Gateway's Beehner takes second at section qualifier, ready to battle at WPIALs
Last year at 3 Lakes Golf Course in Penn Hills, Gateway's Johnna Beehner placed fifth at the WPIAL individual girls championship and advanced to regional competition.
She was the highest-finishing freshman in the field.
Beehner again is in the field this year, and the Gators sophomore will try to bring home WPIAL gold on Monday when the area's top female golfers take to the course at 9 a.m. at Hillcrest Country Club in Lower Burrell.
“It looks like a pretty strong field,” Beehner said.
“I just want to go in and play my game. I am pretty excited. Now, I know what to expect, and I have a lot of confidence.”
Beehner played the Hillcrest course on Sunday, and she also played there two weeks ago.
“I wanted to see what it's all about and prepare the best I can,” she said.
Five of the seven regional qualifiers from the WPIAL tournament last year were seniors. The other returning player in that top seven — Canon-McMillan's Lauren Waller — will be a favorite again this year.
Waller finished first at the Section 2 qualifier last week.
Beehner took runner-up by three strokes to Shady Side Academy sophomore Casey Morrow at the Section 3 qualifier at Vandergrift Golf Course.
Vandergrift is a nine-hole course, and the field played the same nine holes twice with different tee placements each time.
Beehner shot a 78, one stroke better than Penn-Trafford senior Casey Doran.
“I had a couple unlucky breaks, but I felt I did pretty good overall,” Beehner said.
“I just played it how I did in the practice round, and everything turned out well.”
Beehner shot a 38 on the front nine and a 40 on the back nine. She had three birdies during the round.
“Johnna hit the ball well and had a plan that she stuck to,” Gateway head coach Dennis Persin said.
“We are all quite satisfied with her finish. We look forward to her competing in the WPIAL finals.”
Monday's WPIAL individual tournament will consist of all the qualifying golfers from Class AAA and AA.
The top scoring golfer from AAA and AA will be declared the AAA and AA champions, respectively.
The top eight from AA and top seven from AAA will qualify for the Western Pennsylvania individual qualifying round with qualifiers from five other districts. The regional tournament will be Oct. 15 at Tom's Run Golf Course at Chestnut Ridge in Blairsville.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412- 388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.