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Serra Catholic golf team bows out of WPIAL team tourney

| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 11:59 p.m.

Kevin Kaminsky stood behind the 18th green at Donegal Highlands Golf Course and eagerly anticipated the scores of his Serra Catholic players as they finished their rounds at the WPIAL Class AA team semifinals.

As golfers walked up the hill and informed him of their final tally, however, it became apparent that the Eagles weren't going to finish in the top three and move into the WPIAL finals Thursday at Cedarbrook.

Instead, Serra finished its team schedule tied with Northgate for seventh place in the 10-team field with a score of 448. The top three teams moved on and will play Thursday at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Belle Vernon in the WPIAL Class AA finals.

“I would say a little bit of it was the course because we're not used to a lot of this out-of-bounds off the tee,” Kaminsky said. “On our home course, we're (all) capable of shooting in the low 80s, but you come out to a course like this, and it's not going to happen. They don't know the course, and they don't know the greens.”

Serra made a team trip to Donegal Highlands to play the course before the semifinals, but three players — juniors Max Kaminsky, Dan Vecchio and John Strom — drove out Sunday to familiarize themselves with their surroundings. It helped two of the three; Max Kaminsky shot a team-best 78, Vecchio was second at 87 and Strom's 104 was the score that was dropped from the team total.

The top five scores in relation to par for the six players for each team in their 18-hole round counted toward the final tally. Serra Catholic's 448 was 61 shots behind first-place Sewickley Academy, which blistered the course with a 387. Neshannock finished second with 417, and Winchester Thurston (427) was third.

Max Kaminsky was one of nine golfers out of the 60 who participated to break 80.

“I was hitting my drives great, and I was on the spot with my irons,” Max Kaminsky said. “I just kept three-putting and, when I did hit anything, I just couldn't get up and down. Overall it was a decent round, but I just had some bad holes that, if I played the round again, I would probably change some things.”

Unlike the rest of his teammates, Max Kaminsky is not done playing golf this season. On Sept. 24 he tied for 13th place in the WPIAL Class AA finals and earned a spot in the PIAA western regional finals Monday at Tom's Ridge in Blairsville.

If he finishes in the top 20 at Tom's Ridge, he will earn a slot in the state championships Oct. 22-23 at Heritage Hills Resort in York. Max Kaminsky has never played at Tom's Ridge, but he will travel to Blairsville later this week for a practice round and to scope out the course.

Max Kaminsky has never played in the state championships. Though he won the WPIAL Division II title as a freshman, there was only one state championship and he had to compete against Division I players in the western regional.

This will be the first year the state will award titles in two classifications.

“I just have to go with a confident attitude, as though I shot an under-par round here, and just carry it over to next week,” Max Kaminsky said. “In my practice round, I just have to work on some things I didn't do well here and just try to stay confident, and I think that's the key.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kbarnes@tribweb.com or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1977.

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