Peters Township grad Bruce wins 2nd consecutive WPGA Junior title
By: Paul Schofield
Monday, July 9, 2018 | 8:45 PM
Hunter Bruce admitted he hasn’t been playing as well as he expected this summer.
But the 2018 Peters Township graduate and future Penn State golfer found his game Monday at Wildwood Golf Club.
Bruce captured his second consecutive Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Junior Championship by shooting a 1-over-par 143 at the 98th annual event. He is the 12th golfer to win consecutive titles — the first since Venetia’s William Miller won three straight between 2003-05.
“This feels pretty special winning this for a second time, feels good,” Bruce said. “My short game was the key. I chipped and putted very well.”
He joins a group that includes the late Arnold Palmer (1947-48), Bobby MacWhinnie (1999-2000) and J. Denny St. Clair (1928-29), the first golfer to achieve the feat.
Bruce edged first-round leader Chris Joson, who finished with a 3-over 145. Jason, a 2018 Upper St. Clair grad, shot a 2-under 69 on the first 18, but consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 2 and 3 on his second 18 had him scrambling.
Bruce had three birdies (Nos. 1, 14 and 17) and two bogeys (Nos. 6 and 18) on his first 18. On the second 18, he had two birdies (3 and 12) and four bogeys (2, 4, 10 and 11).
“It was really firm out there, and I hit my approach shots on line,” Bruce said. “I was able to get up and down all day.”
Bruce was at Pinehurst last week and wasn’t pleased with how he played.
“I played OK at Pinehurst, but I haven’t played as good as I should be,” Bruce said. “There are so many great golfers around here. A bunch of guys who will be playing Division I. You have to play well.”
He had a key par save on No. 16 during the second round when he hit his drive into the 14th fairway, chipped to the front of the green and got up-and-down for par.
Joson had a great start, but tailed off on the second 18.
After consecutive double bogeys to begin the second round, he regrouped and finished 1-over on his final 15 holes.
“I played well in the first round, I made a lot of putts,” Joson said. “I took advantage of my opportunities.
“During the second round, after my slow start, I fought back after the two doubles. I was happy with a second-place finish. I was happy with the way I played.”
Joson said the key was forgetting about his mistakes.
The shot of the day came from Fox Chapel’s Amani Dambrosio, who aced No. 3 during his second round. He used a 9-iron on the 163-yard hole.
“I didn’t hit it all day, but I hit a good one and it took one hop and went in,” Dambrosio said.
It was his third career hole-in-one. The first two came in 2017 for the Fox Chapel junior.
Rounding out the top five were Central Catholic’s Neal Shipley (146), Sewickley Academy’s John Aber (147) and Franklin Regional’s Palmer Jackson (147).