Swampfest at Stonecrest
Pittsburgh Junior Championship
Wampum, PA – July 15th, 2019 – Buckeye Junior Golf Tour held its final Pittsburgh event of the year at Stonecrest Golf Course in Wampum, Pennsylvania off of Big Beaver Blvd. The Pittsburgh Junior Championship proved to be one of the most competitive events of the 2019 Season. Let’s dive into this great Double Point Weekend!
Round 1 – Saturday, July 13th – Saturday was an extremely hot day. With temperatures reaching the high 80’s and little to no breeze, it made for a physically tough day on the course. Poor course conditions made this 118 average slope course play slightly tougher, as not much roll was found on any of the fairways and some landing zones were compromised. The greens however were in great shape. Depending on who you asked, they played either really fast or super slow. With all of that said, we enjoyed a rain-free weekend, something the course hasn’t been able to say for months and we are very thankful for that!
The Boys 16-19 division had the most trouble with the long Par-4 16th-Hole. The 16th Hole starts a string of three straight 400-plus yard Par-4’s and is by far the toughest stretch of Stonecrest. As you are winding down your round and hoping to finish strong, these lengthy holes can make or break a pristine round. Featuring nothing better than a Bogey from the Division in Round 1, the field had to look for other holes to gain some strokes. This brings us to the first and only Par-5 on the front-9, the 3rd hole. It played the easiest for the Boys 16-19 Division in Round 1. Looking to snag some early birdies was the name of the game and this was possible for those who had a straight drive. Staying in the center of the tree-lined fairway was the key to success. Of our Round 1 Leaders, Max Paris of Fairview, Pennsylvania and Jeremy Bershak from Sykesville, Maryland snagged Birdies with ease which got them off to a great start. Jake Sylak from Mineral Ridge, Ohio wasn’t discouraged and found birdies elsewhere to round out our Three Co-Leaders with a score of 74.
Our Boys 11-15 Division got started off in rough fashion (pun intended). Hole-1 gave them trouble right off the bat and was the hardest hole for them in Round 1. This dog-leg left with a tree lined fairway can prove to be tough, especially with GUR in the middle of the fairway. An accurate tee shot on the right side of the fairway is the correct play. If you have the power on your drive, you can try to keep the ball extremely close to the trees on the left side to take distance off your 2nd shot. Tyler Mocello from Rostraver Township, Pennsylvania was at the top of his game the entire weekend and was the only player that found par on the hole. The Boys were playing some holes to their handicap, including the 17th-handicap 5th-hole. This was their best hole in Round 1. A huge hill sits right at the landing zone, so reaching the top of the hill will make for a much easier 2nd shot to the green. Benito Taormina from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Tyler Mocello would both use their accuracy and putting skills to finish with birdies. I’m sure Grandpa Tom was excited to hear about Benito’s birdie on the ride home but not so much so when he found out how much he owed him for breaking a score of 90. Tyler Mocello played flawless golf on Saturday and came in as our Round 1 Leader with a 76. If you asked Tyler, he would tell you he even left some strokes out on the course.
The Girls 14-19 Division had the most trouble with the extremely tough 2nd-handicap 17th-Hole. A long 402-yard Par-4, this hole is confusing as soon as you arrive to the tee box. Looking out, the fairway will try to suck your ball to the right side, which will add some distance to your 2nd shot. If you can get your drive onto the left side and play the dog-leg, your 2nd shot will be slightly easier. A long 2nd shot will need great accuracy as the green is only 25-yards in depth. Victoria Witouski from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania gained a stroke on the entire field with a Bogey. Rhianna Firmstone from Moon Twp., PA had a double-bogey but was able to finish the last 6 holes +2. Like the younger boys, the Girls played the 5th-Hole the best in Round 1. Victoria Witouski continued a fantastic Round 1, grabbing one of her 4 Birdies of the day on Hole-5. Victoria came in as our Round 1 Leader with an amazing Round 1 score of 77!
Round 2-Sunday, June 14th – A perfect day for golf, Round 2 gave us amazing weather for our early morning tee times. With three players tied at 74 and two in the 70’s, our Boys 16-19 Division was going to be extremely fun to watch as they battled it out on Sunday. Hole-17 once again showed us why it is the second hardest hole out at Stonecrest. A tough 17th could prove to be the difference between winning and losing the tournament. Jake Sylak, one of our Round 1 Leaders, and Patrick Rowland from Monkton, Maryland gained a stroke on the rest of the field by grabbing Par. Playing under par in Round 2, the 8th hole was a breeze for the Older Boys. An extremely short Par-4 sitting at only 283-yards, a Birdie on this hole is a great boost heading into the Back-9. This hole doesn’t have much defense except for some Out of Bounds on the left side. Max Paris, another one of our Round 1 leaders, and Seth Callaway from Monongahela, Pennsylvania knew that this hole was a must Birdie and were able to snag one. Jake Sylak played an extremely good Back-9 at even Par and ended with another amazing 74 to become our Champion. Jake’s distance off the tee is one aspect of his game that cannot be ignored. Jake had the best scores on Par-4’s by 2-strokes and Par-5’s by 1 stroke. Jake also has the great ability to not find himself in trouble and started off the first 8 holes of the tournament Bogey free. Jake also has nerves of steel and kept great confidence down the stretch playing the Back-9 the best by 3-strokes in the tournament. Great first win on tour Jake! Max Paris came in as our Division Runner-Up. Max absolutely owned the Front-9 in the tournament, playing it the best out of anyone in the entire tournament. Max also was tied for the most Birdies in the tournament with 6. This stat is noteworthy because Max has never played Stonecrest before and was able to pick up 5 of his 6 Birdies in Round 1. Great first BJGT event Max and great Runner-Up finish!
Hole 17 was giving everyone the fits all weekend and the same was true for the Boys 11-15 Division in Round 2. No one was able to grab Par on the hole, but almost the entire field was able to pull off a Bogey to limit the damage. Once again, the boys dominated the 5th-Hole. This short Par-4 with its high handicap made it easy for tap-ins the entire tournament. However, Seth Bockman from McMurray, Pennsylvania played the hole even better than its Par average and grabbed a birdie, gaining a stroke on the rest of the field. Tyler Mocello was in the zone all weekend. He came in as our Champion for the Division. Tyler had the most birdies in the Division with 4. Tyler was also extremely solid on the Par-4’s and led this category by 10 strokes in his division. It speaks to Tyler’s great consistency. Not only does Tyler sport a great drive, he is also able to use his great short game and putting to grab a ton of pars and birdies on the Par-4’s. Tyler also played the Front-9 9 strokes better than the rest of the field leading him to his first BJGT victory. Congratulations on your first win Tyler! Patrick Bush from Tyler’s neck of the woods of Rostraver Township, Pennsylvania continued a strong performance in Round-2 to come in as our Division Runner-Up. Patrick had the most Pars in the Division with 20, showing some great consistency on the course. Patrick also once again showed off his pure iron accuracy by playing the Par-3’s the best, something he also showed us at the College Prep Series @ California University (PA) earlier in the season. These two boys will surely anchor their high school team for many years to come as they both look to start their high school seasons in the coming weeks. Congratulations on a great Runner-Up finish Patrick!
The Girls changed things up a bit finding the hardest hole on Sunday to be the tough 9th-Hole. Originally the 18th hole back in the day, this hole isn’t much to look at until you get close to the green and see the pond sitting right in front with no apron or landing zone aside from the green itself. With trees looming behind it and only 22-yards of depth to hit, accuracy is key to getting out with a good score. Victoria Witouski continued her strong run gaining a stroke on the entire rest of the field by simply getting out of the hole with a Bogey. This time around, Hole-8 played the easiest. A long drive on the hole can put you in a great spot to score low. A straight shot with a wide-open fairway, eagle wouldn’t be far-fetched. The entire field of Girls grabbed Par’s on the hole as they moved on to the infamous 9th. Victoria Witouski hung on to her lead in Round 2 to come in as our Division Champion. Victoria used her long drive to lead the Division in Birdies with 5. Victoria also played the Par-3’s and Par-4’s the best. Never finding a lot of trouble on the course, Victoria was also the only player in her Division to have a Bogey Free Streak. Great first win on tour Victoria! Rhianna Firmstone from Moon Township, Pennsylvania came in as our Division Runner-Up. Rhianna led her Division with 15 Pars in the tournament, an impressive stat to achieve. Rhianna also used her distance off the tee to lead her Division in Par-5 scoring, having 4 Pars and 2 Bogeys throughout the tournament. Well done Rhianna, great Runner-Up Finish in your first BJGT event!
It was a great finale for Pennsylvania this past weekend in Wampum and we want to give a huge thank you to everyone for joining us. We know that the course conditions were not ideal and we appreciate everyone powering through, not complaining and having some really fantastic scores. We love coming to the Pittsburgh area and are looking forward to our events there next season. If you just can’t get enough tournament golf and want to see what Kalamazoo, MI is all about, check out the 3 remaining events of the season. Hopefully we’ll see you out! If not, have a great off-season!
Player Of the Week
Tyler Mocello, 2022, Rostraver Township, PA
Tyler Mocello earned his first BJGT win of the season at Stonecrest Golf Course in Wampum, PA. Tyler led his Divison by 10 Strokes on the Par-4’s and also had the best Front-9 Score. Congratulations Tyler!