South Fayette golfer emerging as one of WPIAL’s top players

Sunday, November 1, 2020 | 11:01 AM

Summer camp is usually a time for kids to do some hiking, swimming, biking and perhaps create a craft or two.

Summer camp for 9-year-old Caroline McConnell is where she learned to play golf.

“I started with the sport at a summer camp out at Scally’s,” McConnell said. “I have been playing more competitively though since I was 11.”

Now a junior at South Fayette High School, McConnell is crafting a name for herself as one of the top golfers in the district.

In the 2020 WPIAL Class AAA girls golf individual championships at Oakmont Country Club, McConnell finished second by two strokes behind Mt. Lebanon junior Lindsey Powanda. McConnell shot a 7-over-par 82.

“I was excited with my second-place finish individually,” McConnell said. “To be able to play Oakmont was a great experience. Because of our team’s success and how close our matches had been, I felt like I was playing some of my best golf under more pressured situations going into the individual playoffs this year. I am happy with my finish and score. Lindsey and I have been competitors and friends since we were younger, and she played an awesome round at that tough course.”

McConnell was one of five WPIAL golfers to qualify for the PIAA Class AAA individual state girls golf championships Oct. 20 at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York.

In an event shortened to a one-day, 18-hole competition instead of the normal two-day, 36-hole state finals, McConnell shot a 6-over-par 78 to finished tied for ninth place in a 26-golfer championship field.

“At states, I felt like I played pretty well, too,” McConnell said. “Unfortunately, I just had two rough triple bogeys on the front nine, but I was able to rebound with a two-under on the back nine. I still left some shots out there on the back nine, too, but overall, I was happy with my performance.”

Like the district championships, McConnell was the second-best finisher from the WPIAL, one stroke behind Powanda.

When asked to pick out her favorite moment from a very strong junior season, McConnell didn’t hesitate to mention the historic opportunity her and fellow qualifiers had to golf for WPIAL gold at one of the top courses in the country.

“One of my favorite highlights from this season had to be the opportunity to play a competitive round at Oakmont,” she said. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity because Oakmont is such a prestigious course. It was cool to think about all of the great players who played the same holes that I was playing and the amazing shots that they hit.”

It was a silver season for McConnell. Not only did she finish second in the WPIAL AAA individual championships, she helped South Fayette finish in second place behind Peters Township in the Class AAA team golf finals.

“I am definitely excited for our team next year with everyone returning,” McConnell said. “I think that if all of my teammates continue to put in the hard work, we have a lot of potential. We just have to take it day by day when the season starts.”

McConnell is the eldest of her team’s top five finishers from the team tournament with Marissa Malosh, Ally Brennan, Maddie Webber and Paige Postufka all in their sophomore seasons.

The links have become McConnell’s passion, and she does not play any other high school sport. She hopes she can enjoy the activity she learned at summer camp eight years ago beyond her days at South Fayette.

“I plan to play golf in college after I graduate,” McConnell said. “I am just now in the process of contacting coaches and looking at possible colleges.”


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