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Small turnout doesn't hinder competition at Cedarbrook

| Saturday, Aug. 18, 2001

Richard Versaw didn't golf in Friday's Westmoreland County Amateur Championship at Cedarbrook Golf Club, but he had a lot to do with the leaderboard.

Two days ago, Matt Gribschaw wasn't even scheduled to play in the event, but due to Versaw being unable to attend, a spot opened.

From there, the 17-year-old Penn-Trafford High School senior not only filled in, but fired a 75 and placed in the top five in yesterday's first round.

'I didn't even know about it until last week, but then it was too late,' Gribschaw said. 'I got in, and I just played well today. I ended up finishing with a real good round.'

The overall field, which at 40 golfers was the lowest turnout in several years, got off to a very shaky start. Windy conditions and fast greens led several players to finish in the mid-80s. But as the day went on, and more scores came in, they progressively got better.

In all, 14 golfers shot in the 70s, highlighted by veteran players Bob Allshouse and John Stepinsky, who each shot 73.

'It (the course) was tough out there today,' said Allshouse, who played in the same group with Gribschaw. 'My score today was as good as it could have been today. I hit 13 greens and shot a pretty consistent round. We'll see what happens tomorrow.'

Gribschaw attributed much of his success to playing with Allshouse, who is 33 years older than he is.

'At one time during the round, he (Gribschaw) told me he was only two shots behind,' Allshouse said. 'I asked him what he meant, and he said he was only two shots behind me. It worked for him. He had a strong round and hit almost all of his drives straight down the fairway. I was impressed.'

Other golfers still in contention included defending champion Mike McGuire (75), Kevin McCarthy (75), Joe Corsi (76), Harry Smith (76), Brandon Antus (77), Jeffrey Peters (77) and Jeffrey Ludwig (77).

'This wasn't as strong as field as it's been in the past,' Allshouse said. 'I don't know why more players didn't come because this (Ceaderbrook) is a beautiful course. But coming in, I thought there was probably only about 10 people who could have a chance to win.'

A former teammate of Gribschaw's on the Penn-Trafford golf team, Matt Montgomery - who was the day's early leader with a 78 - dropped off a bit because of a few poor putts.

'I really could have scored a lot better,' said Montgomery, who's on the golf team at Pitt-Greensburg.'I couldn't get any putts to go. I don't know why, but they just wouldn't fall. I had two birdies on 7 and 8, and they carried me.'

The final round begins at 9 a.m. this morning, with the leaders expected to start at 10 a.m.

'I wish we didn't have to wait,' Gribschaw said in the clubhouse. 'I'm ready to go right now. I have to make up two shots, and it's going to be exciting.'

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