Superstitions follow golfers into PIAAs
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Golfers can be just as superstitious as baseball players, if not moreso.
It could be a lucky ball marker — a coin with a memorable year — or a certain way of labeling a golf ball that puts a player's mind at ease.
Or, maybe it's an old, rusted putter that finds a home in the bag because it starts mysteriously rolling in knee-knocking four-footers.
Bottom line: If it works, keep using it.
For Leechburg junior Matt Barto, magic came in the form of a ... bull frog?
“I love frogs and reptiles; one time I found a turtle on the course and I put it in my cart until the end of the round,” said Barto, one of four local players competing Monday and Tuesday in the 36-hole PIAA championships at Heritage Hills in York.
Last Monday, Barto saw a bull frog between holes 13 and 14 at Tom's Run Golf Course during the PIAA West Region qualfier.
He touched the frog and proceeded to birdie three of the next five holes on the way to a 72 to advance to his second PIAA championship.
“I touched it then birdied the next hole; I was the only one to birdie that hole,” said Barto, who only uses golf balls with the No. 1 on them. “I just started playing really well after that. It was pure coincidence, but I admit, I am superstitious.”
Barto was scouring the web this week looking for a frog headcover.
“I stay regimented in what I do,” he said. “If I go to the range, I make sure that, if I hit two or three good shots, I put that club away immediately. If I only hit 15 balls, I'm ready.”
Valley senior Bill Clark, the only Alle-Kiski state qualifier in Class AAA, also has some quirky habits. He is a baseball player, so it seemed natural to carry those habits over to golf.
“I am very superstitious,” Clark said. “I have to mark my ball with a quarter, heads-up. And I have started to pop my collar. I've been doing that since regionals. I wear the same Valley hat and same glove.
“I just want to be loose and have fun with (states).”
Barto is having his finest prep season. After winning his third straight section title, he won the WPIAL championship and added the runner-up at regionals. Now, his sights are on a state title.
For the first time, the PIAA will crown a separate Class AA champion.
“I feel a lot more comfortable this year,” he said. “Last year, I was antsy and overwhelmed. My whole goal was to make states. I got so caught up in each round. I got burned out and lost my energy. This year, I am more comfortable with the pressure.”
Clark tied for low honors in sectionals, tied for 12th at the WPIAL finals and tied for seventh at regionals.
“I feel like I can do some good things if I am putting well,” Clark said. “I putted well at Tom's Run so, hopefully, that can continue.”
Kittanning senior Jordan Klodowski also will compete in Class AA, as will Freeport's Audrey Clawson. A freshman, Clawson is in the girls' field. She is the second girl from Freeport to qualify for the state tournament, joining Kelsey Harned (2000).
Klodowski is the first from Kittanning to advance this far.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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.
- LaBar: WWE not backing down from controversy
- LCB, Duquesne University police recover rare bourbon in illegal sale
- Kennametal plans plant closings, job cuts in fallout from oil and gas decline
- Stat dropoff, road struggles have Penguins seeking consistency
- 3 in Westmoreland charged in painkiller ring
- Rossi: In Super city, everything but football matters
- Beloved North Side gardener gets new truck, paid for by her neighbors
- Driver leaps from sliding truck just before it topples down hillside in Fawn
- Slumping Pitt keeps chin up
- Heyl: Ice-covered anomaly floating in the Allegheny River presents mystery
- Pitt’s 2015 schedule includes 5 road games in 1st 7 games