Gateway golfers eye qualifiers
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The first step of the individual journey to the boys PIAA golf championships will be Tuesday at 9 a.m., as players from Gateway, as well as Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional, Kiski Area, Penn Hills, Plum and Woodland Hills, will compete at the Section 4-AAA Qualifier at the Pittsburgh Field Club.
A maximum of six players from each team will be entered in the tournament.
Those placing in the top five, including ties, at the qualifier automatically will advance to the semifinal round.
Also, those shooting the designated target score — within 10 shots of the United States Golf Association course rating for the Field Club — also will advance.
The WPIAL semifinals for Class AAA will be at one of three sites — Youghiogheny Country Club in McKeesport, Cranberry Highlands Golf Club in Cranberry Township or Hannastown Golf Club in Greensburg — on Sept. 24 at 9 a.m.
Last year, the Section 4 qualifier was at the par-72 Meadowink Golf Course, and Gateway's Bobby Guiliani and Stephen Reber added to their junior seasons with scores that allowed them to advance to the semifinals.
Guiliani tied for first with a 5-over score of 77, while Reber tied for second with a 78.
Gateway played Franklin Regional on Monday at Meadowink and suffered a 207-214 loss to the Panthers.
Guiliani led the team with a 40, while Reber shot a 44. Also figuring into the team score was senior Ian Kirkpatrick (41), sophomore Ryan Skladany (44) and freshman Collin McCune (45).
The Gators captured their third section win of the season with a 223-244 victory over Penn Hills last Thursday at Green Oaks Golf Club in Verona.
Gateway was slated to play Woodland Hills on Tuesday at Murrysville Golf Course, and the match was to be completed past the deadline for this week's edition.
Gateway sophomore Johnna Beehner will begin what she hopes is another journey to the state tournament with play next Wednesday at the individual Section 3-AAA Qualifier at 10 a.m. at Vandergrift Golf Club.
Vandergrift is a nine-hole course, and each golfer in the competition will play the nine holes twice with a different tee placement from the first nine to the second time through.
The top five finishers, including ties, will advance to the WPIAL championship, set for Hillcrest Country Club in Lower Burrell, on Sept. 30.
Also, those who shoot a score within 20 strokes of Vandergrift's course rating at the qualifier will move on.
Last year, Beehner got off on the right foot at the section qualifier with a third-place finish at Saxonburg Golf Course.
Beehner carded a 38 Monday at Murrysville Golf Course in Gateway's 208-217 loss to Franklin Regional, and she averaged a 39.7 in the team's first six matches of the season.
Monday's match was completed just before the sky opened up and rain, thunder and lightning pounded the course.
Junior Julia Hyzy added a 57, and freshmen Cassandra Kokal shot a 60.
Senior Abbi Semnisky didn't golf Monday because of an injury.
Beehner carded a 3-under score of 34 in Gateway's 205-216 loss to Norwin last week.
Because of a boys golf match on the Murrysville Golf Course at the same time, Beehner started her round on No. 7.
She bogeyed the hole but bounced back to birdie No. 8. She finished with three more birdies, including ones on No. 5 and 6 to close out her round.
“It really showed her mental toughness and ability to do well after a tough first hole,” Gateway head coach Dennis Persin said.
“It wasn't a surprise that everything came together like it did.”
Gateway was scheduled to golf Penn-Trafford on Wednesday at Irwin Country Club. The match was to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition.
The Gators will golf against Shady Side Academy on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Fox Chapel Golf Club.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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