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Birdsfoot to host WPIAL individual semifinals today

Bill Beckner Jr.

Kiski Area junior Aaron Williams played Birdsfoot Golf Club last Sunday evening but he ran into darkness and could not finish all 18 holes. He was given a rain check — OK, a darkness check.

Little did he know, that check would come in handy after Less qualified for the WPIAL individual semifinals, which will be played today at Birdsfoot.

Williams hoped to play the course again to practice for the semis.

“I don’t know, maybe it was wishful thinking when he played there (last week),” said Kiski Area coach Rich Mottura.

“I played 15 holes and had to quit, but I got six dollars off for next time,” Williams said. “I was 1-over on the front and was playing pretty well when I left.”

Birdsfoot, located in South Buffalo just off the Slate Lick exit of Route 28, opened all 18 holes in May. The unique course still is maturing but it has received rave reviews. The WPIAL had no reservations choosing the layout to host its semifinals.

Players were scheduled to tee off at 10 a.m. this morning.

The first time Williams played the new course, he shot 73 — from the back tees (golds).

“I like the course, it is wide open,” said Williams, who was medalist at the Division I, Section 4 tournament last week at Edgewood Country Club.

The links-style Birdsfoot course will test the WPIAL’s top players. Length is important, but there are troublesome areas waiting to catch errant shots.

Birdsfoot has five sets of tees. The high school players likely will play from either the white or blue tees.

“I haven’t played it, but I have heard it’s kind of tough,” said Burrell senior Steve Less, two-time champion of Division II, Section 1. “It’s supposed to be a real good layout with some good holes.”

Less recently changed irons, but the move has not bothered his game. He shot a 5-over-par 75 to win the sectional qualifier at Hiland Golf Course.

Other local boys semifinalists from Division I are Jason Kreps, Brad Rosenthal, Andrew Wallisch and Adam Hofmann of Fox Chapel, Dave Sims of Plum, Brad Cieslinski of Highlands, Cory Brant of Knoch, Chris Lengle and Dan Steinsdoerfer of Deer Lakes.

Division II qualifiers from the A-K Valley include Casey Bartosh, Kevin Oresick and Ryan Eckman of Ford City, Jason Vercelotti of Riverview, Mike Jarosinski and John Kuruc of St. Joseph, and Bill Giesler, Adam Isenberg and Matt Krchnak of Freeport.

The top 10 players at each semifinal site advance to the WPIAL championship tournament at 10 a.m. Oct. 7 at Cedarbrook Golf Course, Belle Vernon.

Other semifinal sites are Latrobe Elks Golf Course, Uniontown Country Club and Seven Oaks Country Club. Play at those venues also is set for 10 a.m. today.

Girls finals set

Three local players will try to win WPIAL gold at the girls individual championships Oct. 7 at Cedarbrook Golf Course — Leslie Pavetto of Burrell, Margaret Pentrack of Shady Side Academy and Jenna Tallarom of Kiski Area.

Pavetto, the lone girl on the Bucs’ boys team, will make her second appearance in the finals, while Pentrack, a Fox Chapel resident, and Pallarom will make their debuts.

Pentrack is a freshman who won the Pittsburgh Field Club women’s championship this summer at the age of 13.

The girls will play the Red Course at Cedarbrook. The boys championship will be played on the Gold Course.

Team playoffs

The top two teams and ties for second place will enter the WPIAL team playoffs.

The boys team semifinals will be Oct. 14 at one of four sites — Pheasant Ridge Golf Club, Butler’s Golf Course, Donegal Highlands Golf Course and Stonecrest Golf Course.

The top two teams at each site advance to the championship Oct. 16 at Duck Hollow Golf Club.

The one-round girls playoffs begin with the championship-match Oct. 15 at Duck Hollow Golf Club.

By the numbers

Freeport coach Dave Panach posted his 200th career victory last week. Freeport also won an important match two days later against rival Burrell that pushed Panach’s career record to 201-46.

Additional Information:

VND Fab 5

1. Ford City (10-1) 1

2. Fox Chapel (9-2) 5

3. Kiski Area (10-4) 3

4. Freeport (13-5) 4

5. Burrell (11-4) 2


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