Greensburg Central Catholic’s Aigner captures WCCA girls golf title

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Friday, September 9, 2022 | 5:24 PM


She played her drive down the left-center of the fairway of the 428-yard 15th hole and had a clear look at the reachable par-5.

Izzy Aigner then lasered her distance, grabbed her 7-iron and took dead aim from 166.

When her Bridgestone golf ball with a purple “IA” Sharpied on it came to rest about a foot from the hole, the Greensburg Central Catholic junior knew she was about to get into red numbers.

She was beginning to feel like it might have been her title to lose.

Aigner tapped in for eagle on the way to a tournament-record 1-under-par 36 and a six-shot victory at the sixth annual Westmoreland County Coaches Association girls golf championship Friday afternoon at Champion Lakes Golf Course in Bolivar.

“I knew being in the 30s was a good score and had a chance to win,” said Aigner, who finished fourth last year with a 44 on the front nine. “I have worked on the mental part of my game. I used to get mad at myself after a bad shot. Now, I am not as worried about hitting over water or playing a tough shot.”

And there were plenty of shots over water, around bunkers and inside tree lines on a tough back nine.

Aigner, the top returning finisher from last year’s county tournament, won without a birdie. She had one bogey — offset nicely by the eagle — and seven pars, to top a 57-player field.

Another girl nearly played her ball on the 17th, which runs parallel with 15, but GCC assistant coach Scott Statler noticed the girl was about to address the ball and told her it was Aigner’s. Any confusion was avoided and Aigner coasted home.

“I was 110 yards out from really tough rough,” Aigner said. “I landed short but hit a good chip and had like an inch for par. Luckily, I didn’t have to take a drop if that girl had played my ball.

“I was inside the top five last year and I was hoping to do that again. You always want to improve.”

Hempfield sophomore Milana Yannascoli finished second with a 42, and freshman Gianna Johnson of Franklin Regional was third (43) on a tight leaderboard after Aigner’s top spot.

“I shot 52 last year so I was 10 shots better,” Yannascoli said. “My coaches gave me a new driver to try and I hit it well. I played better this year.”

Yannascoli made a 40-foot birdie putt on her opening hole.

The field played through thick fog for their first few holes.

Aigner joins Olivia Zambruno (2016), Meghan Zambruno (2018) and Angelika Dewicki (2019) as county champions from GCC.

“I am very thankful I was able to play with (twins) Meg and Ella (Zambruno) the last two years,” Aigner said. “I improved by playing with them.”

Allison Tepper of Mt. Pleasant was fourth with a 44, Mia Iezzi of Hempfield took fifth at 45, and a scorecard playoff broke a four-way tie at 46 between Saylor Kaminski of Penn-Trafford, Amanda Woods of Ligonier Valley, and Franklin Regional teammates Cam Alexander and Ali Boyle.

Mia Snyder was the fourth top-10 finisher from Franklin Regional and the final medalist with a 47.

Alexander and Boyle carded back-to-back top-10 county finishes.

Franklin Regional made it back-to-back team titles with a score of 182, while two-time WCCA champion Greensburg Central Catholic (198) was the runner-up for the second year in a row.

Penn-Trafford and Mt. Pleasant tied for third at 202, and Hempfield was fifth (210). Hempfield started its program in 2021.

“It’s tough because you never know what some teams, like GCC or Mt. Pleasant, are going to have,” Franklin Regional coach Kane Daignault said. “Our thought process is, yes, we should win this again. But we only beat Penn-Trafford by four and seven strokes in matches this year. They’re right there, too.

“It’s awesome to see our girls win again. Four in the top 10 is tough to beat. You do that and you’re probably going to win.”

Franklin Regional (9-0) has won 28 section matches in a row and is chasing a third straight section title.

The Panthers were fourth in WPIAL Class 3A last year. They are seeking their first WPIAL title since 1976.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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