Chucks lose by one stroke, suffer first loss of season
PUNXSUTAWNEY — If you've ever listened to a coaches' press conference at any competitive level, you'll hear them say that they are focused on the task at hand and that each game counts the same.
A loss early in the season counts the same as a loss late in the season.
For golf, the same can be said about strokes.
In Punxsutawney's biggest match of the young season, the team found this out the hard way.
In the Route 36 battle, the Chucks dropped a highly competitive match to the Raiders of Brookville, 164-165.
One stroke made the difference.
One shot can — and did — make the difference for the Chucks.
The 165 was the second-lowest score of the year for Punxsutawney.
Leading the way for the Chucks at the Par-35 front-nine of PineCrest Country Club in Brookville was Brandon Mancuso.
Mancuso evened out his score with two birdies and two bogeys for an even par on the afternoon.
Mancuso's 35 was the lowest score by any Punxsy golfer through five matches.
"Brandon played great," head coach Josh Conrad said, "he's capable of shooting par any given day."
The rest of the Chucks put together solid efforts throughout the outing.
Austin Milton shot a plus-eight 43, and Logan Reed shot the same.
Brandon Blose continues to show promise with a plus-nine 44.
Rounding out the scoring for the Chucks were Nick Voris (48) and Eli Thompson (49).
For Brookville, Jack Huggins led the way with a plus-three 38 over the nine-hole course.
Espy Reinard kicked things off early with a birdie on No. 1.
Reinard finished the afternoon at plus-seven 42.
Levie Roseman came up big for the Raiders, shooting a plus-six 41 on the afternoon.
Both Jacob McLaughlin and Tate Canavan shot 43s en route to the Raiders' victory.
Rounding out the scoring was Jordan Tosh and his plus-11 46.
Despite suffering its first defeat of the season, Conrad was pleased with the effort his team displayed.
"Those are two really good scores, and it's one of our best scores of the year," Conrad said. "We just didn't come out on top today."
The match had the feel of a rivalry throughout.
It wasn't just the low scores posted on the scorecards, but Conrad joked that a blimp flying overhead told the importance of the match.
Showing support for his fellow District IX program, Conrad said he was happy for Brookville.
"I'm happy for Brookville," Conrad said. "They're a good group of kids and they played great."
While the goal of every team is to ultimately win all of its games or matches, Conrad said that perhaps it was good for his group of guys to lose to Brookville.
"In a way, it's good for us as well," Conrad said. "Sometimes they get frustrated or down out there. They can get a little reckless. It's a wake up call reminding us that every shot counts."
Punxsy will try to make every shot count the rest of the way, but will have a few days off before its next match.
The Chucks will take on DuBois High School in a rematch of last week's 169-192 victory.