Joon, Hartman, win WPGA Boys Championships
By Mike Dudurich • June 7, 2022
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 was a beautiful day in the neighborhood for Neil Joon on Tuesday at the Latrobe Elks Golf Club, just outside of Latrobe.
The Upper St. Clair junior-to-be celebrated a continuation of good play he’s had this spring with strong play in posting an even-par 72, good enough to win the boys 15 and under division of WPGA Boys Championship by a pair of shots over Griffin Hansberry.
Joon made just one bogey and three birdies to get off to a fast 34. It turns out he needed that lead as he bogeyed 11, 12 and 13 to make things interesting, but a birdie two holes later righted the ship and he finished with a 72.
Hansberry, playing in the same group as Joon bogeyed the second and doubled the par 5 fifth and closed with two birdies on the last four holes on the front. His troubles continued on the back when he bogeyed 12 and 14. He closed out the round of 74 with a birdie on 18.
“My eighth and ninth grades as well as 10th grade years were a drought,” Joon, a sophomore this fall at Upper St. Clair said. “I worked hard and [my game is] definitely in great shape.”
The Boys Championship is open to all junior boys age 15 or younger from Western Pennsylvania or who belong to WPGA member club.
WPGA records date to 1977, but the event certainly existed beyond than that date.
The junior boys championship started in 1996 for boys 13 and under and in 2015 a championship for boys 8-10 was created.
Ty Hartman of South Hills Country Club won the 13 and under group, shooting 75. Carson Kittsley of Oakmont was second with a score of 80.
Some of the great names in Western Pennsylvania golf have competed in and won the Boys Championship. Nathan Smith, Arnold Cutrell and William Miller are among the titlists.
Two players won the title twice, John Aber in 1983 and 1984 and Donald Thomas in 2002 and 2003.
Tom Nettles (2007, 2008) and Luke Miller (2009, 2010) won the 13 and under twice.
In 2012, Miller joined Thomas and Easton Renwick as the only players to capture victory in both age categories.
Where does the victory rank among the tournaments Joon has won?
“It’s definitely up there,” Joon said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
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.