Team WPGA repeats as Williamson Cup champions
By Mike Dudurich • August 15, 2018
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.
UPPER ST. CLAIR – In baseball, if a player on the home team wins a game in its last at-bat, it’s called a walk-off.
That wasn’t exactly what happened at St. Clair Country Club Tuesday evening, but it was close.
In the 55th Williamson Cup Matches, the West Penn Golf Association team was the defending champion, having won for the first time a year ago.
That defense seemed to be off to a good start in the opening round Tuesday morning as WPGA totaled 219 (using three of four scores) and leading Philadelphia by three shots, 222-219. WPGA was led by Greater Latrobe High School senior-to-be Brady Pevarnik’s 69.
There was excitement among the WPGA team as the afternoon round got underway until a rash of bogeys and double bogeys made things uncomfortably close. Mother Nature stepped in to put a halt to that downward slide, however, pounding SCCC with heavy rain that forced an hour and 45 minute weather delay.
“We had a rough stretch right before the rain delay and I know it helped me settle down a bit,” said Jimmy Meyers, a senior-to-be at Pittsburgh Central Catholic.
Things didn’t immediately turn around after the sunshine returned, but WPGA was helped when the pursuing teams started making their own bogeys and double bogeys, putting the home team back in the game.
And as the groups continued to complete their rounds, it became apparent WPGA was going to need a hero or two and that’s exactly what it got.
First was Angus McHolme, a senior-to-be a Elizabeth Forward High School. Just a couple weeks removed from winning the C.R. Miller Match Play title at the Rolling Rock Club, McHolme came to the tee of the 630-yard, par-five 18th hole with birdie on his mind.
McHolme ripped a tee shot that left him 248 yards to the pin. From the top of that hill, his soaring 3-wood shot hit the green, but left him 60 feet from the hole.
“I two-putted from there for birdie,” he said with a smile. “It feels pretty awesome to come back from 78 (his first-round score). That first-round was an absolute struggle. I think I hit three fairways in that round. I went to the range between rounds and I hit it like crap there, too. But I made par on the first hole and the grind was on.”
Neal Shipley was the last WPGA player out and a strong finish was needed by yet another PCC senior-to-be. Even with an abundance of local knowledge (he’s a member at SCC), Shipley posted a first-round 77.
“That first round came with difficulty, but it still was a lot of fun,” Shipley said. “In the second round, I just did everything a little better.”
That included a tee shot in the fairway on the 18th hole that left him 268 yards to the green with a downhill lie. His three-wood cleared the lake in front of the green, but was short of the putting surface.
“My first pitch was shot of the green, but I was able to get up and down for par (and a round of 73),” he said. “I have to admit there was a little bit of pressure, with us being defending champions and playing on my home course. I had most of our team out here on Saturday for a bit of practice and I think that knowledge helped us. None of us played our best, but it’s great to win.”
In the end, WPGA won by five strokes over Philadelphia and Washington Metropolitan and six over Pennsylvania. After never winning the event previously, the WPGA now has a two-game winning streak.
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.