WPIAL golf champs survive regional, advance to state tournament

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | 8:17 PM

There were no trophies handed out at the PIAA West Region Golf Championships on Tuesday at the Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort’s Tom’s Run course in Blairsville.

Golfers lucky enough to finish in the top three received a medal.

The biggest prize of the season awaits them in a week at the PIAA golf championship at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York. The individual tournament is Oct. 21-22, and the team championship Oct. 23.

All four WPIAL champions advanced to the state tournament. The WPIAL had 48 golfers in the event, and 26 moved on.

WPIAL champion Scott Bitar of Fox Chapel was one of eight golfers in the boys Class AAA field to advance. Bitar tied for third with Central Catholic freshman Rocco Salvitti, each shooting a 1-under-par 71.

Bitar said he hopes the two-day event at states will play to his advantage.

“I want to win, but the biggest goal was just to advance,” Bitar said. “I had a rocky start. I three-putted two greens on the front nine and hit the wrong ball (two-shot penalty) on the back. I still played well enough, and my putting improved on the back.”

The winner was Erie Cathedral Prep junior Evan Rowane, who shot 4-under 68.

The other six from the WPIAL to advance were Upper St. Clair senior Nathan Piatt, who placed second with a 2-under 70, Pine-Richland senior Donnie Professori (72), Franklin Regional junior Chuck Tragesser (72), Upper St. Clair junior Scott Jordan (73), Penn-Trafford junior Alex Turowski (73) and Shady Side Academy junior Adam Lauer (74).

“I didn’t feel much pressure,” Turowski said. “I just wanted to play well and qualify for states. I’ve played this course and I felt comfortable the entire round.”

Tragesser was playing well but heard the cut might be low. So he buckled down and finished strong.

“I played steady and tried to put together a solid round and I did.” Tragesser said. “Even though I hit a ball out of bounds in No. 18, I knew if I parred out, I’d be OK.”

The WPIAL Class AA boys winner, Sewickley Academy senior J.F. Aber, also advanced. He shot 4-over 76. The AA boys medalist was North East junior Isaiah Swan, who shot a 1-under 71.

“I lost my focus on the final three holes, and I wasn’t playing with confidence,” Aber said. “I had to grind it out. Hopefully, things will change next week.”

The top WPIAL golfer in the boys competition was a girl. Carmichaels junior Remmey Lohr shot an even-par 72.

Chartiers-Houston senior Jack Hritsko placed third with a 73. Others to advance were Riverside senior Skyler Fox (74), Neshannock senior Liam McCann (76), Quaker Valley senior Aidan Bulger (78), Shenango junior Tommy George (78), Chartiers-Houston senior Spencer Kane (79) and Sewickley Academy junior Navin Rana (79).

Deer Lakes senior Will Meyer missed the cut after shooting 83.

In Class AAA girls, North Allegheny senior Isabella Walter, the WPIAL champion, and Peters Township junior Ella McRoberts tied for first after shooting 5-over 77.

Fox Chapel sophomore Nina Busch, who lost to Walter in a playoff last week, shot 83 and missed the cut.

Quaker Valley freshman Eva Bulger, the WPIAL Class AA champion, advanced by shooting an 82. The winner of the event was North East sophomore Lydia Swan, who shot a 2-over 74.

Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Meghan Zambruno, who finished second with a 79, had a bittersweet day. She shot a 7-over 79 and finished second, qualifying for a second-consecutive state tournament. She was pleased that senior teammate Angelika Dewicki qualified after shooting 85.

Her sadness was watching twin sister Ella lose in a playoff and miss the individual tournament. Ella will still be heading to York for the team tournament. Greensburg Central Catholic is the returning champion.

“I have to get her back up and focused for the state tournament,” Meghan Zambruno said. “I just wanted to play good and get to states. I hit my drives, especially on the long holes.”

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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