Three western Pennsylvania juniors advance to national championships: From the desk of Mike Dudurich

Posted July 1, 2016 - 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

Caroline Wrigley with USGA Women's Committee member Courtney Myhrum

The WPGA has retained Mike Dudurich to write a blog for its website. The opinions and observations contained within are his own and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the Association.

Western Pennsylvania will have a representative in the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J. July 18-23.

Caroline Wrigley of Wexford put up a round of 34-37-71 at Quicksilver Golf Club in Midway on Thursday to grab the second spot available at this qualifier. Yuka Saso of the Phillipines was a shot better at 70.

Wrigley made a hat trick of birdies (3-4-5) and one on the seventh to shoot 34 on the front. She opened the back nine with a double bogey, but negated that with an eagle on the 15th.

There’s a possibility another girl from the area could make the championship. Olivia Zambruno of Mt. Pleasant finished with a round of 75 and is the first alternate. She got off to a rough start with three straight bogeys and then finished the front with a double bogey for a 41. Things got much better for Zambruno on the back nine. She made three birdies and only one bogey for a 34.

Four other girls from the Pittsburgh competed but did not qualify: Katie James of Pittsburgh (77); Marissa Balish of Allison Park (78); Hannah Conroy of Cheswick (79); Jessica Meyers of Wexford (82).

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Brady Pevarnik & Louis Olsakovsky with WPGA Championship Committee chair Rud VanHorn

The story was a little different in the boys U.S. Junior Amateur held simultaneously with the girls.

Western Pa. advanced a pair of golfers, Brady Pevarnik of Latrobe posted rounds of 68-74—142 and Louis Olsakovsky of Upper St. Clair had 74-71—145.

That duo will make the trip to the Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn. July 18-23.

Zac Ziolkowski of Oakdale, with his 74-73-147 total, is the second alternate.

Twenty-two others competed in the qualifier but didn’t advance.

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When Nathan Smith gets it going, he can put up low numbers in a hurry.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have that sort of week at the Northeast Amateur this week.

After making seven birdies in his first two rounds of 70, the birdies flew away.

In his last 36 holes, Smith made just three birdies, while shooting rounds of 71 and 71.

Six-over par at Wannamoisett Country Club wasn’t good enough this week in the 55th Northeast Amateur. Smith finished in a tie for 49th.

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A funny story took place Wednesday afternoon at the awards ceremony following the Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational at the Pittsburgh Field Club.

Before Fuhrer presented David Bradshaw of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., the guy who won the tournament in a playoff with a hole-in-one on the 18th hole at the Field Club, he recognized the efforts of Knapp, a three-time winner of the event.

Fuhrer said he called Knapp and told him he was getting older and he was really rooting for him to be the low amateur. Fuhrer told Knapp, one of the best amateurs in the history of amateur golf in western Pennsylvania, that he did everything he could to make him successful.

“You’re the only amateur in the field,” Fuhrer said.

That’s classic Frank Fuhrer, the most amazing philanthropist for golf in this area.

Knapp, by the way, finished in T11.