Aaron Didjunas and Colin McKenzie, 2024 WPGA Boys Champions

Didjunas, Mckenzie claim 64th WPGA Boys Championship crowns
By Josh Rowntree, Director of Communications • June 12, 2024

Aaron Didjunas knew he wanted to get off to a fast start on his home course Wednesday. But even he was a bit caught off guard by his early score.

Didjunas, a rising sophomore at Elizabeth Forward High School, shot a 1-under 71, cruising to an overall victory and a triumph in the 15 & Under division at the 64th WPGA Boys Championship at Youghiogheny Country Club.

Following a bogey on his opening hole, Didjunas answered by going eagle-birdie-birdie on the next three holes, jumping out to a large lead. He added another birdie on the 8th hole for a score of 32 on the front nine.

“That bogey just got some fire in me,” said Didjunas, a member at Youghiogheny. “It just got me going. I wanted to get back that bogey and I made it happen.”

The front nine performance was enough to survive a score of 39 on the more challenging back nine.

“I just wanted a calm little back nine,” he said. “I knew I would’ve been fine with even par. I didn’t try to push too many shots and just tried to play calm.”

Of course, knowing the intricacies of Youghigheny was a definite advantage.

“I play here every day,” he said. “I’ve got the greens. Every shot, I know where to hit the golf ball on basically every hole.”

The performance on the flatter front nine propelled Didjunas to a five-stroke win over one of his close friends, Ty Hartman, who won the 13 & Under title in 2022.

“It’s fun,” Didjunas said of finishing 1-2 with Hartman. “I’m glad that we’re at the top of the leaderboard always. I love playing with him."

He also got to take home the title in front of a small gallery filled with family and friends, who didn’t have to travel far to see him play.

“Some guys from the school, my buddies, that was fun,” Didjunas said. “I’m glad they came up. And I had my buddy on the bag, too.”

Didjunas has a busy summer with numerous AJGA events scheduled, all in hopes of bettering his ‘resume’ for college coaches to see.

He added a nice accomplishment to it Wednesday, joining a select list of talented local golfers to win the Boys Championships over the last seven decades.

Three years ago, Nick Turowski — who won Monday’s WPGA Junior Championship — took the Boys Championship. Palmer Jackson, a recent Notre Dame grad who is playing this week in the Sunnehanna Amateur, won the title in 2016.

“I’m glad that my name will be on the plaque,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

In the 13 & Under division, Valley Brook Country Club’s Colin McKenzie took the title, shooting a 10-over 82 to win by five strokes over Sam Casciani.

A year ago, McKenzie finished second to Hartman in the 13 & Under division.

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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.