Patrick Bush had his game going Friday with the Belle Vernon sophomore firing a 3-under 67 at Duck Hollow Golf Club to win his first FCCA Golf Open title.
Duck Hollow Golf Club normally plays Par 72, but two par-4s on the back nine were shortened to par-3s to quicken play. So, both sides played at Par 35.
Bush went out in even-par 35, but played the back nine in 3-under 32. The sophomore got things rolling early on the back nine with a fortuitous bounce on No. 10.
“I just got lucky on No. 10. I chipped in for birdie,” said Bush. “I felt I could put something close from 110 yards in.”
He also stayed away from big numbers.
“I had mostly one, two putts, and I was able to get up-and-down when I had to,” said Bush.
Duck Hollow Golf Club hosts the Section 2-AAA qualifying tournament on Monday, so many of the golfers return for another 18 holes of golf.
“It’s a completely different game Monday,” said Bush, adding, “I just want to shoot anything under 82 (the target score).”
Teammate Tyler Mocello finished alone in second place with 5-over 75 for his second All-County honor. The junior went out in 1-under 34, but had some problems with the greens on the back and finished with 41.
“The green speeds were totally different on the back. Mostly, every green speed was different,” said Mocello, who also plays soccer for the Leopards. “The front nine is more open. There’s more trees on the back.”
Mocello also used the round as an opportunity to prep for the section qualifier.
“It’s nice to play the back nine. Now I know how the back nine will play,” added Mocello.
Albert Gallatin’s Matt Karpeal, Frazier’s Nixon Erdely, Southmoreland’s Clay Sipple and Uniontown’s Adena Rugola shared third place with 77.
“I was happy with it,” said Karpeal, who shot 39 on the front and 38 on the back. “It was tough putting. The greens were bumpy. The front was a lot slower than the back, putting-wise.”
Overall, Karpeal was pleased with his game.
“Everything was solid. I had a couple three-putts here and there,” said Karpeal.
Sipple also acknowledged the different green speeds on the back nine.
“The back nine greens were a little quicker and a little rougher (from recent aeration). The front nine greens were slower and a little smoother,” said Sipple.
“The other parts of my game were working well. I had one birdie (on No. 13), and no double or triple bogeys.”
Erdely, a freshman, shot 40 on the front and 37 on the back. He said he got things going late in the back nine after a trouble spot.
“My drives were good. My putting was just okay,” said Erdely, younger brother of Annika Erdely. “I made a good up-and-down on No. 15. I told myself I got this now.
“I took double (bogey) on No. 13. I hit a bad gap wedge, a bad chip and three-putted.”
Frazier plays in the Section 8-AA qualifier at Chippewa Golf Course on Monday.
“I’m ready for it, but I’m still nervous,” said Erdely.
Rugola went out in 36, but had a rougher time on the back with 41.
“I had a triple (bogey) on No. 11. Mentally, I struggled a bit, but I kept it together and made it through,” said the junior.
Rugola underwent shoulder surgery over the winter, so the county tournament was her first 18 hole tournament in nearly a year.
“I had no expectations. I wanted to play well. This is the first time I’ve played 18 holes since states (last year). I wasn’t sure how I would be,” said Rugola. “I did much better than I expected.”
Uniontown freshman Logan Voytish and Laurel Highlands junior Megan Joyce shared seventh place with 78, and Connellsville sophomore Ethan Rice and Southmoreland’s Ben Zimmerman shot 80 for ninth place.
Joyce shot 38 on the front and 40 on the back. She had a double bogey on No. 8 after her tee shot carried into the woods, and doubled No. 10.
“I made a few pars and some good putts on Nos. 16 and 17,” said Joyce, who made All-County for the third time. “My approach shots could’ve been closer. I had some long putts.
“I only had one three-putt today. That’s good.”
Voytish shot 39 on both sides, finishing a bit better than he anticipated.
“I shot a lot better than I thought I would shoot. I was trying to get under 80, in the 77-81 range,” said Voytish. “My pitching wedge was working well. A lot of bunker shots, I stuck.
“My goal was to play par golf today, and I did that.”
Rice went out in 38 and finished in 42 for his first All-County honors.
“My putting let me down, on the back. On the front, it saved me,” said Rice. “The greens on the back nine were bumpy because of aeration. The front nine was a true read.
“I expected to go in the low 80s, maybe touch in the 70s.”
Rice returns Monday for the section qualifier.
“This gives me a lot of confidence to make the cut,” Rice said of the target score, 82.
DIVOTS: Belle Vernon won the big school team title with a score of 398, followed by Uniontown (414), Laurel Highlands (443), and Albert Gallatin (460). ... Southmoreland captured the small school team title with 429. Frazier was next with 447 and the Geibel Catholic girls finished with 526. ... Rugola successfully defended her girls title. Joyce was second, Uniontown’s Maddie Myers and Geibel’s Caroline Konieczny shared third with 88, and the Lady Gators’ Claire Konieczny was fifth with 99.