Central Catholic's Rodgers claims WPIAL Class AAA crown
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Brent Rodgers is an up-and-coming name on the long-drive circuit, where he routinely launches 400-yard drives into orbit.
The Central Catholic junior used his long-bombing skills — and a quietly sharp short game — to turn Fox Chapel Golf Club into his own personal pitch-and-putt Wednesday, and that carried him to the WPIAL Class AAA title.
The 16-year-old from Cranberry carded an even-par 70, making four birdies on the same course that hosted the Champions Tour's Senior Players Championship this summer. The 36-player WPIAL field played from the white tees, but that only enticed Rodgers to rip off the head cover even more.
“This course is too short for him,” said Indiana junior Matt Holuta, who finished second at 1-over 71.
Rodgers was hitting wedges and short irons into holes on a wet course that other players needed mid-irons and hybrids to reach.
“I hit it pretty well today,” he said. “The course played fair.”
Upper St. Clair junior Thomas Steve took third at 72, Latrobe teammates Will Wears and Chad Kissell matched 74s and four players tied for sixth at 75, including last year's PIAA runner-up, Tommy Nettles of Peters Township.
Wears was 2-under through seven but shot 40 on the back nine. Holuta, who had five birdies, had two holes to play when he found out what Rodgers shot. He made par on 17 and 18.
“I'm happy to be moving on,” he said.
The top 14 players advanced to the PIAA Western Regional tournament Oct. 15 at Tom's Run Golf Course.
“I was just thinking about advancing and playing at Tom's (Run),” said Rodgers, who tied for 28th last year. “I figured, if I played good and posted a decent number, a win would be a bonus.”
Rodgers' longest drive came on the 415-yard ninth. When the ball stopped rolling, he had a 70-yard pitch left into the green.
“He was hitting 75 yards past me,” said Plum sophomore Andrew Reynolds, who was in Rodgers' group. “He's the longest player I have seen.”
A flip wedge into the short par-4 12th gave him an easy birdie, and he chipped in for par on No. 13 after missing the fairway left.
“That kind of got me going and thinking maybe I could win this,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers advanced through local and regional qualifiers to make the Re/Max Long Drive Championship, set for Oct. 22-23 in Mesquite, Nev. That happens to be the same weekend as the PIAA championships in York.
“I might have a choice to make,” he said. “I'll probably going to pick states.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Steelers notebook: Chiefs pass rush to test Steelers
- Stock market makes biggest gain in 3 years
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Developer reveals Buncher plans for 400 Strip District apartments, townhomes
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- Navy developing robotic fish drone
- Judge delays January trial on Penn State sanctions
- 2 longtime Pittsburgh nonprofits agree to merge
- Penguins’ Crosby details his mumps experience
- Hays ‘eagle cams’ reinstalled for 2015 nesting season
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin