After five qualifying rounds of throughout Western Pennsylvania the 78-player field was set for the 112th West Penn Amateur Championship at The Kahkwa Club. The golf course was in pristine condition, playing firm and fast, as players started their rounds on Monday morning.
The wind was a factor in round one but it couldn’t slow down Greg Podufal of Erie. Podufal carded a 65 in the morning to take a 4 stroke lead over Sean Knapp (69). Along with Podufal’s 65, the first round was highlighted by Artie Fink Jr.’s (T7) hole-in-one at number 3.
Second round conditions were a little different as the wind died down and the heat turned up. 65 would be a tough score to match for Podufal but he managed to turn in an even par 70 (135) to finish the first day at 5 under. Easton Renwick, who had carded a 75 in the morning round, came back in the afternoon with a 65 (140) to put the pressure on Podufal going into the final round.
The cut after two rounds was made at 151 but it was Podufal who went to the final round with a 5 stroke lead over the nearest competitor.
With weather and course conditions near perfect Tuesday morning Podufal started the final round strong with birdies at one and three to increase his lead. Renwick made a charge on the final holes but was unable to catch Podufal’s 5-stroke lead.
Podufal was the only player to finish the championship three-under par with a final round 72 and 207 total for the championship. He led the Championship from wire to wire.
Runner-up, Easton Renwick finished the final round with a 71 for a 211 total for the championship. Co-Frank Fuhrer WPGA Collegiate Player of the Year, Ross Pringle finished third with a 54 hole 212, while Rick Stimmel and William Smith rounded out the top five tied for fourth place at 213.
Greg Podufal, an Erie native, graduated from Erie Cathedral Prep High School and is going into his sophomore year at Georgetown University where plays on the golf team. During the summer he caddies at The Kahkwa Club, which he went on to say helped him tremendously this week.
Podufal was the first collegiate golfer to win the Championship since 1996 when Brian Tutich claimed the trophy while playing golf at N.C.State. He will now forever be linked to many great Western Pennsylvania amateur golfers whose name is engraved on the W. C. Fownes Trophy.