Field can’t catch Moon’s Justin Scally at WPIAL Class AAA golf championships

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | 5:59 PM


Moon senior Justin Scally posted a low score early at Tuesday’s WPIAL Class AAA boys golf championship.

Then he sat around for an hour and a half, waiting to see if his 2-under-par 69 at South Hills Country Club would hold up. It did, as he watched Shady Side Academy senior Adam Lauer miss a potential tying 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

Lauer finished second at 1-under, and Central Catholic sophomore Rocco Salvitti was third at even.

“This means a lot,” Scally said. “I’ve been playing since I was 2 and playing tournaments since I was 7.”

Because of the coronavirus, the PIAA reduced the field for the state tournament. Only the top 10 finishers advance to York for a one-day tournament Oct. 19.

Others to advance were Upper St. Clair senior Jack Urban (3-over), Fox Chapel senior Aiden Oehrle (4-over), Franklin Regional senior Chuck Tragesser (4-over), Mars sophomore Blake Bertolo (5-over), Central Catholic junior Carter Pitcairn (5-over), Franklin Regional senior Michael Wareham (5-over) and Upper St. Clair senior Scott Jordan (5-over).

Oehrle avoided a playoff by chipping in from the fairway for eagle on No. 18.

Scally used three consecutive birdies on the back nine to kick-start his round, but instead of breezing to a win, he made it interesting with a double bogey on No 17.

Scally birdied No. 11 by sinking a 25-foot putt, and that shot gave him the jolt he needed.

While other golfers were battling the gusty winds, Scally was gaining confidence and didn’t let the winds bother him.

“That putt got me going,” Scally said. “I got confidence in my putting. I was feeling it after three birdies on a row.”

He parred No. 12 by making a 4-foot putt and then bombed a drive on No. 13 and ended up draining a downhill 10-foot putt.

“I was playing with confidence,” Scally said. “I played a practice round here on Sunday, and I decided to shoot away from trouble. I think I only hit three fairways (Tuesday).”

He added a birdie on No. 16 to go to 4-under, but he lost two strokes when he hit into the sand on No. 17.

“This was a big change from last year when I lost in a playoff,” Scally said. “My dad (Phil Scally Jr.) told me to play with confidence. Play like you’re the best player because you know you are.

“I’ve been practicing forever. I kept myself in play, and I trusted my swing. The key was hitting the ball in the right spot.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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