old left-hander maneuvered around the Founders Course at Penn National with a 5-under-par 67 second round.

Rotz, who has had three top-six finishes in five years of playing in the Junior, rallied from a 2-over 74 on Wednesday to post a two-round total of 3-under 141 and nudge out Stephen Dressel of Spring Ford by one stroke. The first-round leader, Brendan Borst of Hickory Heights, followed up his first-round 69 with a 74.

"This is the biggest win I've had," said Rotz, who will be a senior in the fall at Chambersburg High School. "It feels good to break through in this event.

"I knew the leaders could play, but I thought I had a good chance to come back. I wanted to get to even par by the turn."

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The fluid-swinging Rotz took advantage of his length off the tee on three of the four par 5s on the Founders Course, which played at 6,877 yards.

"I was 2 over the first day and came back 3 under on the par 5s knowing I had to take advantage of them," said Rotz. "Everything worked better, from driving to putting."

Rotz opened his round with a birdie on No. 1 and then birdied No. 7 - both par 5s - that put him at his goal of being at even par by the turn. After three pars to begin the back nine, he had back-to-back birdies on the par-3 13th and the par-4 14th, then posted his fifth birdie of the round on the 17th, a 575-yard par-5.

"I knew I had to have at least one birdie in the last three holes," said Rotz, who sank a 20-foot putt for his birdie on 17.

Rotz, who said he plans on doing some fishing the next two days, travels next to San Diego for the United States Golf Association Amateur Championship at Rancho Sante Fe Golf Club from July 17-22.

Rotz's championship returns the trophy to Franklin County for the second time in three years. Waynesboro's Chad Bricker, now at Penn State, won the Junior title in 2004.

Rotz is the second golfer from Chambersburg to win the crown. In 1982, Mike Davis won the title at Hershey Country Club, when the event covered 54 holes.

Chambersburg's Nick Tornetta, who fired a 2-under 70 on Wednesday and was one stroke behind Borst, fell off the pace in the second round with an 83 and ended in a tie for 31st with a 153, the same as Penn National's Scott Levy. Tyler Straub, also from the Chambersburg Country Club, finished 12th with a pair of 74s.

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