Leechburg's Barto takes first step in WPIAL golf title defense
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Matt Barto's first step toward a second WPIAL title is complete.
Barto fired a 1-over-par 73 to post the low round of the Section 1-AA qualifier for the fourth time in four years Monday at Deertrak Golf Club.
The Leechburg senior, who was the runner-up at last year's Western Regional and PIAA championship, will have a shot at his second straight WPIAL Class AA title and fourth trip to the Western Regional when he competes in the WPIAL championship Sept. 25 at Sewickley Heights Golf Club.
“I'm a better player than I was last year, and I know that,” Barto said. “I really feel like I can one-up myself from last year every step of the way. I know I can win the WPIAL again, and I'd like to win the regional and make a run at winning states like I did last year.”
Joining Barto at Sewickley Heights are the rest of the top five finishers from the section qualifier: Kittanning junior Noah Spang (82), Freeport senior Cole Hepler (83), Kittanning junior Noah Kuntz (85) and Freeport sophomore Mickey Frazetta (85).
But Barto was the talk of the day at Deertrak not only for his round in general but also for his second shot on the par-5 ninth hole.
Perched at an elevated location approximately 270 yards from the hole, Barto rattled the flagstick with a 4-wood approach that was nearly his first career double-eagle and the first double-eagle on No. 9 in Deertrak's history. The ball rolled away from the hole, and Barto had to settle for a two-putt birdie, but that still left him with a 2-under-par 34 for his front nine.
“I feel like my experience has helped me learn to score better even when things aren't going my way. I can grind a score out better,” Barto said. “Today was all about hitting the ball well. Sometimes you end up not scoring well here even when you do hit the ball well, but everything went pretty swell today.”
Kittanning had a handful of close calls at the sectional as three of the Wildcats missed the cut by one or two strokes. Cole Davis shot an 86, and both Christian Miller and Nathan Falchetti shot 87 for the Wildcats.
“I feel like we have the most solid top five in our section,” Spang said. “I would have liked to see a couple more of the players on our team squeak in, but I'm especially glad that Noah (Kuntz) qualified. I've played with him in our matches since freshman year, and I feel like we'll both do well up there.”
The top players from the others schools represented at the sectional were Ford City's Chuck Cippel (90), West Shamokin's Cory Egley (92) and Burrell's Jordin Walker (97).
Show commenting policy
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.
- Rossi: Pirates’ post-Martin plan comes with a catch or 2
- Blue Jays’ Martin has ‘nothing but praise’ for former Pirates teammates
- Penguins need trade-deadline acquisitions to bring toughness
- Spirit Airlines to add daily flights from Arnold Palmer airport to Chicago
- ‘Big Mo’ ranks with A-K’s gridiron greats
- As tastes change, food giants try hipster guises
- Concurrent Technologies focuses on developing batteries for renewable energy, electric cars
- Unity planners OK proposal for Route 30 retail development
- Artist born without arms, legs gives Hampton students peek into her world
- Petraeus, Justice Department reach plea deal on secret info given to mistress
- CMU grad’s FunBites make healthy food appeal to kids