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The End Zone Seat: Aeppli Finding Golfing Success

As Bucky Aeppli prepared to play in the Fore 81 Golf Classic Friday, he was in the midst of a busy few weeks of golfing.

Aeppli, a former Wyalusing Valley golfing star who recently concluded a successful junior season at Misericordia University, had qualified for the Pennsylvania Amateur tournament just four days earlier.

He also will be seeking a berth in the Pennsylvania Open today at Brookside Country Club in the King of Prussia area.

Playing at Glenmaura National in Moosic on Monday, a course he is very familiar with from college, Aeppli shot a 76, tying for 15th, in the Northeast Amateur qualifying tournament.

He was seven shots behind the winner, Nelson Hargrove, who shot a 69.

The Pennsylvania Amateur will be played at Lancaster Country Club on July 25-27.

“It’s a real strong field,” Aeppli said.

Today, Aeppli will tee off against the top pros and amateurs in the state at Brookside in the East qualifier for the Pennsylvania Open, which is slated for Aug. 8-10 at Moselem Springs Golf Club.

Joining Aeppli in today’s field of Open hopefuls will be Ryan “Squirrel” Knolles, a Wyalusing graduate who is currently the pro at the Towanda Country Club.

This past season at Misericordia, Aeppli finished third in the Freedom League Championship tournament and shot a school record 70 on the Glenmaura course. His season average of 76.7 was also a school record.

While the competition is intense at Misericordia and in the Pennsylvania Golf Association events, Friday’s outing at the Towanda Country Club was a labor of love and fun.

Aeppli was the 2008 winner of the Bret J. Keefe Award and has played in the Fore 81 Classic, which is the sole fundraiser for the scholarship fund, ever since.

Playing as a member of Ace is the Place along with Trevor Woodruff, Aaron Welles and Steve Lewis, Aeppli had hopes of winning the Gold tournament, which is the afternoon half of the event.

“There’s a couple of real strong teams in the afternoon,” he said prior to starting his round. “We’ll have to shoot a pretty good number to win it.”

The four Wyalusing graduates appeared to enjoy themselves as they began the round, particularly when the other three began busting on Aeppli for what they felt was an inadequate approach shot on the par-five No. 12.

“They’ve been hitting my drives all day,” Aeppli joked. “And this is the thanks I get.”

When the round ended, the team finished with a 61, in fifth place, three shots back of the winning team. To show how competitive the afternoon round was, a 61 would have won the morning round by a stroke.

But Aeppli was playing to support the Keefe Scholarship Fund, a cause close to the heart of the business administration member as he enters his senior year.

“The scholarship is great,” he said. “What they do financially is nice, but they treat us even better. It’s almost like having a second family when you go away (to school).”

As someone who has played many tournaments, not just locally, but at some of the top events in the state, Aeppli appreciates the way the Fore 81 is run.

“It’s the best run tournament you are going to find,” he said.

“Everything is done so well. It’s the best tournament of the year. Everyone knows that.”

Besides the Fore 81 and the two qualifying tournaments, Aeppli also found time to win the Towanda Country Club Member/Member tournament with his father, Jeff, over the weekend, shooting 139 over 36 holes.

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