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Plum golfer more prepared for 2nd trip to WPIAL golf finals

| Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, 12:04 a.m.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Plum's Andrew Reynolds watches his tee shot on the 12th hole at the Pittsburgh Field Club during WPIAL Sectional qualifying on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013.

Andrew Reynolds doesn't consider himself a household name in WPIAL golf. The way he sees it, he should wear one of those “Hi my name is ___” stickers to postseason tournaments.

But he likes it that way.

“Yeah, I'm kind of under-the-radar,” said Reynolds, a Plum junior. “Nobody is paying much attention to that kid from Plum.”

Reynolds, though, has more championship experience than any of the four other local qualifiers that will tee it up Wednesday in the WPIAL Class AAA championship at Diamond Run Golf Club in Sewickley.

Reynolds qualified as a sophomore and placed 29th.

“Last year I tried looking ahead too much and would put a number on my score,” Reynolds said. “I keep my head better now and I'm more relaxed.”

Much like Plum's last golf champion, unassuming Adam Stawski who won the title in 2008, Reynolds quietly goes about his business.

“My game has been good the last couple of weeks,” he said. “My confidence is pretty high and I think I can go low.”

Reynolds finished tied for second in the semifinal tournament at Youghiogheny Country Club, shooting 3-over 75.

He has played many rounds with Leechburg senior Matt Barto, the two-time defending WPIAL Class AA champion. Both are members at Willowbrook Country Club.

“We played all the time in the summer,” Reynolds said. “He hits it a little longer and his short game is really good. I guess my all-around game is good. When he's on, he's on.”

Like Barto, Reynolds' motivation comes from between his ears.

“I don't have a lot of people telling me things,” he said. “I just keep pushing myself. The more I push myself, the more I motivate myself. Sky's the limit.”

Fox Chapel has three first-time qualifiers, all seniors, including Jordan Alfery.

A co-champion of last year's section tournament, Alfery believes this could be his year.

“Being able to play under pressure isn't a problem me at all any more,” Alfery said. “I prefer the pressure. I seem to play way better under tough and pressure-filled conditions.”

Alfery said there is a sort of comfort zone having his teammates — seniors D.J. Diethrich and Pat Sheerer — in the field.

“Having teammates in the finals is certainly a gift,” he said. “I surely wish the best for my teammates, but my main goal is to make it to the next round and experience regionals and states.”

Kiski Area senior Tyler Paunovich also is seeking his first PIAA appearance.

The top 14 finishers advance to the PIAA Western Regional Tournament Oct. 16 at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville.

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