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Five area golfers qualify

| Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008

ROSTRAVER TOWNSHIP -- Five area golfers advanced to the WPIAL semifinals at Monday's Division 1 Section 2 Qualifier at Cedarbrook Golf Course.

Four of the successful players are from Belle Vernon Area: Bo Lustig, Tyber Lustig, Kyle Naden and Dave Johnson. The other is Ringgold's Alex Allen.

Bo Lustig, who took medalist honors with a 75 on Cedarbrook's par-72 Gold Course, and his brother, Tyber (76) both qualified for the second time, as did Allen (81).

However, for Naden (80) and Johnson (82), moving on to the semis is a first-time experience.

And for Johnson, it may be a round he will not soon forget.

Going into the qualifier, the 48 participating golfers were told in advance only those who shot 82 or better would advance.

Johnson, who started on the back nine, was faced with having to birdie the final hole to get in.

"I knew I had to have a birdie to qualify," said Johnson.

He hit a 3-wood off the tee of the tight No. 9 fairway. From 120 yards out, he hit a knockdown wedge to within five feet of the hole.

"I was shaking," he said as he described his clinching putt. I was real nervous, but I tried to stay focused and committed to my line."

Bo Lustig, a sophomore, was 1-under par going into the final four holes. However, he made bogey on all four holes to finish 3-over.

"I was playing solid golf until the last four holes," he said. "I wasn't hitting greens and when I did, I three-putted. I fell apart at the end ... but at least I qualified."

Tyber Lustig was worried going into the event because he said he had been struggling with his game.

"I was a little worried, but I pulled it all together today," he said. "The greens were smooth, the fairways were real nice to play on and that helped."

Allen, a senior, made the cut by one stroke, but admitted that he played a little too cautiously in the end.

"I knew with two holes left I had five strokes to play with and I played conservatively just to get in," he said.

Allen made double-bogey on the final two holes.

"Before that, I played great," he said. "I don't think I ever putted as well as I did today. I made a lot of clutch putts."

Naden, a junior, said his score would have even been better had he made some clutch putts.

"I could have made a couple more putts," he said. "But I'm happy. I did what I had to do."

The local qualifiers were among a group of nine players who shot 82 or better. They advance to Monday's semifinals, which will be held at Willowbrook Country Club in Apollo.

BVA golf coach Jay Lustig, whose school hosted yesterday's tournament, said he was pleased that four of his six golfers qualified.

"It's satisfying, especially since we don't play this course that much," he said. "I had four kids qualify and I had another kid miss by just one shot."

BVA's Nolan Russell shot 83 to miss the cut by one, as did Ringgold's David Marchewka and Rico Rodriguez.

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