Aber takes three-shot lead into round two of West Penn Open
By Mike Dudurich • July 20, 2021
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.
John Aber mentioned being lucky on a couple of occasions in the first round of the 118th West Penn Open Monday at Westmoreland Country Club in Export.
The 52-year-old veteran head professional at Allegheny Country Club recently competed in the U.S. Senior Open, made the cut and finished in a tie for 52nd. He finished fourth in the Falling Rock Classic and posted a 65 Monday to lead the field after 18 holes.
“I feel like I’ve been playing well for the last two or three years,” Aber said. “I played well today too, but I did get a little lucky.”
His reference to luck came on what happened on the third hole. His approach shot to the par four found the greenside bunker and that shot finished in the bottom of the cup for a birdie. But that was just one highlight of his front nine. He finished with five birdies on the front to put the rest of the field on notice and made one more birdie on the back for six birdies and no bogeys.
“Like I said I’ve been playing well the last two or three years and every now and then I play really well like I did today,” Aber said.
Aber leads a group of 10 players who bettered par on the 6,822-yard somewhat soggy course that’s taken on a lot of rain recently but was still able to stand up to most of the best players in the WPGA.
Gregor Meyer was three shots back with 68 and four players – Sasha Lobel, Palmer Jackson, Dan Obremski and Ryan Ferry -- all finished with 69s.
Meyer said he kept the ball in play by driving it well and then converting par putts on the other end.
“I made a lot of par putts, a lot of six-footers or so.” he said. “I birdied all the par 3, except 15, where I 3-putted. I did make a 40-footer for birdie on 13. I felt like I was very steady all day.”
Jackson said his 68 was a pretty good score for a round that things really didn’t go his way.
“I didn’t hit it all that well,” he said. “I’m just having a little trouble hitting it the way I want to. There aren’t enough shots being hit off the center of the clubface. I’ll get that squared away and I’m gonna throw up a couple good scores.”
Defending champion Mark Goetz finished his first round at one-under par.
Even though he felt he putted well, he left a couple shots out there on a couple nasty lipouts that would have been birdies had they fallen.
“I’m not going to beat myself up about those putts,” Goetz said. “I hit a lot of good shots out there off the tee and I appear to have my driver squared away.”
Round 2 gets underway at 8 a.m. with the field being cut to the low 32 players and ties for Wednesday’s final round.
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.