Sunday, October 23, 2022 | 11:01 AM
Plum sophomore Wes Lorish missed out on a trip to states last year, so coming into this season, one of his main missions was to get to Penn State and face the best in the state.
It was mission accomplished as he took part in the 36-hole PIAA Class 3A boys championship tournament over two days, Oct. 17 and 18, on Penn State’s White Course.
Lorish finished tied with a group of golfers for 10th place, and he earned a medal.
He shot a 2-over 74 with a birdie, a bogey and a double bogey on Day 1 and followed it up with a 75 (two birdies, one eagle, five bogeys, one double bogey) to finish with a 5-over 149.
The total was just one stroke away from sixth and nine strokes off the pace of champion Dylan Ramsey from Cedar Crest in District 3.
“I thought I played a little bit more consistent Monday, but Tuesday I felt more comfortable because I knew the course and my surroundings a little bit better,” Lorish said.
“It was my third time on the course in three days. Obviously, the expectation coming in was to win, but I was happy with where I placed. I didn’t play my best golf, and I definitely feel that if I could’ve executed a few more shots or made a few more putts, I could’ve been up there in contention.”
Cooler temperatures prevailed at Penn State on Monday and Tuesday. Lorish said he also had to contend with windy conditions early in his round Monday.
“That was something I wasn’t expecting,” he said. “So, I had to block everything out, change club strategy, and keep everything under the wind. I knew I needed to relax and not do too much and just play my game.”
Lorish was no stranger to big tournaments, but he said the PIAA championships is a different animal.
“We actually had scheduled range time about an hour before we teed off unlike junior tournaments. It was a lot more organized,” he said. “That really helped me get ready for my rounds.”
Lorish said his practice round Sunday gave him a good sense of the course layout and a game plan for both Monday and Tuesday.
“The course was relatively flat with a lot of trees,” Lorish said. “The greens were pretty nice. Overall, it was pretty nice golf course. I played pretty well on Sunday, and my swing felt good coming into the start Monday. I was making putts and hitting the shots I wanted to hit. It was windy Sunday, too, so that helped to know how to handle the wind when it kicked up on Monday.”
Lorish rose from a tie for ninth at the Section 4 qualifier at Willowbrook Country Club to a tie for seventh (75) in the WPIAL first round at Champion Lakes and an overall tie for fifth (8 over) after the final round at Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley Oct. 6.
“I thought Wes really handled the pressure of the state tournament pretty well,” Plum coach Brian Dunaway said. “It was a big stage. I don’t think he could’ve struck the ball any better, and he attacked the greens with confidence.”
Lorish, who hopes to head south for tournament play starting as early as January, said he is motivated to return to states next year and hopefully take that next step toward a title.
“I am happy for my first experience at states, but now I know what it’s like to get this far, and I want to put the work in to take that next step next year,” he said.
In addition to his individual exploits, Lorish said he was pleased to see how the entire Plum boys team did in postseason tournaments.
Plum, which finished runner-up to Central Catholic in the Section 4 standings, took second (394) behind the Vikings (375) in a WPIAL semifinal Oct. 11 at Beaver Valley Golf Club.
The Mustangs made their first WPIAL team finals appearance since 1988 and placed fifth out of six teams with a 418 score Oct. 13 at Cedarbrook Golf Club.
Also representing Plum in the team tournament were senior Jake Pedley, junior Carson Yocca, sophomore Tim Pease and freshmen Tyler Pastor and Dan Caruso.
“It would be great to see some of our other guys make it to states next year, and hopefully the whole team, too,” Lorish said.
“It will be tough to lose Jake, but everyone else is back. It was a great accomplishment to make it as far as we did. It was 34 years, and no one else had been able to do it. We had high expectations because our team was pretty solid. Now, the motivation is there for everyone to play a lot of golf in the offseason and improve.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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