Pine-Richland golfer Professori swings into summer
Pine-Richland rising senior Donnie Professori is looking to tee up a summer’s worth of strong performances on the golf course, and is already off to a productive start as he finished in a tie for fourth place at the 99th Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Junior Championships at Westmoreland County Country Club this past week.
This marked Professori’s third time participating in the WPGA junior title tournament, and the third time was the charm as it was his best result in the event by a solid margin.
“Overall, I think it went pretty well. I wasn’t striking the ball well but my putting kept me in it, and I had some really good saves,” Professori said.
“I played the last two years and it didn’t really go as planned before. But this year, I’ve been sticking to a more set routine. I stick to my routine and I follow it throughout every round. My main thing is avoiding the big numbers because that’s what hurt me in the past. I’ve been working on getting myself into a groove out there.
Professori completed the distinguished two-round tournament at 3-over par, shooting a 70 on day one and a 74 on day two at the par-71 course that measures in at 6,648 total yards.
While he says he hadn’t had the opportunity to reacquaint himself with the course at Westmoreland County Country Club prior to the WPGA Junior Championships, Professori says he was able to get up to speed thanks to the help he received from his caddy, recent Pine-Richland graduate and former Rams boys golf teammate Rico Sciulli.
“I didn’t play a practice round there but I checked the course layout online beforehand. My teammate from Pine-Richland, Rico Sciulli was my caddy and he was familiar with it,” Professori said.
“He just harped on me keeping it in play and then attacking on the holes that were right for some more aggressive shots. It worked out for me. I didn’t hit anything worse than a bogey on all 36 holes.”
Professori tied with Luke Lestini for fourth place. They completed the event just two strokes behind third-place finisher Adam Lauer.
Central Catholic’s Neal Shipley claimed first with a 137 after defeating Latrobe’s Brady Pevarnik on the third playoff hole.
Kevin Lohman is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.