Quaker Valley’s Eva Bulger repeats as WPIAL Class AA champ

Thursday, October 1, 2020 | 6:36 PM

Eva Bulger has athletic pedigree.

The sophomore golf standout from Quaker Valley is the niece of former NFL quarterback Marc Bulger. Her aunts are former Oakland Catholic and West Virginia basketball stars Kate and Meg Bulger.

She already seems comfortable being in the spotlight and handling championship pressure.

All of that runs in the family, too.

The easy-going Bulger saw a seven-shot lead shrink to three midway through the back nine Thursday but maintained her composure and held off Greensburg Central Catholic’s Meghan Zambruno to score a repeat victory in the WPIAL Class AA individual championship at Allegheny Country Club.

“I focused on one shot at a time,” said Bulger, a member at Allegheny, which played tough with windy conditions and fast greens. “I didn’t really think about anything else but my target, what pins to go after and what to be cautious of.”

Bulger finished with a 4-over-par 77.

With birdies at Nos. 6, 7, 9 and 10, Bulger had it to 2-under and appeared headed for cruise control. But she bogeyed No. 12 and followed with consecutive double bogeys on 13 and 14 to suddenly tighten the gap.

“After I had my two doubles, I had no idea where I stood,” Bulger said. “I thought it could be anyone’s game. I just still tried to focus on one shot at a time and play in the present tense.”

Zambruno, who had a steady back nine, birdied the par-5 18th to get within two of Bulger, who won by a single shot last year over Ella Zambruno, Meghan’s twin, who finished third this year with an 82.

“She played really well,” Meghan Zambruno said. “I knew when she was 1-under after nine I had to focus on my game. I knew (with the course conditions) she had to do something bad at some point. But I had to play my game.”

GCC claimed four of the top five spots.

It was another relatively close finish in the Class AA tournament. Since the WPIAL began awarding championships in two classifications in 2010, the Class AA champion had won by an average of 2.6 strokes.

Four of the previous six tournaments before Thursday were decided by one shot.

There is a key postseason change this year for WPIAL players.

The PIAA eliminated the Western and Eastern regional tournaments, so Thursday’s top six finishers advance straight to the PIAA championship Oct. 19 at Heritage Hills Resort in York.

The PIAA made the decision last week.

The state tournament will be different: 18 holes on one day instead of 36 over two days.

Additional girls state qualifiers are: Angelika Dewicki of GCC (90), Izabela Aigner of GCC (92), and Claire Konieczny of Geibel (95).

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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