Four area golfers advanced in WPIAL Class AAA and AA sectional qualifying play on Monday.
Three from Greater Latrobe, including Mario Battaglia, Colten McCutcheon and Jarred Stein moved on during the WPIAL Section 1-AAA qualifier at Hannastown Golf Course.
Derry Area’s Aidan Bushey also advanced during Monday’s WPIAL Class 2-AA qualifier at Madison Club.
Bushey will compete in the WPIAL Class AA Individual Championships on Thursday, Sept. 26 at Allegheny Country Club.
Battaglia, McCutcheon and Stein all advanced to the WPIAL Class AAA semifinals, set for next Monday at Hannastown Golf Course or Willowbrook Country Club. The three Wildcats seek to qualify for the WPIAL Class AAA Individual Championships, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Fox Chapel Country Club.
“I am thrilled to have three advancing, but I feel for the others,” Greater Latrobe coach Scott Reaugh said.
“For Mario, Jarred and Colten, they have really been the leaders of the team all season. One of them is typically our low medalist in matches, so I really expected them to qualify. They will have to play better next week in the semifinals, but they are all capable of making it to the finals.”
Reaugh called the weather conditions near perfect on Monday, adding that there were fair pins, as the course played difficult with firm, fast greens that presented a challenge for the players.
Stein captured the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Individual Golf Championships last week on a scorecard playoff, after tying with teammate Darick Hrtyanski at the top of the leaderboard with a 3-over-par 75. Stein qualified on Monday with an 80, shooting a 42 on the front nine before rebounding with a 38 on the back nine.
“I wasn’t hitting the ball very well early on, but I was able to work a couple of things out as the round went on,” Stein said. “I really played some pretty good golf on the back nine, and hopefully will be able to do so again next week in the semifinals.”
It was a similar round for Battaglia. He shot a 45 on the front nine, including a pair of sevens to turn it around with a 37 on the back nine.
“I started hitting greens and giving myself some chances at birdie on the back,” Battaglia said. “It was really nerve-wracking coming down the stretch, but I am thrilled to be moving on.”
McCutcheon said he struggled off the tee, but he used his irons to recover while also hitting a few good putts. McCutcheon shot a 39 on the front nine and a 42 on the back end of the course.
“I was really playing very conservative, trying to avoid any big numbers,” McCutcheon said. “It is tough playing to a target score, so I am happy to be moving on and will look to be more aggressive next week.”
Jack Shearer, Hrtyanski and Owen Ostroski all missed the cut. Shearer carded an 82 while Ostroski shot an 87, and Hrtyanski came in at 92.
“For Jack, he was so close, needing to par 17 and 18, but making a bogey on the difficult 17th hole,” Reaugh said. “For Darick and Owen, they are seniors, so this was their last shot at this.”
Bushey fired an 80 for Derry Area to qualify during Monday’s Section 2-AA qualifier. He shot a 39 on the front nine and a 41 on the back nine for an 80, finishing second to GCC’s Ben Ritenour, who fired a 74 for the low score of the afternoon.
“I couldn’t be happier for Aidan,” Derry Area coach Tracey Smeltzer said. “He has worked hard for four years to get to this point in his career. He has been a four-year starter for us, and I truly believe he could advance if he played the way he is capable, and he did that.”
Ryan Bushey just missed the cut with an 81. He shot a 41 on the front nine and a 40 on the back.
Ashton Beighley contributed a 94 while Hunter Jurica shot a 96. Antonio Hauser finished one stroke back with a 97 while Devin Sheffler shot a 104.
“I’m proud of all of my kids,” Smeltzer said. “Ryan just missed the cut, and we took three freshmen with us for the experience and they all broke 100. That’s a good sign for the future of this program.”
Mount Pleasant’s Tim Pisula also qualified with an 80. Teammates Carson Kirshner (89), Dalton Swartz (90), Steve Brown (90), Kyle Jones (97) and John Wagner (100) also competed for the Vikings.
Ritenour was the lone Greensburg Central Catholic qualifier. James Zakrwski (85), Daniel McMaster (88), Angelo Bonessio (94), Christian Petroy (105), and Wade Boyle (111) also competed for the Centurions.