Driver keeps Penn Hills golfer from reaching state tournament goal

Sunday, October 17, 2021 | 11:01 AM

A couple of days before the WPIAL Class 3A girls golf championships, Penn Hills junior Lucy Brayton had a plan laid out for how to get to the state tournament.

Playing a practice round at Hannastown Golf Club, Brayton shot an 9-over par 81. That score, Brayton figured, should punch her ticket to the next round.

On the day of the event, Brayton started slow on the back nine before rallying on the front nine to shoot an 80.

The cutline for the top seven golfers ended up being 76, leaving Brayton four strokes short of the mark to move on. Brayton finished in 13th place, tied with Seneca Valley’s Lihini Ranweera.

South Fayette’s Marissa Malosh won the event with a 72.

“I was confident after I shot an 81 that shooting between an 80 and 82 would get me to states,” Brayton said. “I didn’t even get into a playoff. I was annoyed with that. I did have a good recovery on the front nine.”

Brayton earned her two birdies at holes No. 4 and No. 7. What kept her out of position to shoot a lower score was a tough day off the tee.

“The weak part of my game was my driver,” Brayton said. “I was popping my tee shots up in the air. All the other people were 100 yards ahead of me with their tee shots. My driver was terrible.”

Penn Hills coach William Berkshire agreed her driver had an off day but was otherwise pleased with other aspects of her game.

“It was an off day,” Berkshire said. “The rest of her game was solid. She dropped a couple of putts here and there, but also made some amazing putts. She lost a stroke or two on her short game, but also struck a couple of shots really tight. It wasn’t one thing. It didn’t come together all at once.”

Brayton’s experience at WPIALs has her eager to get back to the golf course. She has now made the district championships in each of the past two seasons and has a desire to reach the state tournament.

Brayton plans to play in events throughout the spring and summer to help her take the next step. She has played at events in the Women’s Golf Association of Western Pennsylvania to help prepare her for the high school season.

“I’ve been able to play on some amazing courses like the Fox Chapel Field Club, Longvue, the Butler Country Club,” she said, “and I want to play in a couple of Tri-State events as well to keep me focused.”


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