Team WPGA from left - Angus McHolme, Scott Bitar, Neal Shipley & Brady Pevarnik

Team WPGA wins Williamson Cup again for first three-peat
By Mike Dudurich • August 21, 2019

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.

There is no truth to the rumor that says the annual Williamson Cup will be undergoing a name change and will be known as the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association’s Williamson Cup.

Although considering how the locals have dominated the elite regional event, it might be something to consider.

The Williamson Cup, a regional team competition between a dozen or so amateur golf associations up and down the East Coast, has been in existence since 1964. There is a rich history associated with it, but the guys from WPGA spent a large part of two days last week re-writing history.

For starters, the WPGA team became the first in the 56-year history of the event to win it three times in a row. The team’s reign of terror went something like this: in 2017, it won by 11; in 2018, it won by five and this year, won by nine.

Members of this year’s team were Brady Pevarnik, Neal Shipley, Angus McHolme and Scott Bitar. How well did the WPGA team play? In this competition only three scores count for each team, Bitar, of Fox Chapel, shot rounds of 73 and 74, finished in a tie for 10th and his scores didn’t count in either round.

That’s because his teammates all finished in the top-five.

“Us winning it helps prove we were a legit team,” said Neal Shipley, who’s beginning his collegiate career at James Madison University. “A lot of great teams have played in the Williamson Cup, guys who have gone on to play on the PGA Tour. Us winning shows the West Penn has elite level players, too. We have a great association.”

The WPGA team was led by Pevarnik, who is a freshman at Penn State University. He posted 66-71—137 to win medalist honors for the second time in three years.

Only Pevarnik and Denny McCarthy (now on the PGA Tour) have won medalist honors twice. McCarthy did it in 2009 and 2010.

“That was a big deal for me to medal twice,” Pevarnik, who became the only player to compete five times in the Williamson Cup, admitted. “Comparing me to Denny McCarthy, that’s really cool. But it was pretty important for us as a team. We won the first two in our backyard. This year, we’re out of town, and we won it in somebody else’s backyard. This one was the most special.”

While numbers don’t necessarily tell all the story, the ones put up by the West Penn guys painted a pretty clear picture. The West Penn team posted an astonishing 32 birdies and an eagle in 36 holes.

All four players accumulated 32 birdies and one eagle. Not one score over par was used in the team competition. All four players finished in the top 10. The three players scores that were used all finished in the top 5.

McHolme, a graduate of Elizabeth Forward and a freshman at Methodist University, said it was obvious to him early on what the mindset of this team was.

“This year we had a cockiness and swagger that said we knew we were going to win,” he said. “The MET and GAP teams are good, and they have good players. But how we played and dominated just shows what we are. It was good to play as a team and fun to play as a team.”

Behind Pevarnik, Shipley finished fourth, McHolme fifth and Bitar T10.

“We really felt like we had something to prove after winning the last two at home,” Shipley said. “Winning was on our minds right away. This was a really strong squad and a group like that is going to be hard to come by. We feel like we put Western Pennsylvania on the map.”

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.