JUNIOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Trenton’s Reilly Erhardt reels in Division’s top honor BY TONY REGINA
Reilly Erhardt was once a little fish in a big pond.
The Trenton CC member began his Junior career last year — small in stature,
outdistanced off the tee by his peers and inundated with pressures to perform
well. So to avoid a sophomore slump, he consulted the Titleist Performance Institute, a golf evaluation facility that focuses on swing efficiencies, conditioning and
custom equipment fitting. Erhardt also worked on his putting with Daniel Taylor, an
assistant professional at Trenton.
His offseason efforts didn’t alter the pond’s size; they just morphed Erhardt
into its big fish. The Newtown, Pa. resident earned 525 points to become the 2011
Junior Player of the Year.
“It’s an extreme honor to earn this award,” Erhardt, 15, said. “After seeing all of
the names of the previous winners, it feels amazing to be included on that list of
great players. Winning the [Junior] Player of the Year is tremendous.”
In the last two years, the player who’s earned medalist honors in the Junior
Boys’ Championship Qualifier and captured the Jock MacKenzie Memorial has
won the Junior Player of the Year Award. Erhardt continued that trend. He seized
the No. 1 seed in the Junior Boys’ Championship by carding a 2-under-par 70 at
Running Deer GC. Erhardt feverishly forged his way to the final, where he fell to
Brandon Matthews of Fox Hill CC, 1-up. In 2010, he advanced to the Round of 16
at Whitford CC.
“Being medalist gave me a tremendous amount of confidence,” Erhardt said.
“I knew that I wanted to win it or come close to winning it. I felt like it was a cata-
lyst to a good year for me.”
Indeed it was. Less than a week later, Erhardt won the Pennsylvania Golf As-
sociation’s 61st Junior Championship at Hershey CC with a 2-over-par 144 total.
He entered the event emotionally even-keeled, holding minimal expectations. The
results surprised Erhardt.
“I didn’t think I had a chance to win. I was honestly just hoping to get a Top
10,” he said. “One of the things I told myself to do was not to get angry after each
shot and relax.”
The Christman Cup perfectly depicts Erhardt’s Junior transformation. Last
year at Lu Lu CC, Erhardt posted rounds of 86 and 92 for a 178 total and a spot
near the bottom of the leaderboard. This July, he fired consecutive 76s at Bider-
mann GC to place tied for third. That’s a superb 26-stroke improvement.
“For me to do so much better was fantastic,” Erhardt said. “I thought the
courses were equally difficult and challenging. I got rid of those nerves this year.”
His performance at Bidermann thrust Erhardt into a prime position for the Harry
Hammond Award, which is given to the player with the lowest aggregate score in
Regan (L) and Reilly Erhardt
the qualifying round of the Junior Boys’ Championship, the Christman Cup and the
Jock MacKenzie Memorial. He capitalized by winning the Jock MacKenzie with a
score of 1-over-par 73. The victory came with a heartwarming bonus; brother and
sometimes caddie Regan, who also plays out of Trenton, won the event’s Junior-Junior Division. It marked only the second time that a set of brothers triumphed in
the same year.
“That’s my favorite tournament memory of this summer,” Erhardt said. “We had
a few fights on the course [when he caddied for me]. I’m sure Luke Donald and
Christian Donald have some of the same problems. But Regan kept me steady and
kept me loose. He was great at reading the greens for me. For both of us to win
Erhardt, a freshman at Holy Ghost Preparatory School, hopes to sustain his
status in the Junior pond. To do so, he’ll need to “keep improving on what my
weaknesses are and practice.”
“You can never be too good in any area of this game,” Erhardt said.
Thank You to all our valued 2011 advertisers
Back Creek Golf Club
The Beneficial Bank
Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club
Hassis Men’s Shop
Hidden Creek Golf Club
Honeybrook Golf Club
Hutchinson Mechanical Services
Makefield Highlands Golf Club
Philadelphia Association of Golf
Philmont Country Club
Performance Golf Management
Ray Angelini, Inc.