Quaker Valley freshman edges Greensburg Central Catholic twins for WPIAL golf title

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | 8:22 PM

It was an unusual day at the WPIAL Class AAA and AA girls golf championships Wednesday at Diamond Run Golf Club in Sewickley.

There was an illness that took away the chance of North Catholic senior Maddie Smithco winning a second WPIAL title in Class AA and a third PIAA title.

The Class AAA title needed a two-hole playoff to decide a new champion.

And the Diamond Run course was tougher than some of the players expected.

Smithco’s withdrawal opened up the field for a new champion, and Quaker Valley freshman Eva Bulger held off sophomore twins Ella and Meghan Zambruno from Greensburg Central Catholic for the title.

Bulger shot a 10-over-par 82, Ella Zambruno an 11-over 83 and Meghan Zambruno a 12-over 84.

Meghan Zambruno was leading the tournament through 13 holes, but a 3-over 8 on No. 14 hurt her chances at winning a title older sister Olivia won twice (2014-15).

A double-bogey 7 on No. 17 ended Meghan Zambruno’s hopes.

“I hit my drive out of bounds on both holes,” Meghan Zambruno said. “I played well through 13 and then collapsed. Now I’ll focus on getting to the state tournament.”

Meanwhile, Bulger said she tried to play her game and not worry about the leaderboard.

“I tried not to think where I stood,” said Bulger, the niece of former Central Catholic and NFL quarterback Marc Bulger. “I wanted to know where the rest of the field stood.

“This is awesome to win, especially being a freshman. Hopefully there will be more to come.”

Bulger said she wished Smithco would have played.

A year ago, Ella Zambruno tied for ninth and lost out for the final spot at the PIAA Western Regional. She said that experience taught her a lot.

“I played well,” Ella Zambruno said. “My drives were good, and I chipped well. Putting got a little tougher at the end.”

Bulger will join her brother Aiden at the PIAA Western Regional. He placed in the top five in Class AA boys.

Class AA advanced nine of 11 golfers to the PIAA Western Regional on Oct. 15 at Tom’s Run Golf Course at Chestnut Ridge Resort in Blairsville.

The others to advance were: Burgettstown senior Gia Hooper (86), Brownsville junior Lindsay Sethman (87), Greensburg Central Catholic junior Angelika Dewicki (88), Carmichaels senior Delaney Lohr (90), Sewickley Academy senior Zoe Luther (90) and Geibel freshman Claire Konieczny (96).

In Class AAA, North Allegheny senior Isabella Walter sank a 15-foot par putt on the second playoff hole to edge Fox Chapel’s Nina Busch.

It was redemption for Walter, who missed a 3-foot bogey putt to win it in regulation.

“The putt on the second playoff hole was the best of my career,” Walter said. “I never thought I could win this, but I played a lot of golf in the spring and summer and now I’m confident I can win it all.”

Walter and Busch, close friends, hugged after Walter’s win. Busch missed a 3-foot par putt after Walter made hers.

“I pulled it badly,” Busch said. “Isabella is my friend, and I was pulling for her to finish strong. I just have to focus in the state tournament.”

The five others to advance to the Western Regional are Peters Township’s Ella McRoberts (79), Uniontown’s Adena Rugola (80), Butler’s Paige Scott (81), Upper Clair’s Tori Slagle (81) and Moon’s Rhianna Firmstone (82).

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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