Hunter Swidzinski competing at Green Oaks Country Club.

Swidzinski earns top spot at first WPGA Amateur Qualifier
By Josh Rowntree, Director of Communications  • May 15, 2024

VERONA — Wednesday’s WPGA Amateur Championship qualifying round — the first of three — showed that strong performances on the golf course can come at various stages of life.

The top finisher was Hunter Swidzinski, who shot a 2-under 69, navigating the sharp angles of Green Oaks Country Club.

“I kept my tee ball in play,” said Swidzinski. “They weren’t always perfect, but I just kept it in the fairway and gave myself easy pars. I had a lot of good two-putts, too.”

Swidzinski, a student at Butler High School who plays at Olde Stonewall and is committed to Longwood University in Virginia, was able to play Wednesday despite being in the process of closing out his senior year of academics.

“Graduation is right around June 6,” said Swidzinski. “I have the first half of a math final tomorrow… But I’d much rather be at the course than at school today.”

In October, he claimed gold in the PIAA Class 3A State High School Golf Championships in State College.

“Late in the fall last year the work paid off and I was able to put it together, especially with the putting, he said. “The putting really improved over the summer, and it got to the point where it was the stronger part of my game. It wasn’t today, but it’s definitely been a big improvement there.”

While a golfer like Swidzinski is at one challenging point of life, Daniel Joseph — who qualified by finishing third at even par — is at another.

“I just had a baby two months ago,” said Joseph, whose wife gave birth to a girl, the couple’s second child. “Physically I’m not really myself, not a lot of sleep.”

Still, he handled a challenging layout that forces golfers into thinking critically on the tee.

“It’s definitely the uneven lies,” said Jones, a member at South Hills Country Club who also plays frequently at Diamond Run. “Some of the holes are definitely off now with how far the ball goes nowadays. You have to be really patient and hit the right club off the tee.”

Next for Joseph, Swidzinski and the 16 other qualifiers is the 124th WPGA Amateur Championship at Chartiers Country Club on June 17-18.

“I just want to get a top ten and not have to play qualifiers anymore,” said Joseph, with a laugh. “I’m not trying to be arrogant, but when I came here today I felt like I was one of the better players here and, at this point, let’s just get some good top ten’s."

Swidzinski, meanwhile, could be in line to compete for the title in a month to bookend a success last year.

“The way I’m playing, I think that if I just keep it a littler straighter off the tee, I know my irons are normally the strong part of the game,” he said. “I’ll be able to knock in a few putts here and there.”

Colton Lusk finished second, shooting 1-under for the day. The cut line finished at 4-over. In all, 18 qualifiers, as well as two alternates — which were decided in a playoff — came out of this first qualifying round, with two more qualifying rounds to follow in the coming weeks.

To see a full list of the qualifiers out of Green Oaks Country Club, click here.

For more information on WPGA Amateur Qualifying events, please click here.

Click here (GGID: 24WPGAAMQ) for the Live Leaderboard.

For media inquiries, please contact WPGA Director of Communications Josh Rowntree.

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 nearly 37,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund and Western Pennsylvania Golf Hall of Fame.