Close Finish at Apollo Elks
Pittsburgh Junior Golf Championship
Apollo, Pennsylvania — June 15th, 2020 — BJGT was at the tree lined and old American style Apollo Elks Country Club this weekend for a great Double POY Points Weekend. Check out below who was able to take advantage of the shortest course we have ever played on BJGT.
Round 1 – Saturday, June 13th — Taken by surprise, Saturday morning was a little colder than all of us expected for a Summer morning in June. All of the players and of course Tom, Benito Taormina’s Grandpa, showed up in shorts…we forgot how cold 50 degrees felt like. Apparently, the Older Boys weren’t yet warmed up because the toughest hole for them was the wonky 2nd hole. In typical Pittsburgh fashion, this hole has an uphill tee shot on a completely left slanted fairway. Earning yourself a Fairway in Regulation on this hole is extremely important because the second shot is going to be above your feet with an extremely small green waiting for you in the distance. Not an easy task. This hole was able to stay true to its low handicap with less than a third of the field able to earn Par. The Older boys shook it off and started to warm up by one the time they got to one of the easiest holes on the course, the 336-Yard, uphill Par-4 7th hole. The entire field was able to earn Par with the exception of Dante Billoni from Lancaster, PA who gained a stroke on everyone by picking up a Birdie. The Birdie on the 7th helped Dante to a T-2 finish on the day. He tied with Anthony Maltony from Oakdale, PA and they both trailed Patrick Bush, who played one of the cleanest rounds we have seen on BJGT, by 6 strokes. Patrick ended Round 1 E (71) at the Apollo Elks. Being a Pittsburgh area native, Patrick knows how to play on undulation and it showed.
The Younger Boys followed suit and found the second hole to be just as tough. This hole got everybody. The Buckeye-White Tees, where are Younger Boys play from, were not that far off in distance from the Buckeye-Black tees for this tournament and for this hole in particular. They must’ve been watching the Older Boys on 7 because once again, they followed suit and found it to be the easiest. Jesse Shue, another player all the way from Lancaster, PA played a tremendous Round 1 shooting a 77. He was followed by Nolan Vogel coming all the way from Towson, MD.
Round 2 – Sunday, June 14th— Round 2 started off even colder than Round 1. Unbelievable! That may have been the reason for the increase of an average of 3 strokes from our Older Boys in Round 2. By Hole 36 of 36 on the weekend, the Older Boys ran out of steam. Hole-18 played the hardest for them in Round 2. Double pond alert! The first sits right in front of you from the Tee Box. Pulling out the driver is probably a bad idea as the 2nd pond sits about 260 yards up from the tee and stretches a good 30 yards. Laying up is no fun they say! Well, neither is fetching balls from the drink. Many of our players either hit the second pond off the tee or it got in their heads on the approach when trying to hit the extremely small elevated green. Anthony Maltony and local Cole Villa from Leechburg, PA were the only players able to pick up a Par on this trickster. Cole also had the shot of the day chipping in for an Eagle on the Par-4 7th-hole In Round 2. Cole gave the old “fish on the line” celebration and we heard a big “wooooo” from the spectators following him. Truly, a fantastic shot. The 12th hole was the easiest in Round 2 for the Older Boys. This is another tee shot over water but thankfully, to clear this pond you only need a drive of about 170 yards, well short of what most of the Boys on our tour are able to drive. 40% of the field was able to pick up much needed Birdies on this hole in Round 2. It was nail-biter coming into 18 with Patrick Bush and Anthony Maltony tied going into 18. Anthony was able to surge back from 6 strokes down and Par that last hole to pull out the victory. This was Anthony’s first tournament with BJGT and his first win on Tour. Maybe his refusal to do live scoring worked to his advantage. As always, the classic recipe for success, Anthony had the most pars with 24 and played the Par-4 4-strokes better than his nearest competitor in the tournament. Anthony also came ready to play both days beating the rest of the field on the front-9. Great first win on tour Anthony, we will see you out at Penn State with the other Champions! Patrick Bush had an incredible Round 1 and took Runner-Up by just a single stroke. Patrick comes from a small high school in Rostraver Township, PA that produces some of the best golfers in Eastern Pennsylvania. Patrick’s accuracy is extremely impressive to watch. He dominated on the Par-3’s throughout the tournament. This was something we saw from Patrick last year when he was competing in our Younger Boys Division and he continues to get even better with his accuracy as he moved to the Buckeye-Black tees. Patrick finished 2019 with a Runner-Up finish at Stonecrest Golf Course and a Win at Cedarbrook Golf Course-Gold, so it was great to see him get another trophy flag in his first tournament in 2020. Well Done Patrick!
It was Déjà vu all weekend with the Younger Boys. The Younger Boys also found the 18th-hole to be the hardest in Round 2. Hole-12 played the easiest, sound familiar? Jesse Shue followed up his strong Round 1 and came in as Champion for Boys 10-14. This is Jesse’s 2nd win on Tour this season. Using the same formula as Anthony, Jesse had the most Pars and was the best on Par-4’s throughout the tournament. Jesse also came ready to play both rounds having a fantastic Front-9 both days. Jesse also earned himself Player of the Week honors with his continued great play. Great to see you back in the Winner’s Circle Jesse! Nolan Vogel was the Runner-Up for the Division. He is one of the younger players on tour but always plays the Par-5’s fantastic. He is extremely consistent off the tee. Finding fairways leads to tons of pars or at worst a bogey on most holes. Nolan gets better and better each and every tournament and we will see him in the Winner’s Circle very soon. Congratulations Nolan!
We want to thank all of players, parents and spectators that made the trip out to Apollo this weekend. We also want to thank the awesome staff at the Apollo Elks Country Club. Were extremely excited for some upcoming tournaments our Tour Championship at Penn State will have a ton of College Coaches recruiting at it and will offer the best strength of field to date in a BJGT Tournament. We hope to see you out on tour again at Cedarbrook Golf Course – Gold June 27-28!