Garrett Engle seemed to be on the minds of almost everyone at Fairview Golf Course Thursday, and with good reason.
Making his Lancaster County Junior Golf Tour season debut, Engle, of Harrisburg, is the top-ranked boy in Pennsylvania. Players wondered aloud during their own rounds about his performance.
Engle didn’t disappoint.
He finished his round six-under par with a 65 to win the Boys Gold Division. Paige Richter, of Camp Hill, shot a 76 to finish five-over and win the Girls Gold Division at the River Rock Academy Junior.
Engle is coming off playing in three world ranked tournaments, including a US Amatuer qualifier, but said he enjoys playing with the LCJGT.
“This tour is really well-run, and you always have to shoot under par to win, which I like,” Engle said. “They don’t play as difficult golf courses as I’m used to for the larger events, but it’s run well, so I fill these in when I can.”
Engle was tracked closely by Elizabethtown’s Derek McGlaughlin, whose 68 for the day would otherwise have been the best score posted by anyone on the tour this season.
The difference maker was Engle’s driver.
“I knew I had the driver going about midway through, so I stuck to hitting with a driver off all the tees,” he said. “That was key.”
It helped Engle dominate the back nine, where he birdied five holes.
He nearly drove the green on hole 16 at a 380-yard distance. He birdied that, as well as the par-five 17, before finishing out his round by making par on a par-three 18th hole after missing the green with his drive.
“I know most of the guys here and I've been playing this since I was little, so it's good to come back and play a couple of these over the summer,” Engle said.
McGlaughlin took second with his 68, while Matthew Wilson finished third, shooting a 71.
Engle was the fourth different winner in four events in the Boys Gold category.
After Richter’s victory Thursday, the Girls Gold Division is also still looking for its first repeat victor.
Also playing her first event of the year with the LCJGT, Richter posted the best score in the Girls Gold division so far this season with her 76.
She birdied four holes on the day, using a strong driver to her advantage. The other nine golfers in the division birdied two holes combined.
“Usually I drive it pretty long so it’s pretty easy for me to get up and down for a wedge,” Richter said. “But I also made a lot of putts today.”
Playing in the third group, Richter said she was slightly surprised at the win, being unfamiliar with the competition.
“I wasn’t expecting it, but I was working for it,” she said.
Kalya Maletto finished three strokes off the lead with a 79, and Amanda Gerrish took home third place, shooting an 84.
Rounding out the other divisions, Brant Bomberger shot a 77 to take the win in Boys Silver. Tristan Groff earned the victory in the Girls Silver with an 80. Dylan Ramsey shot an 80 to pace the Boys Bronze group.
Ethan Rader won the Boys Futures Division, which plays nine holes, with a 40. Piper Smith’s 45 took home the win in the Girls Futures Division.