Renwick wins shootout for 113th West Penn Open Championship in playoff
By Mike Dudurich • July 26, 2017
Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.
BUTLER – In 2016, Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson had one of the great final-round duels in the history of the British Open. Stenson was superb, shooting 63. Mickelson matched him shot-for-shot most of the day, finishing with 65. Stenson won the title, getting his first Claret Jug as both he and Mickelson put on a wonderful shot-making exhibition.
Wednesday, in the final round of the 113th West Penn Open Championship at Butler Country Club, Easton Renwick and Mike Van Sickle put on a show that was somewhat reminiscent of the Stenson-Mickelson shootout.
Renwick and Van Sickle, along with Dan Obremski and Beau Titsworth, began the day in a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard. But that quickly shook itself out, mainly a result of Van Sickle making three birdies in his first five holes.
Renwick took that jolt, making birdie on the first two holes and the ninth, and the two headed to the back nine even at six-under par. That birdie at nine was the first of three in a row for Renwick, who also birdied the 15th to get to the 18th hole tied with Van Sickle.
Van Sickle won the Open in 2013 and 2015.
But when Van Sickle stuffed his approach shot to about three feet from the cup and Renwick missed his birdie chance, it looked like Van Sickle was going to become a three-time winner. But his putt slid just off the right side of the cup, forcing a playoff.
Both made birdies on the first playoff hole and went to the second extra hole. This time it was Renwick who stuffed his approach shot on the second playoff hole. After Van Sickle missed a long birdie chance, Renwick rolled in his four-footer and won his first West Penn Open as a professional.
“It was a good day,” Renwick said with a hint of a smile. After the winning putt dropped, Renwick held a brief, but emotional celebration greenside with his mom, dad and grandpa.
“My grandpa follows me everywhere and it was special to win this with my family here,” he said.
Renwick became the 13th player in West Penn Golf Association history to win both the West Penn Amateur (2015) and Open. He and Van Sickle established a West Penn Open scoring record with a 54-hole total of 202, eight-under par.
Van Sickle, who played bogey-free golf over the 20 holes, was disappointed, but there was something of a silver lining to the day.
“You don’t mind getting beat by birdies,” he said. “And that’s what Easton did. He went out there and played great. He just made one more birdie than I did at the end. I felt like it was to be a race to 10 (under par) today and that’s what it ended up being.”
Titsworth and Oakmont Country Club assistant professional Reid Howey finished tied for third at 2-under.
Obremski struggled and finished in a tie for fifth with Bethel Park’s Darren Kowalski at 1-under.
Kowalski was presented the trophy for Low Amateur.
Renwick, who turned professional a month ago, said the $6,800 first-prize did not enter his mind during the 20-hole day.
“I really wanted to win this tournament,” he said. “It’s really nice to have both the Am and Open.”
About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.