Team's 9-year streak takes toll on coach

Will Reilly spent a couple of nerve-racking days at the PIAA Golf Championships watching his Mount St. Joseph girls' team trying to repeat.

How difficult was it?

"I'm thinking I'd rather be trying to qualify for the U.S. Open than watch, especially when something you've been working on with the girls doesn't come to fruition," said Reilly, the team's coach and head pro at Twining Valley Golf Club in Dresher.

But it turned out to be a breeze for the Mount St. Joseph team, which defeated Villa Maria by 14 strokes last week at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York for its second straight state title.

The success is something to which the school is accustomed. Reilly, who completed his second season as coach, said that in the nine years of the girls' golf program, the team has never lost a match.

"Yes, there is some pressure," he said. "Every time you go to a match, you're reminded they've never lost. It's definitely not my coaching. I have yet to hit a shot. But this is like hockey - the second season lasts five weeks, with the [Catholic Academies] championship, district qualifying, districts, regionals and states."

Reilly, the 2007 winner of the PGA of America's President's Plaque for his achievements in player development, works year-round with three girls on the team. During the "second season," however, he had all five members working on their short game, hitting shots from 50 yards and in as well as pitches, chips and bunker shots.

The strategy worked, as Mount St. Joseph went back-to-back in the two years in which the PIAA has conducted a team competition.

Freshman Samantha Arena led the scoring with rounds of 79 and 78 for 157. Sophomore Emily Gimpel contributed a 36-hole total of 166. Other members of the team are juniors Carson Price and Nicole Weinrich and senior Lauren Haney.

"It's something they'll remember the rest of their lives," Reilly said. "But I don't think it hits them right away. Their parents want to take another picture and all they can think about is getting something to eat."

Going national. George Forster of Radnor Valley and Bill Sautter of Philadelphia Cricket have qualified to compete in the 2008 Senior PGA Championship thanks to their play in last weekend's top PGA event for senior club pros.

Forster and Sautter each finished in a tie for 17th at the Senior PGA Professional National Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla., thus making them eligible for next year's Champions Tour major at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. Both carded 72-hole scores of 285 and won $3,230 apiece.

The top 35 finishers qualified for the Senior PGA Championship.

Honoring Brewer. The Golf Association of Philadelphia has announced the creation of the Brewer Cup, which will debut next year as part of the senior tournament schedule.

The cup is named in honor of O. Gordon Brewer Jr., the president of Pine Valley Golf Club and a two-time U.S. Senior Amateur champion who enjoyed much success in GAP over the years.

The Brewer Cup will be a three-day event, starting with a one-day 18-hole stroke-play qualifier followed by match play in both senior and super-senior flights. It is tentatively scheduled for early July at a course to be determined.


Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or jjuliano@phillynews.com.