Darin Kowalski hitting a shot at Butler Country Club

Kowalski & Pevarnik tied after round 2 of West Penn Amateur
By Mike Dudurich • July 18, 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.

Darin Kowalski and Brady Pevarnik have a chance to do something neither have done before.

Win the West Penn Amateur, which is being contested this week for the 122nd time.

That duo is tied at the top of the leaderboard at even par, the only two participants to get around Butler Country Club at that score. Thirteen others are within five shots of the lead with 18 holes to play.

“That leaderboard is pretty packed,” Pevarnik, of Hannastown Golf Club, said. “This isn’t just going to Darin and I.”

Kowalski, of South Hills Country Club, was in agreement totally.

“Yeah, I don’t think this will be a match play deal with Brady, there are too many good players right behind us,” he said.

J.F. Aber of Allegheny Country Club and Jeff Varga of Wildwood Golf Club are at 1-over; Brett Young of Nemacolin CC is at 2-over; Nicholas Turowski of Hannastown Golf Club, Jimmy Ellis of South Hills Country Club and Matthew Mattioli of Pittsburgh Field Club are the 3-overs; Shane Stewart of Edgewood CC is at 4-over and six other players are at 5-over.

Look at the leaders’ scorecards and it’s pretty evident they both had good successes and costly struggles.

Take Kowalski. He shot 31 on the front nine with four birdies on no bogeys. But on that same nine in the second round, he double-bogeyed the par-five second in route to a 35-39—74. Oh, and don’t forget the round-ending four-pack of bogeys that contributed greatly to that 74.

Those took a little bit of the shine off that opening round 66 but he’ll take where he is on the board going into round 3.

“I don’t feel like I did anything great today,” Kowalski said. “It was a long day, and I made a little harder by not realizing we couldn’t ride. I didn’t get a caddie, so I carried for 36 and tied to keep myself in it mentally. Especially in the second round. I just had to accept the bad shots and move on.”

Pevarnik’s even-par total started the opposite of Kowalski’s. He opened with a 66 and closed with a 74.

“I played pretty well in the morning,” he said. “But the second round was tougher both physically and mentally. It’s tough, not and easy course at all. I’m pleased to be tied for the lead.”

It’s been tough for the Latrobe High School graduate, as he tried to become comfortable with college level golf.

“Everything has worked out for the best,” Pevarnik said. “I’m happy where I am (Bowling Green) and looking forward to my final year. I’m working hard, practicing a lot, trying to get better.”

His one setback in getting into some sort of rhythm at the level college level. He broke his wrist playing basketball at the College of Charleston, an injury that cost him nearly a year and a half of time until it fully healed.

Thirty-two players survived and the cut came at plus-10.

“It was right about the time covid hit,” Pevarnik said. “Coming back took a while to get the wrist where it needed to be. You think you’re unstoppable.”

He laughed when asked what he thought it might take to get the title.

“I have no idea, there are a lot of good players in this field,” he said. “I think if you’d go out and shoot 60, you’d probably win.”

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.