Fox Chapel golfers turn in solid performances at WPGA Amateur
The Fox Chapel golf program has been known to produce talented golfers, and over the past week a few of them got to test themselves at Oakmont Country Club for the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Amateur Championship.
Michael Marisco (2016 grad), Andrew Friend (’18), Gregor Meyer (’19) and Scott Bitar (’20) were just four of the current and former Foxes who took on the storied golf course.
Although the first place prize went home with Connor Schmidt, a golfer based out of Nemacolin Country Club, all four Fox Chapel golfers turned in solid performances.
Bitar and Friend, a sophomore at Central Alabama, were the highest finishers. They both shot 16-over and finished tied for 24th with two other players.
“The first two days were hard, so I just walked in there on the last day and I think I just played a little looser,” Friend said. “I was disappointed in the way I played to start off the week, and I just wanted to go out there and throw up something respectable and have fun with my dad on the bag.”
Back in October, Bitar shot a 78 at Oakmont Country Club during the WPIAL Class AAA individual championship, which was good enough for a sixth-place finish. He got off to a good start Monday and shot an opening-round, 4-over 75. He followed with scores of 78 on Tuesday and 76 on Wednesday.
The front nine was Bitar’s friend. He shot 36 on Monday and Wednesday, but got off to a rough start Tuesday and had five bogeys in the first six holes.
Friend might have been a little more comfortable than most of the golfers who were playing. He was one of three players with Oakmont listed as their home course; just a year ago, he carded a 68 at his home course, so he was feeling good heading into the week.
“Walking out onto your home golf course feels nice,” Friend said. “You have a lot more familiarity with the course, and I felt like I could win the tournament. But the back nine beat me up. I wish I would’ve just played a little more relaxed in those first two rounds.”
With 11 bogeys and two double bogeys, the Central Alabama golfer shot 6-over Monday and Tuesday but saved his best round of the week for Wednesday and shot 4-over 75. With a different approach for his final round, Friend had one birdie, three bogeys, one double bogey and shot a 1-over back 9 to finish off his round.
Marisco, who plays at Gannon and made a trip to the NCAA Division II championship this past year, finished tied for 32nd after shooting rounds of 79, 76 and 80. He was up and down throughout the week, carding at least two birdies in every round, but he also had 21 bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey. Given the difficulty of the course and his unfamiliarity with it, Marisco was happy with his tournament play.
“I think it went pretty well, all things considered,” Marisco said. “It was only the second time I’ve played the course so I wasn’t too familiar with it. But it’s not a course where you are going to go out and shoot a bunch of pars. You’re going to bogey, and it’s a course that just eats up your mistakes, so you have to be pretty precise, and I feel like I did that pretty well this week.”
Marisco became the first Golden Knight to reach the National Championship since 2015 this past year. He is hoping a performance like this becomes a motivator for next season.
“It’s definitely something I’ll be able to use down the line,” Marisco said. “I’ll be playing in a couple more tournaments the rest of this summer to just kind of stay sharp and post some good scores and hopefully build up some momentum going back into next year.”
Meyer was the only golfer in the group not to make it past the cut on Tuesday. He put together an overall score of 15-over between the first two rounds and just missed the cut. It was an unfamiliar feeling for the recent Fox Chapel grad.
As a sophomore, Meyer took Oakmont Country Club by storm and shot a 1-under 70 to claim the WPIAL Class AAA individual championship. In October, Meyer placed fifth in the WPIAL championship, with a final round score of 77.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .