Three bound for WPIAL golf finals
Most players were wearing three layers of clothing during a chilly, wind-whipped Monday at Birdsfoot Golf Club in South Buffalo Township.
A short-sleeved Highlands golf shirt and vest were good enough for freshman Brad Cieslinski during the WPIAL boys individual semifinals.
"I play in this weather a lot, I play in the winter, I like it," said Cieslinski, who shot a 2-over-par 74 to finish third and advance to the WPIAL championship tournament Oct. 7 at Cedarbrook Golf Course, Belle Vernon.
"This weather is better for me for some reason," Cieslinski said. "I think I had somewhat of an advantage because of that. Playing in those type of conditions makes you concentrate harder."
The top 10 finishers qualified for the WPIAL finals. The top 16 players there advance to the PIAA championships Oct. 20 at Heritage Hills and Springwood golf courses in York.
Two other local players also will represent the A-K Valley in the WPIAL finals. Junior Aaron Williams of Kiski Area was a spot behind Cieslinski after an 8-over 80, which included a pair of nine-hole 40s on the elevated, fast-maturing Birdsfoot layout.
Senior Brad Rosenthal of Fox Chapel carded an 81 including a 39 on the front side.
Fox Chapel did not have a player in the WPIAL finals last season.
Cieslinski, whose game is as well-rounded as a seasoned upperclassman's, birdied holes 13 and 15. He played a controlled game, using his driver just seven times. He hit nine fairways and nine greens in regulation.
"I played the course for the first time last Wednesday," Cieslinski said. "I knew it well enough to shoot the score I shot. The greens were nice and quick. I love quick greens. I putted pretty well."
Williams, meanwhile, will make a second consecutive appearance in the finals.
"It was really cold enough to begin with, then the wind started kicking up," Williams said of the conditions. "It was a little better on the back nine.
"I am really looking forward to getting a chance at states again. I missed it last year because I messed up on a few holes. That's all it takes."
Williams also made a pair of birdies, but double-bogeyed two holes and needed a total of 36 putts.
"In the last round, I hit the ball bad an putted well," said Williams, who didn't carry a driver Monday. "Today, the opposite was true."
The welcome-to-fall-golf conditions got the best of some of the areas top players. Among those missing the cut were Steve Less of Burrell (91), Bill Giesler of Freeport (96) and Jason Vercelotti of Riverview (95).
Matt Krchnak of Freeport, who shot a 6-under 30 earlier this season at nearby Buffalo Golf Course, just missed the top-10 with an 84.
Junior Dan Steinsdoerfer of Deer Lakes shot 39 on his first nine holes, but came home in 48 for an 87.
Junior Doug Stadler of North Catholic tied Jeff Varga of Gateway for medalist honors at 1-over 73.
Junior Drew Ellis of Carlynton defeated junior Jake Pleczkowski of North Catholic on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to take the 10th spot.
WPIAL boys golf individual semifinalsTop 10 qualify for WPIAL Championship Oct. 7 at Cedarbrook Golf Course, Belle Vernon
1. Doug Stadler, Jr. North Catholic 73
Jeff Varga, Jr. Gateway 73
3. Brad Cieslinski, Fr., Highlands 74
4. Aaron Williams, Jr., Kiski Area 80
Brett Bergman, Jr., Shady Side Academy 80
Jeff Skubick, Sr., Penn Hills 80
7. Bill Freyvogel, Sr., Central Catholic 81
Brad Rosenthal, Sr., Fox Chapel 81
Steve Lyon, Sr., Gateway 81
10. Drew Ellis, Jr., Carlynton 82
Alternate: Jake Pleczkowski, Jr., North Catholic 82
Failed to qualify (local players)
T-13. Matt Krchnak, Jr., Freeport 84
T-16. Kevin Oresick, So., Ford City 85
Jason Kreps, Sr., Fox Chapel 85
Corey Brant, Sr., Knoch 85
Andrew Wallisch, Fr., Fox Chapel 85
T-20. Dave Sims, Sr., Plum 86
T-22. John Kuruc, Jr., St. Joseph 87
Dan Steinsdoerfer, Jr., Deer Lakes 87
T-28. Casey Bartosh, Sr., Ford City 90
Chris Lengle, Sr., Deer Lakes 90
T-31. Steve Less, Sr., Burrell 91
T-35. Jason Vercelotti, Sr., Riverview 95
37. Bill Giesler, Sr., Freeport 96
38. Adam Isenberg, Sr., Freeport 99
39. Mike Jarosinski, Fr., St. Joseph 112
Ryan Eckman, Jr., Ford City WD