Shady Side Academy’s Warden captures WPGA Junior title in a playoff

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021 | 6:18 PM


It wasn’t the way Weston Warden would have preferred to win the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association’s 101st Junior Championship Tuesday, but he’ll take it.

Warden, a senior at Shady Side Academy, used a conservative bogey on the first playoff hole to edge Plum’s Wes Lorish.

The 36-hole event began Monday and had to finish Tuesday because heavy rains stopped play during Day 1.

Most golfers who were out of contention for the title didn’t complete their rounds, but a dozen players did. Some of the golfers who didn’t return were playing in a Tri-State Section PGA Isaly’s Junior event at Shannopin or at the WPGA Open qualifier at Birdsfoot.

Warden and Lorish finished 5-over-par 149. Penn-Trafford’s Chase Crissman and Franklin Regional’s Michael Wareham were also in contention with a few holes left, but each had a couple bad holes to finish. Crissman finished at 7-over 151, and Wareham was at 9-over 153.

“Winning this means a lot,” Warden said. “I played in the state amateur qualifier at Nemacolin and qualified, but I had a scorecard error and I had to withdraw. That hurt a little bit because I worked hard for that.

“This was the next tournament, and winning this felt good to get it back. I’m happy how I’ve been playing, and if I keep playing like this things will continue to go well.”

During the playoff hole, both golfers missed the fairway. Warden was in a fairway bunker to the right of the fairway, and Lorish was in the rough.

Warden laid up in front of the green after a tree branch knocked down Lorish’s shot.

“I don’t love winning with a bogey,” Warden said. “I feel I played pretty well and deserved the win.

“I had a shot in from the bunker, but I didn’t really want to go long. I didn’t want to hit a flier out of the bunker and go over the green. I got on in three and two-putted.”

After hitting the tree, Loris’s third shot landed in a greenside sand trap, but he didn’t get up-and-down for bogey and two-putted for a six.

Warden said he was pleased how he finished the first two rounds. His starts, however, weren’t how he planned.

“I had a really bad start on the front nine of the second round.” Warden said. “But I made a couple birdies on Nos. 13 and 16. I kind of got it back on the back nine. I was 1-over on the back nine of the second round and 1-under during the first round. So I was happy how I finished the rounds.”

Warden has more golf events planned this summer: Isaly’s, AJGA, West Penn and Hurricane Junior events. He said the events will help him prepare for bigger events this summer.

He’s also undecided about his college future.

“I’m talking to a few schools,” Warden said. “I may take a gap year. It depends how I’m playing. I have time to make a decision.”

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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