GREENMOUNT — Momentum was a shared word at the annual Carroll County Athletic League golf tournament Friday at Oakmont Green Golf Club.
When Ryan Stankewicz held off Aaron Sorkin on their second playoff hole to retain his individual county champion status, the South Carroll senior talked about using a little momentum to pull off the repeat.
When Westminster came into the day as favorites to win a second consecutive county title, and added another crown, the Owls referred to the momentum they gathered by beating rival Winters Mill earlier in the week as a starting point.
So it goes in golf, where one hole or one stroke can change the outlook.
Stankewicz and Sorkin each shot 3-over par 75, and Stankewicz edged his playing partner with a pair of pars in their playoff to win.
Sorkin stumbled down the stretch in regulation with a bogey on 17 and a triple bogey on 18, losing his four-stroke lead with two holes to play. The sophomore came up a little short in his effort to win the individual title, but his score helped Westminster defend its CCAL championship.
The Owls finished at 317, with Sorkin’s 75 and junior Cory Campbell’s 77 leading the way.
Carroll determines its golf champion with a points system — two points per official county win during the season, and bonus points for order of finish at the tourney (six for first, five for second, etc.).
South Carroll was second Friday at 330, and gained five points to finished second overall (13 points). Winters Mill was fifth in the tourney and third overall with 12 points.
Westminster had 12 points entering the tournament, and Friday’s performance gave them six more for 18. The Owls got there by knocking off Winters Mill on Tuesday, 149-155, and handing the Falcons their only county loss.
“That was good,” said Campbell, who was part of the match that resumed Tuesday from earlier in the season. “Going in with a four-up lead against them, and then ending up [at] a six-up, that was good momentum for this. … I like coming from behind because I think it’s a good momentum booster, but playing with the lead is also pretty nice.”
Campbell finished third after edging South Carroll’s Nick Amateau in a one-hole playoff.
Stankewicz won his first county championship last fall with a 1-over 73 at Westminster National, and he held off Winters Mill’s Brian Inglis on the final hole. This time, he fell behind Sorkin, only to stay consistent on his back nine and give himself a chance in the end.
“Coming down the stretch I was hitting great shots, but wasn’t making the putts,” Stankewicz said. “So I wasn’t doing anything to come towards him. That little fall … because he was playing so solid all day, I wasn’t gaining anything on him.
“That last hole definitely shifted it a little bit.”
Their playoff started on the par-4 first hole, and both players made par. Oakmont’s second hole is a short but tricky par 3, and the pin placement toward the back of the sloped green made for a challenging approach.
Sorkin’s tee shot landed on the green but below the hole; Stankewicz’s landed on top of the ridge where the hole was and rolled away from the cup, just onto the fringe.
Sorkin had to navigate an uphill putt on his second shot, then just missed an 8-footer for par to the left. Stankewicz got close and then sank his 4-footer, and walked off the green as the medalist.
“That putt I made on the first [playoff] hole was a tough putt,” Stankewicz said. “When that went in that gave me enough confidence to finish it out. … Pretty awesome. This will be the last county event I ever play in. … It’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”
Stankewicz’s season isn’t finished yet — he’ll be in the Class 2A-1A field at the state tournament next week at University of Maryland. Westminster will be there as well, on the 4A-3A side as a team, and coach Robbie Vaughn said the Owls are peaking at the right time.
“We have good golfers, and they play good golf. And that’s what it comes down to,” Vaughn said. “There’s nothing magic … they grind it out on the practice greens, they practice, they hit balls in their garage. Every day they’re hitting balls, and that’s what they do. And then they get to hold up the hardware at the end.”
1. Westminster 317, 2. South Carroll 330, 3. Century 336, 4. Man Valley 337, 5. Winters Mill 348, 6. Liberty 349, 7. Francis Scott Key 472.
INDIVIDUAL TOP 10
Latest Carroll County High School Sports
1. Ryan Stankwicz (South Carroll) 75, 2. Aaron Sorkin (Westminster) 75, 3. Cory Campbell (Westminster) 77, 4. Nick Amateau (South Carroll) 77, 5. Liam Wolf (Century) 78, 5. Emil Serafin (Winters Mill) 78, 7. Jack Hopwood (South Carroll) 81, 8. George Bowser (Man Valley) 82, 8. Justin Wunder (Century) 82, 8. Jennifer Sorkin (Westminster) 82.