Bella Petrone with the Judy Oliver Trophy at Sewickley Heights Golf Club

Petrone wins 11th WPGA Women's Amateur Championship
By Mike Dudurich • September 19, 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.

SEWICKLEY -- She didn’t get off to a flying start, but Bella Petrone found a way to keep her game together and win the 11th West Penn Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur Championship at Sewickley Heights Golf Club last month.

Making bogeys on four of the first five holes wasn’t in the game plan for the sophomore at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., but she steadied herself and outlasted Abigail Vietmeier of Chartiers Country Club by two shots by shooting a round of 76.

“That was the biggest tournament I’ve won,” Petrone said. “It was a great experience for sure. The main thing is it proved I can be competitive in events like this. Sometimes I get out of my head on the course, worrying about being pure with every single shot I hit.”

Petrone started playing golf in ninth grade but picked the game up quickly after playing tennis for many years. She lettered in golf and track all four years and one in tennis at Upper St. Clair High School. She was the No. 1 golfer on the team as a junior and senior.

She played in three events at Flagler as a freshman and is ready to make a bigger contribution in her second season.

“I always wanted to go to school in Florida and I absolutely love it here,” she said. “I signed at the end of my junior year and last year I saw how the college world works. It’s nice being around girls who want to play the game.”

Vietmeier also got off to a slow start, making birdies on her first four holes, but hung in there to finish at 78. She made birdies on 16 and 17 to cut Petrone’s lead to two.

In the second playing of the Senior Women’s Amateur, Ligonier Country Club’s Sally Sheerer posted an 82, which was good enough to beat Mary Beth Morrissey of Connoquenessing Country Club by three.

The Super-Senior Women’s Amateur was also played for the second time. WPGA president Claudette Graham won the event with an 85, one shot better than Vicki Smith, the mother of WPGA standout Nathan Smith.

“I was basically trying to stay out of big trouble,” Graham said. “I was just steady and that’s OK for that course. I putted pretty well, and I really like the greens at Sewickley.”

Graham was obviously happy with the win and took the opportunity to tout this relatively new event.

“I’d like to see more women participate,” she said. “These are good events and good competition. We know there are a whole slew of golfers out there who don’t belong to clubs who could be playing. But we also know it takes time to build up participation. We’re getting word to high school teams to try and get them involved.”

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.