Upper St. Clair’s Steve praises junior golf tournaments after win at Hannastown
There were two reasons why Upper St. Clair’s Jack Steve played in Monday’s Tri-State PGA Isaly’s Junior Golf Tournament at Hannastown Golf Club.
He said the tournament helps players learn how to compete and improve against strong players.
And with the U.S. Amateur Sectional qualifier being held at Hannastown and Totteridge Golf Course on July 23, it was chance to get a practice round in on the course.
Steve shot an even-par 70 to win the Hannastown stop in the 16-18 age division. He was three-shots better than Ryan O’Neil of Charlotte, N.C., who is spending the month at a golf camp at Kiski School near Saltsburg.
Willie Hoover of Punxsutawney shot a 74, and Franklin Regional’s Ethan Yohe placed fourth with a 77.
Steve, who has family in Greensburg and Indiana, will attend IUP in the fall and play for the golf team.
He found the Hannastown layout challenging, maybe not as challenging as Laurel Valley Golf Club, where he played Sunday after returning home from vacation Saturday to Jamaica.
“Recently, I haven’t been scoring well,” Steve said. “My putting hasn’t been as great as I want it to be, so I wanted to get a few more decent length putts to roll in, and I got a few to roll in. I still struggled with the speed, but I think if I can get that done, I can compete in some later tournaments.”
He has the West Penn qualifier Thursday.
“If I can get through that, I’ll get a chance to play at Oakmont,” Steve said. “So I want to be able to putt well and hit the ball solid.”
Steve said if it was for the Isaly’s tour, younger players wouldn’t get a chance to learn from competing in tournaments.
“It’s one thing to just practice,” Steve said. “You can’t beat the challenge of competing in tournaments.
“I’d be at home sitting around doing nothing. It’s so much better coming out and playing in a competitive tournament. Competitive rounds of golf feel so much different. You can’t model that in practice. You have to come and play to realize what its like.”
Franklin Regional’s Ethan Yohe, who finished fourth, agrees.
“I’m satisfied with fourth place, but not happy how I hit the ball,” Yohe said. “The benefit from playing in these tournaments is the experience of competitive golf. Making putts and hitting shots under pressure.”
Yohe will attend Penn State-Altoona in the fall. He recently finished second to teammate Palmer Jackson at the Westmoreland County Junior Amateur at Latrobe Country Club.