Share This Page

Central Catholic's Rodgers claims WPIAL Class AAA crown

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 8:32 p.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Central Catholic's Brent Rodgers tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club on Wednesday at the WPIAL Class AAA Individual Championship. Rodgers won with an even-par 70. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Peters Township's Tommy Nettles tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Plum's Andrew Reynolds watches his tee shot on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Central Catholic's Hogan Cuny hits his third shot on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Blackhawk's Matt Urgitus tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Hempfield's Hunter Bagiatis watches his tee shot on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Latrobe's Chad Kissell watches his tee shot on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Knoch's Stefan Carlsson tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Pine-Richland's Kevin Kunkel tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Peters Township's Tyler Pollack tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Thomas Jerrerson's Keith Miller watches his tee shot on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Valley's Bill Clark watches his tee shot on the eighth hole on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2012, at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL Class AAA boys golf championship. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Hopewell's Brett Pompeani watches his tee shot on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Upper St. Clair's Corey Wilding tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Indiana's Matt Holuta tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Upper St. Clair's Grant Engel tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Upper St. Clair's Thomas Steve tees off on the third hole during the WPIAL AAA individual championships on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
Chartier's Valley's Gino DiPardo watches his tee shot on the third hole at Fox Chapel Gol Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Bethel Park's Brody Taylor watches his tee shot on the third hole at Fox Chapel Gol Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Latrobe's Will Wears tees off on the third hole at Fox Chapel Golf Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Bethel Park's Brody Taylor chips out of a greenside bunker to save par on the third hole at Fox Chapel Gol Club during the WPIAL AAA Individual Championships on Wednesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

Brent Rodgers is an up-and-coming name on the long-drive circuit, where he routinely launches 400-yard drives into orbit.

The Central Catholic junior used his long-bombing skills — and a quietly sharp short game — to turn Fox Chapel Golf Club into his own personal pitch-and-putt Wednesday, and that carried him to the WPIAL Class AAA title.

The 16-year-old from Cranberry carded an even-par 70, making four birdies on the same course that hosted the Champions Tour's Senior Players Championship this summer. The 36-player WPIAL field played from the white tees, but that only enticed Rodgers to rip off the head cover even more.

“This course is too short for him,” said Indiana junior Matt Holuta, who finished second at 1-over 71.

Rodgers was hitting wedges and short irons into holes on a wet course that other players needed mid-irons and hybrids to reach.

“I hit it pretty well today,” he said. “The course played fair.”

Upper St. Clair junior Thomas Steve took third at 72, Latrobe teammates Will Wears and Chad Kissell matched 74s and four players tied for sixth at 75, including last year's PIAA runner-up, Tommy Nettles of Peters Township.

Wears was 2-under through seven but shot 40 on the back nine. Holuta, who had five birdies, had two holes to play when he found out what Rodgers shot. He made par on 17 and 18.

“I'm happy to be moving on,” he said.

The top 14 players advanced to the PIAA Western Regional tournament Oct. 15 at Tom's Run Golf Course.

“I was just thinking about advancing and playing at Tom's (Run),” said Rodgers, who tied for 28th last year. “I figured, if I played good and posted a decent number, a win would be a bonus.”

Rodgers' longest drive came on the 415-yard ninth. When the ball stopped rolling, he had a 70-yard pitch left into the green.

“He was hitting 75 yards past me,” said Plum sophomore Andrew Reynolds, who was in Rodgers' group. “He's the longest player I have seen.”

A flip wedge into the short par-4 12th gave him an easy birdie, and he chipped in for par on No. 13 after missing the fairway left.

“That kind of got me going and thinking maybe I could win this,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers advanced through local and regional qualifiers to make the Re/Max Long Drive Championship, set for Oct. 22-23 in Mesquite, Nev. That happens to be the same weekend as the PIAA championships in York.

“I might have a choice to make,” he said. “I'll probably going to pick states.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or bbeckner@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.