Deer Lakes golfers make school history at section qualifiers

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | 10:46 AM


Deer Lakes golf coach Sam Sack knew almost immediately that this season could shape up to be a special one.

“When we started practice, I said, ‘Hey, who golfed over the summer?’ ” said Sack, who is in his 10th season as the Lancers’ coach. “This team said they golfed every single day all summer long. They didn’t come to me rusty.”

The Lancers came in polished and ready to go. And, as a result, all six starters advanced to the WPIAL Class AA individual championships for the first time in school history.

“Its been an up-and-down year for us because we’re not gonna make it (to the WPIAL team championships) as a team,” Sack said. “In my 10 years, this is my best scoring team that I’ve ever had, and we’re not going to make the playoffs.”

Seniors Tyler Gozzard (41 average), Lucas Tiglio (42) and Eddie Auer (43) will be joined by junior Bryce Robson and sophomore Danny McCloskey (44) on Thursday at Sewickley’s Allegheny Country Club for the WPIAL Class AA boys individual championships.

All five golfers punched their tickets on the Lancers’ home course, Pheasant Ridge, on Sept. 20. Gozzard and Auer led the way for the Lancers shooting 82, five strokes under the cut-off score.

“It’s really special to me because I remember freshman year we were all shooting in the 40s and 50s,” said Gozzard, who also is the catcher on the Deer Lakes’ baseball team. “It’s a great achievement for all of us. For all five to qualify, that was special.”

Junior Anna Yourish (42) completed the six pack when she advanced to the WPIAL Class AA girls championships. Yourish shot an 88 at Del-Mar Golf Club on Sept. 23 to come in eight strokes under the target score. The WPIAL girls Class AA individual championships will take place Oct. 7 at Hannastown Golf Club.

“She has a great game and is very fundamentally sound,” Sack said. “She plays very sound, and I always know that I’m gonna get a good score out of her. She beats the guys a lot.”

Sack said much of the success of this year’s team comes from the fact they are all friends and hang out together.

“I think they’re all just very close friends,” Sack said. “They laugh. They joke and are very relaxed on the course. They’re not the elites in the WPIAL, but they just play hard and their scores show it.”

It’s not uncommon for the team to pile into Gozzard’s Hyundai Sonata or Auer’s Chevy Malibu and go out to eat.

“We probably do that once or twice week,” Gozzard said. “We carpool. We pack it into the car. We talk a lot of golf.”

The talk this week will be about how to handle Allegheny Country Club. Sack said none of his golfers has played the course. Deer Lakes will make the trip out to Sewickley this Tuesday for a practice round.

“I honestly can tell you that course is probably easier than Pheasant Ridge,” Sack said. “Allegheny Country Club is fairly wide open. It’s not a tree-lined course. They’ll take notes and figure out what clubs to hit off the tee.”

Gozzard already has begun to do some homework.

“I have peered at it on Google Earth,” he said. “Right now, I’m staying in the moment. I’m not trying to look forward too much.”

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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