Underdog Brian McDonnell of Eden Christian claims WPIAL Class 2A golf title

Thursday, September 30, 2021 | 7:18 PM

Eden Christian senior Brian McDonnell wasn’t a favorite coming into Thursday’s WPIAL Class 2A golf championship.

He placed fifth in his section and was in the middle of the pack in the pairings at Allegheny Country Club.

But at the end of the day, it was McDonnell’s name sitting atop the leaderboard.

McDonnell shot a 5-over par 75 to edge Quaker Valley junior Jackson Bould, who shot a 6-over 76.

Because McDonnell was in the middle of the pack, he stood around refreshing his phone to see if anyone on the course would tie him. No one did.

“It was nerve-racking,” McDonnell said. “It’s been a crazy year. It’s a plus.”

This is the first time that McDonnell has qualified for the PIAA championship, which will be played at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York on Oct. 18-19.

He is one of 18 WPIAL players that qualified. There is no West Regional this season.

“I’ve been working with my pro at Olde Stonewall,” McDonnell said. “I wouldn’t be here without his instruction and help.”

McDonnell said he kept things simple. He tried not to get ahead of himself.

“I was trying to stay in the present and not worry about what would happen,” McDonnell said. “Everything was steady. Nothing was crazy off. I had a couple big saves (on Nos. 9 and 16). I was able to recover after a few bad shots.”

Bould said the wind on the back nine made things a little tougher.

“The wind picked up, and I had a putting funk for a couple holes,” Bould said. “I just had to keep my composure and keep going forward.

“I didn’t look at the scores; I just tried to make the best score I could on every hole. The main things was just qualifying. I knew it was within my capabilities to win, and I had a lot of opportunities do to so and I didn’t capitalize on my chances.”

Tying for third place were Frazier sophomore Nixen Erdely and Elizabeth Forward junior Logan Monzak, each at 7-over 77. Four players tied for fifth place: Brownsville sophomore Daniel Sethman, North Catholic junior Ethan Ellis, Northgate/Avonworth sophomore Kai Carlson and Riverside senior Logan Greer at 8-over, 78.

Erdely said he was able to hold it together after a tough front nine. He shot a 1-over par 36 on the back nine.

“I came here wanting to win,” Erdely said. “My front nine wasn’t very good. Two bad holes or I could have gone pretty low. I thought I played pretty well.”

Three players were forced to withdraw from the tournament, including low qualifier Adam Marcellus of New Brighton. The other two were Fort Cherry’s Sam Schuman and Bishop Canevin’s Ryan Saginaw.

WPIAL officials said two players were ill and the other was dealing with a leg injury.

The others to qualify for states were Quaker Valley freshman Ethan Dai (79), Northgate/Avonworth sophomore Brandon Sapolsky (80), Derry junior Hunter Jurica (80), Carmichaels sophomore Liam Lohr (80), Eden Christian sophomore Luke Gronbeck (81), Sewickley Academy freshman Severin Harmon (81), Sewickley Academy senior Will Duggan (81), Sewickley Academy junior Joey Mucci (82), Quaker Valley senior Adam Tanabe (83) and Neshannock sophomore Matt Morelli (83).

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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