Hunter Swidzinski (L) and Champion, Wes Warden (R), at Latrobe Country Club

Warden repeats as C.R. Miller Match Play Champion
By Mike Dudurich • August 5, 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 one of those typical summer days in Western Pennsylvania.

Sunny, hot, humid, stormy, intense bouts of downpours, standing water everywhere.

And there was a heck of golf championship at Latrobe Country Club on Thursday that finished just before darkness fell.

The semifinals and finals of the C.R. Miller Match Play Invitational provided great drama, great competition and very worthy boys and girls champions.

Wes Warden, last year’s champion, held off a furious charge from Hunter Swidzinski, for a 19-hole win.

On the boys’ side, Warden got off to a quick start in the finals, winning the first two holes. But Swidzinski came right back to win next two. Momentum went back to Warden when he picked up wins on the next two holes.

With wins on 8, 10 and 13, Warden took control of team or at least that’s what it seemed.

“A few bad tee shots and a couple putts I could have made really hurt,” Swidzinski, a junior-to-be at Butler High School, said.

And then came the second delay of the day.

“I was playing so well and to break that rhythm I knew I was going to have to keep loose and be ready to get back out there and finish what I started,” Warden, who’ll be a freshman at Cornell in less than two weeks, said. “I felt like I was in good shape being 4-up with five holes to play.”

But as the old saying goes, in match play it’s never over ‘til it’s over.

Swidzinski proved that by making birdie on 14 and then 15 and then 16 and yes, 17 and as the two went to the 18th tee, the match was tied.

They tied the finishing hole to force extra golf and Warden ended the match on the first extra hole.

“It was a great match and Hunter played really well,” Warden said. “I really wanted to win this one because it was my last junior tournament and because I won last year, I wanted to be a back-to-back champion.”

For Swidzinski, the C.R. Miller was also important.

“This was my first match play experience and I’m really happy to have gotten this far,” he said. “I’m disappointed, sure, but this was definitely a learning experience.”

So will Warden chill out in the days remaining before beginning his collegiate career? Not exactly.

He’ll be playing in a couple events over the next week and estimates he’ll play upwards of 150 holes of golf in that time.

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.