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BOB FORD/THE PRESS Mike Lessel shot a surprising 76 in Monday's qualifier. BOB FORD/THE PRESS Mike Lessel shot a surprising 76 in Monday's qualifier.

Three golfers make District 11 field

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 by MIKE HAINES mhaines@tnonline.com in HS Sports

Mike Lessl knew he was good enough to qualify for districts. But his confidence level stopped about right there.

Heading into Monday's District 11 Golf Championship Qualifier at Woodstone Golf Club in Danielsville, Lessl didn't think he could finish among the top players at the event. Not until he posted the second-lowest score in Class AAA and third-lowest overall in the event.

Lessl fired a four-over par 76 Monday, leading a contingent of three Emmaus players to advance to next week's District 11 Championship Tournament. Carlos Fullerton shot 82 and Kyle Wambold came in one stroke under the Class AAA cut at 84. They will join teammate Grant Schumaker at next week's championship tournament, which will be played at Shawnee Golf Course.

Lessl bogeyed his first two holes then played two over the rest of the day. He made five bogeys overall and was five over par before making birdie on his last hole.

"I don't think I could have played much better," he said. "I never considered myself to be among the top. Even though I had a good season I didn't think I was capable of shooting this kind of number. To be four over is beyond what I could have dreamt of. I'm looking forward to districts at Shawnee and now I think I can compete with anyone."

Lessl didn't even make the qualifier last year, but improved over the summer by playing in Golf Association of the Lehigh Valley events. He said his putter was key to his round, something that usually isn't his strength.

"I made a 30-footer, a 25-footer and a seven-footer," he said. "Putts that I didn't expect to go in just fell for me. That was the key."

A junior, he has been looking forward to the postseason. His team won the Lehigh Valley Conference regular season title and will compete for a district team title Wednesday at Willowbrook.

"It's great to be playing my best golf this time of year," Lessel said. "I get to compete not just for myself, but for my team too.

"The whole year is in preparation for [the postseason]. To see all my hard work pay off is unbelievable. This is a huge event, a huge stage. There are a lot of good players here. I couldn't be more pleased with my round today."