Fox Chapel boys golf places 4th at NHSGA National Invitational

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Thursday, August 6, 2020 | 1:40 PM


When the Fox Chapel boys golf team headed to Pinehurst this week to compete in the NHSGA National Invitational at Pinehurst Resort they had one thing on their mind and that was to compete.

After three days of team competition, the 2019 PIAA Class 3A champions did just that. With a team score of +45, the Foxes placed fourth out of 27 teams and finished just six strokes out of first place behind Utah (+39), Florida (+40) and Virginia (+44).

“It truly was the trip of a lifetime,” Fox Chapel coach Bryan Deal said. “Very seldom after you win a state championship do you ever get to compete again as a group and it’s a special group. There’s a bond with these guys and to be able to share that again and all of us to be together, especially through the trying times that we’re going through with no spring sports, it was a special experience for everyone.”

With four seniors and a junior, the Foxes won their first PIAA Class 3A championship this past fall, shortly after winning their first WPIAL team title since 2006. They showed that talent throughout this week at Pinehurst, competing against some of the best teams in the country.

2019 individual WPIAL Class 3A champion Scotty Bitar led the way for the Foxes with a total score of 8-over, tying for the 27th best score at the tournament. Fellow seniors Amani D’ambrosio (+9), Matt Mattioli (+10), and Will Livingston (+40) all contributed to the team’s final score. Aidan Oehrle was the lone junior competing in the tournament for the Foxes and finished with a score of 18-over after shooting a 1-over, 73, on Wednesday.

“We didn’t play our best, but we hung in there throughout the week and we had a pretty good finish,” Bitar said. “It could’ve been better obviously, but we definitely enjoyed ourselves that’s for sure.”

The Foxes played a different course during every round earlier, playing Pinehurst No. 6 on Monday, Pinehurst No. 8 on Tuesday and Pinehurst No. 9 on Wednesday. Their best round of the tournament came on Wednesday as they shot a 293 on the par-72 course, which was tied for the third-lowest score of the day.

It came the day after the Foxes had turned in a team score of 316, their worst of the week, so Deal was happy that his guys were able to bounce back for a solid score on the final day.

“We were six shots out and that just shows how close we actually were,” Deal said. “We just didn’t get it done on day two and it kind of put us in a hole, but I couldn’t be prouder of how we came back and played on day three.”

Fox Chapel competed as Team Pennsylvania and challenged themselves against state champions from around the country, including the 2019 champion from Virginia who placed third. Competing against that level of competition will only prepare the seniors, and one junior, for life at the next level.

“It was a good experience and the level of competition from this tournament to college is tremendous, but I think it’s a good experience for sure,” Bitar said.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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