Victory at historic Oakmont Country Club builds confidence among golfers in Burrell



Monday September 6, 2021 | 10:14 p.m.

The Burrell Boys Golf Team anchored at Oakmont Country Club last week. Having lost three starters last season and playing on one of the best golf courses in the world, the Bucs arrived with more questions than answers before their Section 1-2A game against rival Riverview.

“It was difficult to start the season at Oakmont because the kids are going to have higher scores there because it was at Oakmont,” said Burrell coach Joe Virone, who is in his 16th season. . “It was a tough way to start the season because it was away and at Oakmont.”

Burrell (2-0, 2-0) won a narrow victory over the Raiders, 279-281. In an early-season game, the Bucs found out who they were as a team.

“It was an incredible run and a big win over Riverview,” said junior Reece Kennedy. “It was great. Everyone got in place, did what we had to do and we imposed ourselves for the win.

“I think we came out of this course thinking that we can really do something and we can really play golf. Everyone gained confidence after that, I guarantee it. It was my first time (playing at Oakmont).

The uplifting victory was just a step towards the Bucs’ goal. After missing the 2019 WPIAL Class 2A playoffs, the 2020 Bucs went undefeated in Section 1-2A and returned to the playoffs. The goal this season is to stay undefeated and move a little further into the playoffs.

Having to replenish talent because of graduation can be a nightmare for coaches at times, but Virone knew who he was coming back to and the potential of some of his young players.

“I knew we had enough kids coming back, and some of them started to improve towards the end of the year and play through the summer,” said Virone. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. If you are lucky enough to have three, or maybe four, of your starters and get some of the kids who were playing (in) seven or eight (places) and if they kept playing through the summer, we should have a pretty good team. “

Burrell has had a strong turnout this season with 12 golfers. Leading the pack are senior Austin Schueler, who has reduced his average by four shots since last season, and juniors Reece and Jaxon Logut.

Junior freshman Sam Abraham and junior Emily Wojtczak round out the top six. Juniors Zack McKnight and Cam Seidel and rookie Logan Griffith find themselves in sixth place in the roster.

“If my six (spot) can shoot in the lower to mid 60s, you’ll be fine,” Virone said. “Sometimes it has been difficult to fill this position. It just sort of spins.

One thing Virone has done different this season is staggering his top three players in the roster instead of stacking them in the 1-3 spots. It was a suggestion that came from assistant coach George Hubbard and seems to have worked wonderfully.

“I put them in the one, three and five places, so they can kind of help the younger ones,” Virone said. “I try to put them with the kids who are newer. These three kids were really good at the role. These three boys could be my No.1.

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

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