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Latrobe golfer Wears improves work ethic

Latrobe junior Will Wears was busy working on his game Thursday morning at the golf range at Latrobe Country Club.

The grandson of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer was not taking anything for granted as he focused on different aspects of his game.

Wears has high expectations this season. He'd like to win, or at least put himself in position to win, a WPIAL title. Wears, as a freshman, already was part of WPIAL and PIAA champion Wildcat teams.

"I can't get enough advice from my grandfather," Wears said. "He's really old-fashioned, and he preaches fundamentals. Practice, practice, practice."

Wears said he worked hard on his short game and putting this summer. He's seen positive results.

"My goals are to follow my game plan and not worry about the other golfers," Wears said. "If I do that and I'm playing well, I should be fine."

And just because Wears has a famous grandfather doesn't make him the favorite to win the WPIAL title. That's because Wears found out early that the competition in the WPIAL and state is as good as players from the south. He grew up in North Carolina.

"I knew there was some good players here," Wears said. "I'm still impressed with the quality of players."

West Allegheny senior Garrett Browning is a past PIAA champion, and Tommy Nettles and Jeremy Merich were part of Peters Township's WPIAL team title. Peters Township placed second in the state last year.

Other golfers capable of winning title include Belle Vernon junior Kirby Manown, Indiana senior Colton Wiggins, Bethel Park junior Brody Taylor, South Park junior Evan Sommer and Penn Hills junior Evan Ruhling, among others.

Wears said he didn't overload his schedule, though he did play well in numerous events this summer. He won the Westmoreland County Junior tournament, finished second in the Latrobe County Club club championship, tied for third in the state junior tournament in Hershey, fourth in the West Penn Junior tournament, ninth at the Westmoreland County amateur at Totteidge and reached the semifinals in the West Penn C.R. Miller junior match play event at the Pittsburgh Field Club.

"I tried not to overload myself this summer and worked on my game," Wears said. "I've made strides in my game."

Dates to remember

Sept. 19-20 — Section qualifiers

Sept. 26 — Division II Championship at New Castle Country Club.

Sept. 27 — Division I semifinals at Club at Shadow Lakes, Hopewell.

Sept. 28 — Division I semifinals at Nemacolin Country Club and River Forest Country Club.

Oct. 6 — Division I Championship at Treesdale Golf Club

Oct. 11 — Division I team semifinals at Pittsburgh North Country Club and Village Green Golf Course; Division II team semifinals at Duck Hollow Golf Course and Beaver Valley Golf Course.

Oct. 13 — Division I and II Team Championship at Cedarbrook Golf Course.

Oct. 18 — PIAA Western Regional, tba.

Oct. 24-25 — PIAA Championships at Heritage Hills Golf Resort, York.

Teams to watch

Division I: Favorite: Peters Township. Others: Indiana, Penn-Trafford, Upper St. Clair, Central Catholic. Defending champion: Peters Township.

Division II: Favorite: Burgettstown. Others: Greensburg Central Cathoic, Neshannock, South Fayette. Defending champions: Neshannock.

Players to watch

Latrobe junior Will Wears

Peters Township junior Tommy Nettles

Peters Township senior Jeremy Merich

Peters Township junior Trent McPherson

West Allegheny senior Garrett Browning

Indiana senior Colton Wiggins

Belle Vernon junior Kirby Manown

Bethel Park junior Brody Taylor

Penn Hills junior Evan Ruhling

Hempfield senior Ryan Tracy

South Park junior Evan Sommer

Bentworth senior Garrett Damich

Serra sophomore Max Kaminsky

Burgettstown senior Andrew Miller

Burgettstown sophomore Owen Miller

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