YORK - Sean Cliff of Manheim Township didn’t deliver the most dramatic moment of Saturday’s final round of the District Three golf championships at Briarwood Golf Club.
That came from Carlisle’s John Peters, a Duke University-bound senior who chipped in for a birdie to edge Spring Grove’s Karl Frisk in a sudden-death playoff for the Class AAA boys’ championship.
Down in the field just a bit, in seventh place, was Cliff, after delivering the round of his life.
The Blue Streaks had lost the District AAA team title by just one shot Friday. Cliff shot 79.
“It wasn’t that the score was so bad, but the way I played was,’’ he said. “I just played bad golf.’’
Cliff had been something of a supporting player at Township for most of his high school career, but came up with a big senior year and led Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League in scoring average.
Now, there would be no team trophy and, unless he made a move Saturday, no state tournament berth.
“I didn’t have anything to lose,’’ said Cliff afterward. “I thought, ‘Just go out and play.’ ’’
He played the first 15 holes two over par to climb the leaderboard. The top 11 finishers in AAA would make the state tournament.
Cliff knew he had a shot, but admitted that, “I didn’t know (exactly) where I stood.’’
He birdied the 16th, with a drive, wedge and 10-foot putt. He birdied the par-5 17th, after nearly reaching the green in two, with a chip and six-inch tap-in.
He hit his “best drive of the day,’’ at the par-4 18th. Then he hit the best 5-iron of anybody’s day, from 172 yards into the wind, to within two feet of the jar.
A birdie, birdie, birdie finish. A state berth. A one under-par 71, the first sub-par round of his life.
“Pretty nice,’’ he said, with a smile you could see through his pandemic mask.
Meanwhile, Cliff’s teammate Connor Strine, a two-time L-L champion, was slugging it out with Peters and Frisk in the day’s final foursome. He stayed in the hunt until a triple-bogey on the 16th dropped Strine to 74-76-150, tied with Cliff for seventh.
The Blue Streaks were among four L-L players to qualify for states.
Lancaster Mennonite’s Jonathan Glick held a two-shot lead with four holes left for the AA boys’ title, but a double-bogey at the 15th coincided with a back-to-back birdie run by Berks Catholic’s Michael Fioravante to turn it for good.
Glick finished third (the top six made states) at 78-77-155. Cocalico’s Ammala Moua, the 2019 L-L girls’ champ, finished third in AAA with 79-81-160. The AAA girls’ champ, Makensy Knaub of Dallastown, fired an impressive 73-72-145 total.
Solanco sophomore Logan Wagner shot 80-76-156 and won a playoff for first alternate in the state field in boys’ AAA.
The state individual tournament will be a single round for AA on Oct. 19 and AAA on Oct. 20 at Heritage Hills in York.
The state team championships are scheduled for Oct. 26, AAA and AA, also at Heritage Hills.