FC’s Zefran wins Jackman girls crown

BY HERB SMITH, Times-Shamrock Writer

Forest City senior Katie Zefran replaces her ball on the green during the girls Jackman Memorial Tournament on Tuesday at Scranton Municipal Golf Course. Zefran shot 77 to win the title by three strokes over Scranton Prep's Danielle Dalessandro, last year's champion.

Going into the girls Jackman Memorial Tournament, Katie Zefran’s father gave her simple advice:

“Keep smiling.”

The Forest City senior had plenty to grin about Tuesday after shooting a 5-over-par 77 to win the tournament title at the Scranton Muni.

“My dad said I was seeing the glass as half empty,” Zefran said in a telephone interview. “I was letting shots get to me and he said if I make a bad shot, just keep smiling and move on.”

Last year’s winner Danielle Dalessandro of Scranton Prep and Holy Cross’ Selena Cerra both shot 80. Dalessandro made birdie on the first playoff hole against Cerra to capture low-junior honors.

“I really struggled on the front nine,” Dalessandro said in a telephone interview. “I came back on the back nine and shot 2-over but it was tough all day.”

Low senior was Amanda Reach ofNorth Pocono, who finished fourth overall with 81. Emily Okrepkie of Holy Cross was low sophomore with an 86 and Wallenpaupack’s Julia Santo also shot 86 to win low freshman.

“In the past, you had Ellen Ceresko and, before her, Katie Scarpetta, who would always dominate this tournament,” Zefran said. “Now you have five or six really good players and it really comes down to whoever has a great day.”

Zefran’s day started with a birdie on the par-5 first hole. After bogeying No. 4, she had a double bogey on five and then another bogey on No. 6. But she recovered and drove the green on the par-4 eighth. After missing a 12-footer for eagle, she sunk the birdie putt and closed out the front nine with a par to make the turn at 39.

“I didn’t know anyone else’s score and I didn’t want to,” Zefran said. “I knew 39 was a pretty good score so I figured if I could keep the back nine around even-par, I would have a shot.”

Zefran bogeyed No. 12 but bounced right back again with a birdie on 14.

Walking to the 18th green, she still had no idea where she stood on the leaderboard.

“I saw a big crowd gathered on the 18th green but I still didn’t know for sure,” she said. “After I made the putt, Amanda (Reach) and Danielle (Dalessandro) came running over and were hugging me and yelling that I won.”

Dalessandro couldn’t have been happier for Zefran.

“Katie is one of my really good friends,” Dalessandro said. “It was great to see her win.”

The victory was the first Jackman triumph for Katie, but not the first for her family. Her sister, Marissa, shot 11-over-84 to capture the 1998 title.

“My sister won the title several years ago,” Katie said. “It’s nice to have the name ‘Zefran’ on the trophy again.”