South Fayette's long wins WPIAL golf title in playoff
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If South Fayette senior Corey Long had it his way, he would have won his first WPIAL Class AAA golf title with a par or birdie.
It turned out all Long needed was a bogey on the fourth playoff hole to defeat Indiana senior Matt Holuta Wednesday at Diamond Run Golf Club in Sewickley.
Long and Holuta finished the 18-hole event each with a 3-under-par 67 to force the playoff. It was almost a three-way playoff but Upper St. Clair senior Thomas Steve had a bogey five on No. 18 and finished third with a 2-under 68.
Steve's teammate Grant Engel, a senior, was fourth at 1-under, while Fox Chapel senior Patrick Sheerer and Central Catholic junior Nick Cuny tied for fifth at 1 over.
A total of 14 golfers advanced to the PIAA Western Regional Oct. 16 at Tom's Run Golf Course at Chestnut Ridge Resort at Blairsville.
Long made a charge with three birdies in his final four holes to force the tie. He birdied Nos. 15, 16 and 17.
“I played well during the actual round,” Long said. “I didn't have a bogey. I tried to play steady and played under control. I knew birdies would come. To close out with three birdies is pretty exhilarating.
“I had no idea what the other golfers were doing. When I was on No. 18, I had no idea where I stood.”
Long and Holuta went head-to-head in the sudden-death playoff. Both bogeyed No. 1, pared Nos. 2 and 3, which set up the deciding hole.
Both golfers hit drives down the middle on No. 4. Long was 180 yards away and his second shot landed on the back of the green, rolling 5 feet into the rough.
Holuta, who was 165 yards away, miss-hit his shot and his ball rolled into a water hazard 50 yards short of the green.
He took a drop and then three-putted for a seven. Meanwhile, Long got on in three and two-putted for a bogey.
“I wasn't comfortable over the ball and I re-gripped in my backswing,” Holuta said. “I'd love to have the second shot back on the first playoff hole. I had 142 yards in and I flew the green with a wedge and it ended up in the trap after I watched him miss the green with his second shot.
“I played well (seven birdies), but I had a couple bad bogeys. It would have been great to win the WPIAL championship, but now my sights are set on the state tournament.”
Long said he knew Holuta, who accepted a partial scholarship to Rutgers, was a good player.
“It turned into a match-play contest,” Long said. “I felt relaxed after the tee shot in the playoffs.
“(His) shot into the hazard was fortunate for me, but you really don't want to win like that. But it's a win. I can't describe the feeling of winning the WPIAL title. It hasn't sunk in yet.”
Long said his next goal is to reach the state finals, to be played Oct. 21-22 at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.
Also advancing to the West Regional were Allderdice junior Sasha Lobel (72), Hempfield junior Javon Trout (73), Indiana sophomore Kyle Grube (74), Uniontown senior Luke Wallace (75), Peters Township senior John Verner (76), Mars senior Josh Bartley (76), Shady Side Academy sophomore Jack Katarincic (77) and Baldwin junior Zach Taylor (77).
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.
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