By Mike Dudurich, Freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM – Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich
Much of the attention regarding the 115th West Penn Amateur was focused on past champions like Sean Knapp, who had won the tournament seven times and David Brown, a three-time past champion.
Not nearly as much of the spotlight was on Easton Renwick of DuBois and that turned out to be a mistake.
The 22-year-old senior-to-be at West Virginia University did his best American Pharaoh imitation, going wire-to-wire to win the historic event to win his fifth WPGA title. He was the only player in the field to finish 54 holes with an under-par score at four-under.
The Amateur was played at St. Clair Country Club for the first time since 1945 and it stood up to today’s players quite well. It is one of western Pennsylvania’s best layouts and was in great shape for the championship.
Erik Bertrand made a nice run at Renwick, posting 73-74-70, but he finished tied with Tommy Leech (73-71-73) for second, five shots behind.
2012 champion, Greg Podufal of Erie finished fourth and Matt Gurska of Hermitage was seven shots out of the lead in fifth place. Gurska posted the only round in the 60s in the final round, a 69.
Renwick will be the captain of the WVU golf team this fall. He began his college career at Coastal Carolina, played two years there, took a year off and transferred to Morgantown last year. This season will be the team’s first to compete in the Big 12, something Renwick is looking forward to.
“I can’t wait for the Big 12. I’m really excited,” he said.
U.S. Open sectional qualifying almost pitched a shutout against golfers with Western Pennsylvania connections, but Sam Saunders spoiled it.
The grandson of Arnold Palmer finished as co-medalist with Michael Putnam in the Columbus, Ohio sectional, putting up a pair of 66s to get himself into the U.S. Open next week at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Wash.
Otherwise Monday was a day of disappointment for others who had made it to the sectionals from this part of the state.
Nathan Smith (72-74), Michael Larkin (75-83) and Kevin Shields (77-WD, back issues) participated at the Purchase, N.Y. site; Steve Wheatcroft (73-70), Ryan Sikora (75-75) and Mitch Mercer (79-79) and Zach Ross (81-83) were at Rockville, Md.; Dennis Munko (77-71) also competed at Columbus while Bob Friend (66-73) was at the Springfield, Ohio site.
The son of Mt. Pleasant native Steve Boshdosh, Sean, competed at the Rockville site and posted 71-74. Sean will be a senior at the University of Maryland this fall. His father is a nationally renowned golf instructor in Maryland.
Tom Watson had been the Golf Pro Emeritus at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. for nearly 10 years. His contract expired in March and Greenbrier owner Jim Justice opted not to renew it, citing the expense involved and Watson’s inability to spend as much time at the resort as Justice would like.
That role was filled last week when Lee Trevino was hired to be the new Pro Emeritus at the resort. He will be in residence at the resort during the summer months when he’ll teach golf clinics and perform other honorary duties.
Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, W.Va. has a new course for the new season. Well, actually not a new course, but a course within the existing Palmer Course.
It’s called the King’s Course and plays approximately 2,600 yards from a unique set of tees. The course allows youth, beginner and even skilled players to play the big course from a much more comfortable length.
Don’t be surprised if other courses try to follow suit as a way to get more youngsters involved in the game, youngsters who will hopefully replace the aging senior golf clientele in existence today.
Jordan Spieth has posted birdies on 250 of the 468 holes he’s played on the PGA Tour this year. That may have something to do with the fact that of the 60 rounds he’s played this year, 26 have been in the 60s.