When Drew Kriebel qualified for the District 1 golf tournament with a four over par 78 in the PAC-10 championships on Monday at the Gilberstville Golf Club, it was a redemption of sorts for the Upper Perk junior.
Kriebel, who has been Upper Perk’s top golfer over the last three years, failed to make districts last year after qualifying in 2011.
“He had a totally different work ethic this year, as far as how much golf he played over the summer,” veteran Coach John Brittain noted. “I think he was probably, his words, embarrassed a little bit by not making it last year after making it as a freshman.”
Kriebel finished just three strokes behind PAC-10 champion Brandon Vance of Methacton despite battling the windy, cool conditions on the course.
“It’s a pretty long course, a lot longer than the courses we play throughout the year,” said Kriebel, whose strength is usually his long game.
“The temperature was definitely cold out and the wind definitely made it a lot harder.”
After getting off to a good start with a birdie on the first hole, Kriebel was at par after the first five holes and knew then he was in contention.
Despite a double bogey on the sixth hole, Kriebel was only three over par at the halfway point, and he calculated that he was in excellent position to make Districts.
“I knew the cut was going to be around like 82, so I knew if I had a solid back nine, I’d be fine.”
The key hole turned out to be the 11th where Kriebel drove a shot out of bounds on the par five but ended up with only a bogey instead of a round-ruining meltdown.
After flirting with that disaster, Kriebel finished strong thanks to his short game and his putting.
“I was getting up and down a lot, making a lot of my putts on the back nine, which really saved me the whole day,” he said.
Brittain was unable to follow his ace around the course but received reports from other coaches about Kriebel’s play.
“He putted extremely well. Drew’s a good putter normally. He didn’t miss much from inside 10 feet all day, and that’s what carried him.”
The District 1 Tournament will be held in two weeks at Turtle Creek in Limerick and both golfer and coach believe that the long course plays to the strengths of Upper Perk’s lone representative.
Kriebel has played Turtle Creek “a handful of times” and plans on a couple of practice rounds there in the next two weeks.
“If my short game is efficient, I feel like I can definitely shoot a good score and move on to Regionals,” he said.
Brittain concurs. “I just think that Turtle Creek sets up really well for him.”
The tournament will be held over two days and Brittain thinks that his golfer has a good shot at being the first Upper Perk golfer in recent memory to advance to the second day.
While Kreibel was the only Tribe golfer to move on, Brittain was happy with the rounds of some of his other duffers.
Sophomore Kevin Loose missed the cut by two strokes with an 86, but that was an improvement of seven strokes over last year.
“I’m real happy with his performance [Monday] and what he’s done throughout the season. He’s been our number two player,” Brittain noted.
Brandon Frickmann, a senior out for golf for the first time this season, shot 88 and Dylan Hurrey recorded an 89 in his first PAC-10 championship.
On the girls side, Lauren Saylor missed the cut by five strokes after shooting a 99.
Kriebel tuned up for Districts by helping the Tribe (2-7, 5-8) to a 270-273 win over Perkiomen on Tuesday at Butter Valley. He shot a team low 39 as Upper Perk won on a sixth score tie-breaker.