Pittsburgh set to host 10 area golf associations in major competition
By Mike Dudurich • August 2, 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.
It is a unique event on the calendar of junior golfers every year.
Four-man teams representing 11 golf associations from the United States and Canada get together for a 36-hole team competition known as the Williamson Cup. The three lowest scores are used to determine team scores for each round.
The event comes to Western Pennsylvania next week when it’s held at the Pittsburgh Field Club on Tuesday. It will be the sixth time in the 54-year history of the event that it’s been held in Pittsburgh, the second time at the Field Club.
“The Williamson Cup means a lot to me,” said Brady Pevarnik. “I take a lot of pride in the West Penn Golf Association and we have a really good team this year, better than ever.”
Pevarnik, of Latrobe, was one of three players to post the lowest individual scores last year, and will be joined on the 2017 Frank B. Fuhrer, Jr. Team by Louis Olsakovsky of Upper St. Clair, Mark Goetz of Greensburg and Palmer Jackson of Murrysville.
Pevarnik is just the second player from the WPGA to finish as medalist. David Vallina was the first to do so in 2000.
Considering the rich history of junior golf in Western Pennsylvania, it’s surprising the WPGA team has never won this particular competition.
“We feel like we have a great team this year and have a great chance to win,” Olsakovsky said. “Being among the four best players in the West Penn is awesome, it really is.”
Getting onto the team is performance-based and all four players have had good seasons and also possess previous Williamson Cup experience.
Goetz qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship after finishing as the medalist in a qualifier at Carlisle Country Club. He was runner-up in a Junior PGA Championship qualifier, finished T-3 in the West Penn Amateur and the West Penn Junior as well as T-8 in the Spring Stroke Championship.
“I’m not sure how the guys will take it that we haven’t won,” Goetz, who’ll be playing golf at West Virginia University later this month, said. “I think everybody will get in the zone and be ready to play because this is an opportunity you don’t want to waste. I’ve played a lot of golf with these guys and we’re a tight group. Trying to win it for the first time might add a little pressure on us, but that will be good for us."
Jackson won the Pennsylvania Junior Championship and the C.R. Miller Match Play Invitational. He finished in the top 10 in the Junior PGA qualifier and 11th in the Spring Stroke Play.
Pevarnik posted a T-5 in the Spring Stroke Play and T-10 in the West Penn Amateur; advanced to the semifinals of the C.R. Miller; recorded a T-20 in the Pennsylvania Dressler Memorial Championship and was an alternate in U.S. Open local qualifying.
Olsakovsky was medalist in local qualifying for the Junior PGA, was a finalist in the C.R. Miller and finished fifth in both the West Penn Junior and Spring Stroke Play.
“For me, this is one of the events I look forward to most, especially since it’s at home,” Jackson said. “I’ve gotten to play the Field Club a few times and I think it should suit our games. The greens are awesome, there are some gettable par 5s. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
WPGA Director of Competitions Matt Rusinko expects the members of visiting associations to enjoy the Field Club, Pittsburgh and all the hospitality western Pennsylvania offers. But he also expects something else as well.
“I think the fact that we haven’t won this speaks volumes about how good the competition is,” he said. “We’re a mid-size association and we’re competing against places that have a much bigger pool of players to choose from. That’s not an excuse and especially not this year when we have the best team since I’ve been here.
The WPGA team finished second in 1994 when a member of the Golf Association of Philadelphia holed a putt to avoid a playoff with a team consisting of Nathan Smith, Ryan Sikora, Andy Latowski and John Smarelli. The same thing happened in 2000 with a team of John Aubrey, Jr., Bennet Smith, David Vallina and Henry Watson.
Practice rounds will take place Monday at the Field Club and the competition officially begins Tuesday at 8 a.m.
The 10 other associations competing this year include: Buffalo District Golf Association, Delaware State Golf Association, Golf Association of Ontario, Golf Association of Philadelphia, Golf Quebec, Metropolitan Golf Association, Pennsylvania Golf Association, Rochester District Golf Association, Syracuse District Golf Association and the Washington Metropolitan Golf Association.
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.