Ace for Mars’ Blake Bertolo highlights first round of WPIAL 3A golf championship

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 | 10:20 PM

It was quite an exciting day for Mars senior Blake Bertolo at Champion Lakes Golf Course near Bolivar on Tuesday.

Not only did he qualify for the final round of the WPIAL Class 3A Championship on Oct. 6 at Allegheny Country Club by shooting a 5-over-par 76, but his round also included the first hole-in-one of his young career.

Bertolo was one of 38 players to advance to the final round.

Central Catholic senior Rocco Salvitti leads the tournament after shooting an even-par 71. Salvitti finished his round with an eagle 3 on No. 15 and birdies on No. 17 and 18.

Tied for second is Salvitti’s teammate, Connor Walker, and 2021 champion Nick Turowski of Penn-Trafford. Both are at 2-over 73.

Three players are tied for fourth at 3-over 74. They are Central Catholic senior Aiden Burchanti, Pine-Richland senior Blaise Masciantonio and Butler junior Hunter Swidzinski.

Bertolo said he previously came close to recording an ace.

So with a breeze blowing into his face, Bertolo took an 8-iron from 157 yards and hit a little fade.

“I knew I hit it good,” Bertolo said. “I knew I had a chance to be close.”

The ball landed 5 feet behind the cup, and with a little backspin, started rolling toward the flagstick.

“It hung on the lip for a good three seconds before falling,” Bertolo said. “It’s a moment like this that I’ve been waiting for. It was so exciting.”

Bertolo said he took a couple of deep breaths to get his focus back because he still had to complete his round.

“I had to forget about it and get my mind back,” Bertolo said. “I’ve been close a few times. I played well and hit some solid shots all day.”

Salvitti backed his section qualifier, where he shot a 7-under par 65 at Willowbrook Country Club, with another solid round.

“I’m pleased with my finish,” Salvitti said. “I love the new championship. A championship should never be 18 holes. You get a true champion with 36. I’m looking forward to the final round.”

Turowski said he’s happy with his position despite struggling with the putter at Champion Lakes.

“I made one birdie, and that was on No. 18,” Turowski said. “Even though I didn’t putt well, I pleased with the position I’m in.

“My goal is to go to Allegheny and win another WPIAL title. I started using the putter I won last year’s title with in my bag. It’s going to take a few rounds to get familiar with it again.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at

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