BLAIRSVILLE — The best high school golfers left standing in the western half of the state teed it Tuesday in the PIAA West Regional Tournament at Tom’s Run Golf Course, and Clarion-Limestone junior Hayden Siegel put together a strong round to advance to next week’s state championships.
Siegel carded a 3-over 75 to finish in a tie for sixth place in the Class 2A event at the challenging Tom’s Run course in Blairsville. The Top 22 golfers advanced to the state championships.
“This was special because I was unable to get this far last year,” said Siegel, who finished four strokes off the cut last year with an 86. “It feels great to do this as a junior.”
It’s the first C-L golfer to get to states.
“Having last year’s experience helped him,” C-L coach Jason Craig said. “He came in calm, surprisingly calm actually. He wasn’t nervous at all and he hit his irons well. Every time I saw him, he was making putts.
“He’s looking forward to getting to states and enjoy the experience and learn from it and hopefully do well and get back next year.”
Siegel experienced a roller-coaster round of sorts, as he drained four birdies — tied for the most by any golfer in Class 2A — while also carding four bogeys and a triple-bogey on the par-3 No. 16. He also recorded nine pairs.
His best run of the day came on the back nine, where he ran off three straight birdies on Nos. 12 (Par-4), 13 (par-5) and 14 (par-4). The Lion started his day on No. 5 as part of a shotgun start and ended his day with three pars (Nos. 1-3) and a birdie on the par-5, No. 4.
That final birdie put him in a tie for sixth with Mount Union senior Trey Heffelfinger.
“The three birdies helped me build the momentum,” said Siegel. “The key was staying focused and playing smart. I took it one shot at a time.”
North East junior Isaiah Swan shot an impressive 1-under par 71 to capture the boys’ Class 2A regional title. He carded four birdie and three bogeys, to go along with 11 pars.
Carmichaels junior Remmey Lohr was the runner-up with an even-par 72. Lohr actually had four birdies and an eagle, but also had a triple bogey that played a major part in his runner-up finish.
The area’s other Class AA boys competitor, Elk County Catholic senior Will Uberti, shot a 92 and finished 44th.
Siegel will be joined at states two other D9 competitors, as Smethport’s Connor Alfieri and Kane’s Curt Barner each fired rounds of 78 (+6) to finish in a six-way tie for 13th to earn a berth to states.
Punxsutawney’s Ryan Roberts finished in a tie for 24th with an 80 (+8), while teammate Zack VanLeer tied for 28th with an 82 (+10).
In Class AAA boys regional, DuBois senior Kaleb Hand shot a 94 and finished 20. The other D-9 entrant, Bradford sophomore Spencer Cornelius, just missed a trip to states (Top 10). Cornelius carded a 75 (+3) to tie Meadville’s Ryan Ferry for 10th, but the Bulldog one a playoff for the 10th and final berth to states in 3A.
Cathedral Prep junior Evan Rowane won the boys 3A title with an impressive 4-under 68.
On the girls’ side, the lone competitor from the Tri-County Area was Clarion freshman McKayla Kerle, who placed 22nd in Class AA after shooting a 114. District 9’s other two entries finished just ahead of her as Clearfield junior Christina McGinnis (100) was 20th, while D-9 champ Brianna Hoover of Punxsy was 21st with a 102.
North East sophomore won the Class AA crown with a 74 (+2).
In Class AAA girls, Bradford senior Elyse Godding carded a 79 (+7) tie for third and earn a trip to states with a Top 5 finish.
The PIAA Golf Championships will be held next Monday and Tuesday at Heritage Hills Golf Course in York.