WPIAL golfers dominate PIAA Western Regional
Every golfer has a story about his or her round, and none are alike.
That was the case Monday at the PIAA Western Regional at Tom's Run Golf Course at Chestnut Ridge Resort in Blairsville.
While the stories were different, one thing was similar — the WPIAL golfers dominated the action.
Of the 48 spots available for the PIAA tournament, which begins Monday at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, 33 will be taken up by golfers from the WPIAL. Brashear's Dan McNeil was the only City League golfer to advance.
Yough senior Alex Patricio had a wild round, which included eight birdies, including six straight, and a triple-bogey. But Patricio played well enough to finish with an even-par 72 and take medalist honors in Class AA.
“I didn't have many pars,” Patricio said. “I should have been in the 60s, but I didn't chip well. My putting was really good. I just don't work enough on my short game.
“It seemed pretty easy. I was making all my putts. I felt like I was going to birdie every hole.”
Leechburg junior Matt Barto finished two shots behind Patricio.
He said he was ready to chuck his putter after his first six holes. He was 5-over par and in danger of posting a big score. Then, he found a lucky charm, a bull frog, sitting between the 13th and 14th holes.
“It was just sitting there, so I touched it with my putter to see if it was alive,” Barto said. “Then, I proceeded to birdie three of the next five holes. I said this random bull frog is my good luck charm.
“I started playing better after I saw the frog. I wanted to win, but I'm so happy to make states again.”
North Allegheny senior Kevin O'Brien wasn't so accurate with his driver. His first drive of the day (No. 4) ended up in a hazard. But he kept his composure and finished with the best score of the afternoon, a 1-over 71, to win the Class AAA event.
“It was a lot of scrambling,” O'Brien said. “My chipping and putting got me through the round. I didn't drive it straight, especially on the first hole, but I was still able to make par. And then, I birdied the next hole, and I was on my way.”
Some of WPIAL's other top finishers in Class AAA were Peters Township's Tommy Nettles (73), Indiana's Matt Holuta (74) and Upper St. Clair's Thomas Steve (75).
Canon-McMillan sophomore Lauren Waller was the Class AAA girls medalist with an even-par 72. All six spots went to WPIAL golfers, including Hempfield's Janista Numpho-Frank, the WPIAL champion.
The Class AA girls winner was North East junior Megan Moylan, who shot 77. Five WPIAL players advanced, including three from Central Valley — Macky Fouse, Maddy McDaniel and Marissa Sudar.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-836-5095.