WPIAL golfers dominate West Regional final
Leechburg senior Matt Barto didn't go to Wednesday's PIAA West Region Golf Championship at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville just to qualify for the state tournament.
He went there with designs on winning.
“I can't be satisfied with just qualifying,” Barto said after shooting an even-par 72 and finishing third in Class AA on a rainy day. “You have to go into events with the idea of winning. I tied for second here in 2012. I wanted to improve.”
Sewickley Academy senior Keenan Hickton and Burgettstown sophomore Cody Dobbin took the top two honors in Class AA. Hickton shot a 3-under-par 69 and Dobbin a 1-under 71.
The West Region, which is made up of golfers from Districts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, again was dominated by WPIAL golfers, who were looking to advance to the PIAA championships Monday and Tuesday at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.
Fox Chapel senior Patrick Sheerer won the Class AAA boys by shooting a 1-under 71. Canon-McMillan junior Lauren Waller took the Class AAA girls honor with a 4-over 76, and Central Valley senior Macky Fouse led the way in Class AA with an even-par 72.
The WPIAL advanced 33 individuals (10 AAA boys, nine AA boys, 6 AAA girls and 8 AA girls) to the state tournament.
“I didn't think about qualifying either,” Sheerer said. “My goal was to win here, that way if I didn't and played well, I knew I'd qualify.”
The damp conditions didn't seem to bother the qualifiers.
“The dampness may have affected some, but as long as I am off the tee, it didn't bother me,” said Fouse, who hopes to return to Beaver County next week with two gold medals. Central Valley is the defending Class AA team champion, and Fouse, who finished third in 2012, wants her first individual state title.
“That's the plan,” Fouse said. “I'm playing pretty well, and I'm looking forward to the tournament. My game has been solid.”
Hickton started his round great. Because every group was assigned to a different tee to begin the round, Hickton started on No. 7. After opening with three consecutive pars, Hickton had three birdies and an eagle over his next seven holes to go to 5-under. He chipped in from 100 yards for an eagle on No. 12.
“This is probably my best round under the circumstances,” Hickton said. “I kept the ball in the fairway and made some putts.”
It's also the first time that three golfers from Sewickley Academy advanced to the state tournament. Joining Hickton are Anthony Muscato and Sam Duerr.
“I'm used to this weather,” Waller said. “I just tried to stay consistent.”