Cwienkala takes fifth in EPC
Alec Cwienkala holds himself to a high standard. When he set a lofty goal of finishing in the top five of last week’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Golf Championships, there was no question that he couldn’t achieve it. It was all a matter of how he executed his game plan.
After a slow start to the round, he proved he was up to the challenge. Cwienkala shot an 80 last Monday at Bethlehem Golf Club to earn fifth place in the conference championships. The top-five finish exempted him from having to play in the district-qualifying round.
“I would rate my performance in the tournament as good, but not great. I did not hit my irons very well,” Cwienkala said. “But at the same time I also scrambled really well and made a lot of pars.
“Going into the tournament I just wanted to play my game and focus on hitting one shot at a time. I knew that if I was able to do that I could contend and finish in the top five.”
The way the first couple of holes played out certainly wasn’t how Cwienkala drew it up. But experienced golfers are able to put those slow starts behind them and focus on the shots in front of him. That’s exactly what he did after two double bogeys in the early going.
“I made back-to-back double-bogeys on three and four, so the par on five was the start of a string of pars and birdies which brought me back into contention,” Cwienkala said.
Cwienkala wasn’t able to catch Nazareth’s Kevin Scherr at the front of the pack, but he was able to hang with much of the conference’s elite players. Scherr fired a 74 to win the boys’ title and helped the Blue Eagles win the team championship as well.
Parkland was also fighting for a shot at the team crown, but the Trojans came up short of capturing that feat. Ben Tetzlaff shot an 86, while Kevin Zimmerman (96), Ben Hambel (97) and Ava Sweeney (102) rounded out the Trojans’ top five scorers.
“Our goal as a team was just to go out there and for each of us to just play our own game,” Cwienkala said. “We felt like if we could do that then we could surprise some teams.
“We expected a tough fight from the entire field, but we were also a little disappointed with our play, as we did not play up to our standards.”
What made Cwienkala’s round all that more impressive is that he put together that performance on a very challenging golf course.
“I really enjoy playing at Woodstone,” Cwienkala said. “It is definitely one of, if not the toughest course we play all year. It is a tough course but it is very fair, and if you are playing smart and hitting the ball well, you can score on it.”
Parkland’s Chris Panny shot a 104, while teammates Suyeon Hong (116), Paige Diaz (118) and Jackie Katz (126) also competed in the event.