Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania — June 29th, 2020 — Buckeye Junior Golf Tour returned to the Pittsburgh area this weekend for our 2nd annual College Golf Prep Series @ Cal. U. It gave us the exciting ending we were all hoping for, for multiple age divisions! The Gold Course at Cedarbrook provides scenic views of the Appalachian Mountains and neighboring towns off in the distance. Although beautiful, these mountains provide an extra challenge for any golfer. Let’s see who got crowned this weekend’s King of the Hill!
Round 1 – Saturday, June 27th — Early morning tee times allowed our juniors to escape most of the hot and humid June day. The threat of thunderstorms and heavy rain in the early afternoon was a major concern for players, parents and spectators. A storm the size of Ohio was rapidly approaching and added some extra challenge to an already difficult track. With the winds blaring and dark clouds rolling in, Hole-18 played extremely tough in Round 1 for the Older Boys. This is a straight up-hill tee shot with a triple tiered green awaiting you at the top. Beautiful views of the make this green a magnificent site with not so magnificent scores. The only birdie on the day came from Cole Villa. Peyton Mussina and Evan Stein were able to pick up Pars and gain at least a stroke on the entire rest of the field. Hole-10 played under Par for the Older Boys in Round 1. This signature hole is basically the complete opposite of Hole-18. A straight downhill par-5 with a creek that runs right through the center of the fairway. A 300+ yard drive was very doable for many of our Boys with the downhill giving you at least 30 extra yards off the tee. 5 Birdies were picked up by our Older Boys on Hole-10. Tyler Mocello, a local from Rostraver Township, held the Round 1 lead with an Even Par, 72. Cole Villa from Leechburg, PA used his great play on Hole-18 to come in right behind Tyler on the Leaderboard for round 1.
It is always interesting to see how the different tees play on each course for each age division. The Younger Boys playing from the Buckeye-White Tees still found Hole-18 to be the toughest on the course. Although it only plays 268-Yards from the White Tees, the uphill prowess adds an extra 70 yards making it more like a regular 340-yard Par-4. The easiest hole in Round-1 for our Younger Boys was the straight forward 305-yard, Par-4, 3rd hole. The 3rd-hole is all about just staying in the fairway because Out of Bounds looms left. There are also bunkers situated 230 and 220 yards away from the tee box. There are also two greenside bunkers, one on the short left and one far right. Just stay out of trouble and you will be just fine. That is exactly what Logan Voytish and Jesse Shue did to earn their Pars. Jesse Shue from Columbia, PA came in with the Round 1 Lead, with a score of 77. Logan Voytish, our winner last year at this event, followed closely behind with a Round 1, 78.
Also playing from the Buckeye White Tees, the Girls were having a hard time with the extremely difficult Par-4, 15th-Hole. This is the 3rd hardest hole on the golf course. First of all, the hole is extremely long for a Par-4, playing 437-yards from the White-Tees. Throw in 4 greenside bunkers and OB allows little room for error. You have to play extremely well off the tee to even have a chance at the Par. The easiest hole for the Girls in Round-1 was the Par-5, 12th-hole. The trick with this hole is making sure your tee shot lands around the right side of the fairway and has enough distance. This allows you to attack the dogleg and have a chance at a shot into the green. You’re going to want to stay to the left on your approach because the bunkers on the right side of the green can be extremely tough to get out. Rhianna Firmstone from Moon Township, PA played the hole to near perfection, claiming a Birdie. Rhianna was one fire all day, she was the Round 1 Leader by 3-strokes. Cassidy Miksich, who just finished her Freshman year, followed closely behind her with an 85.
Round 2 – Sunday, June 14th— Round 2 started off with almost the exact same weather as Round 1. Once the sun started to creep through the clouds, you could just feel the feel the humidity steadily rising. The Older Boys were really struggling with the hardest hole on the golf course. The 16th-hole in Round 2 was playing well above-par. A 472-yard, narrow Par-4 has an extremely difficult dogleg that requires a 280-yard tee shot to even have a look at the green. In typical Cedarbrook fashion there are also 5 bunkers that guard the green on your approach. Peyton Mussina, Reese Watson and Matthew Karpeal were the only players able to pick up a par or better on the hole. The easiest hole for the Boys in Round 2 was the relatively short Par-5, 4th-hole. What do you know, another dogleg. Once you reach the dogleg though, there is not much of a challenge left and a Birdie is within reach. Reese Watson, Matt Tokarczyk and Benjamin Chontos learned after Round 1 how to play this Par-5 and all picked up Birdies. Reese Watson had an outstanding Round 2 with a +2, 74. He also went on a Bogey Free Streak of 9 Holes, playing the entire much harder Back-9 to 1-under Par. The lead group for the Older Boys was extremely fun to watch all day. Tyler Mocello, Cole Villa and Peyton Mussina were all jockeying for position. Mocello had the lead by 2 strokes coming into 18 over both Cole and Peyton. Tyler pulled out a Bogey on 18 and left the door open for Cole and Peyton to tie. It was close, but Tyler Mocello came in as our Champion by a single stroke. Tyler used his course knowledge to lead him to victory. He played the Front-9 at least 5 strokes better than the rest of the field. Tyler is going to be a Junior next year and leads his High School team, Belle Vernon Area High School, on the golf team. Great to see you back in the Winner’s Circle Big Mo! Cole Villa played fantastic golf throughout the tournament. This was one time we did not see the tournament leader in Pars (22) and best player on the Par-4’s (+4) win the tournament. Cole is going to be a Senior next year and is currently being recruited to play college golf. Congratulations on a great tournament Cole!
Once again, the difference from each set of tees on our tour can make for some dramatic changes in each hole for the different divisions. The Younger Boys were having the most trouble with Hole-10 in Round 2. Logan Voytish from Farmington, PA gained a stroke on Jesse Shue on this hole by picking up a Par. Jordan Mocello, younger brother of Boys 15-19 Champion Tyler Mocello and our youngest competitor in the tournament was sticking around with Jesse and Logan, especially on the Par-3’s in Round 2. Jordan parred every Par-3 in Round 2. Jesse Shue took a 3-stroke lead on Logan early in Round 2 by picking up a Birdie on the easiest hole in Round-2, the Par-3 2nd-hole. Later in the round, Logan took a 1-stroke lead going into 18. It was neck and neck all day. Logan Bogeyed 18 and Jesse made sure to capitalize making things all square with his Par. The Boys headed back down the mountain to replay hole-18. This time it was Logan who picked up the Par and Jesse bogeying to pull out the win in our first playoff for the Younger Boys Division. Logan’s win came with his distance off the tee. He picked up at least 5-strokes on the rest of his competitors on the Par-5’s. Logan also coupled this with having the Most Pars to come in as the Champion. Logan defends his title in back-to-back years for our College Prep Series @ Cal U. Great seeing you back in the Winners Circle Logan! Jesse Shue sticks it like glue on the greens. Jesse is always pin point with his irons which leads to a ton of Birdies. This also helped him play the Par-4’s the best. Jesse is getting very comfortable getting trophy flags, in his 4 tournaments this year he has been a Champion twice, a third-place finish and now adds a Runner-Up to that. Great Job, Jesse!
The hardest hole for the Girls in Round 2 is the tough 8th-hole. Once again, we saw a dog-legged hole that has lots of green side bunkers. The fairway slopes off to the left and the green is guarded by woods and the aforementioned bunkers on the right side. Victoria Witouski from Gibsonia, PA and Cassidy Miksich both picked up bogeys and were able to gain a stroke on the rest of the field. The easiest hole for the Girls in Round 2 was the extremely short Par-4, 13th hole. The hole played under par for the girls on the day, which was aided by Izabela Aigner’s Birdie. Rhianna Firmstone would keep a tight grip on the lead throughout Round 2 coming in as our Champion! Rhianna is an extremely well-rounded player. She led the division on the Par-3’s and Par-5’s. She also makes very few mistakes. Whenever she hits a Green in Regulation you can almost mark it down instantly as a Par or Better. Rhianna comes back to the Trophy Room after receiving 2nd place last year at our Pittsburgh Junior Championship. Great first win on Tour Rhianna! Victoria Witouski was our Runner-Up. What else can we say about Victoria. She is always at the top of the Leaderboard. She is extremely consistent Round in and Round out. One thing that we always see out of Victoria is her dominance of the Par-4’s, picking up 10 Pars and 1 Birdie on them this weekend. Victoria also played the Back-9 the best in the tournament. Victoria is currently exploring her college options and is looking to major in Pharmacy once she takes that step. Congratulations on another Trophy Flag Victoria! We want to thank all of players, parents, spectators and the great staff out at Cedarbrook Golf Course. It was a great weekend and we look to have many more tournaments out at Cedarbrook for years to come. The next stop on our tour is the first ever BJGT Tour Championship. We are hosting the tournament at Penn State Golf Courses-Blue Course on July 11th-12th. There will be some great competition and tons of colleges recruiting the tournament. We hope that you will join us!