Salvitti wins his second WPGA Junior Championship
By WPGA • July 7, 2022
Windber Country Club showed its teeth for the 102nd WPGA Junior Championship. Of 100 individual rounds played, only eight below-par scorecards were turned in during this 36-hole event.
The first round was played on a damp, soft course, as almost an inch of rain fell the day before. But as players began to finish their first 18 holes, the fairways began to dry out, the greens became firmer, and strategy changed.
With the ability to attack the hole on approach shots, Colton Lusk was locked-in after his first round, turning in a score of 4-under par 68, which gave him a two-stroke lead over Nolan Shilling, who was also one of only four players who had a below-par first round.
Curtis Barner and Dave Fuhrer both turned in first round scores of 1-under par and would hope to ride that momentum into their second 18-hole rounds.
Only eight players began their second rounds at one-over par or better.
Lusk went even-par on his front-nine in the final round but struggled to keep a clean card during his back nine. He finished at three-over par for the second round for a cumulative 36-hole score of 143 (-1) for the tournament.
Rocco Salvitti, shooting a one-over par 73 in the first round, was primed for his second round, stating, “I had good momentum. I made a long (birdie) putt on 18 going in.”
Beginning his second round on the seemingly more-difficult back-nine, Salvitti would harness his momentum for later, as he bogeyed his first, third, and sixth holes. He then birdied his seventh and ninth holes to go even par on the front-nine of his final round.
Salvitti buckled down during his home stretch, birdying his twelvth, thirteenth, and fifteenth holes. Doing so gave him a one-stroke lead over Lusk with two holes remaining.
He made a routine par on his penultimate hole, which left him in control of his own destiny as he headed to his final hole.
“(I had nerves) on the drive a little bit, but I just got up there and ripped it,” he said as he reflected on his tee shot which found the center of the fairway. With less than 100 yards to the hole on his approach shot, Salvitti stuck it to about 10 feet. He would need a two-putt for victory.
“I just needed to be sure I had good speed on that last (birdie) putt. Last thing you want is to hit it three feet by and miss it coming back,” said Salvitti. With careful calculation, he left himself a no-doubter one-foot par putt, which he drained with confidence.
This tap-in par putt would keep him at two-under par on the tournament and would secure his WPGA Junior Championship title, his second in three years.
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.