Low scorers at the WPGA Amateur Qualifying round at The Country Club of Meaville, Matt Gurska and Evan Rowane.

Gurska, Rowane tops at second WPGA Amateur qualifier
By Josh Rowntree, Director of Communications  • May 22, 2024

MEADVILLE — Decked out in a throwback Florida Marlins hat, Matt Gurska dealt with conditions reminiscent of South Florida Wednesday at The Country Club of Meadville.

Gurska, a Robert Morris alum who was just reinstated into amateur golf in March, shot an even-par 72, tying for the top qualifying spot in the second WPGA Amateur Championship Qualifying round.

“I putted it really well,” said Gurska, who was playing on smaller pro tours while based in Phoenix and Florida over the last couple of years. “I kind of sprayed it everywhere and got lucky with a couple of hazards… But I got some good breaks out there.”

Evan Rowane, an Erie native and junior at Mercyhurst, also finished even, as he, Gurska and 11 others punched tickets to Chartiers Country Club next month.

“I put myself in some pretty good positions,” said Rowane, a member at Kahkwa Club. “I just had pretty good speed on the greens all day and just stuck to the game plan, which was fairways and greens, and don’t try to get too greedy.”

The 39 golfers in the field waited patiently through a two-hour weather delay just before noon, as heavy storms cut through Crawford County, dropping large branches through the rolling hills of the course.

After the break, temperatures rose sharply, but the course remained challenging. For the top two finishers, however, familiarity with the layout came in handy.

“We had our (PIAA) District 10 tournament here and obviously I’ve played in a West Penn Qualifier here before,” said Rowane, who had his mother caddy for him. “So I have a lot of knowledge.

"This is a terrific golf course. It’s just always in terrific shape. Plus, the people out here are just really good.”

For Gurska — a Hermitage native who played in high school at Kennedy Catholic — the WPGA has provided him a way to keep playing competitive golf after returning back to the region for a job in sales.

“This was my first amateur event in about eight years,” he said. “The WPGA always runs great events, whether it’s the Open or the Amateur, I’m just excited to be back.”

Next, the two competitors turn their attention to the West Penn Amateur Championship June 17-18, with hopes to conquer a larger, more challenging field.

“I’m just really excited to play against great competition,” Rowane said. “Western Pennsylvania golf is some of the strongest anywhere — in the state and in the country.”

Brothers Carter and Leyton Hassenplug (Lake View Country Club), as well as White Oak Farms Golf Course’s Eric Spencer, finished third at 1-over.

A playoff was needed to decide the 13th and final qualifying spot, as well as the two alternate positions. Jared Bish won the playoff, with Scott Kemmler and Fran David earning alternate positions.

Click here 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.