Twenty-three (23) qualifying spots.

Westmoreland CC, great championship history with WPGA

Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2015 •  • 

Westmoreland Country Club in Export has a long and storied history with championships conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association. The club began in Verona, and moved in 1954 retaining the name of Westmoreland Country Club. The original club changed its name to Green Oaks Country Club.

The previous site held four West Penn Opens - 1928 won by Perry DelVecchio, Greensburg, his first of five, tying Jock Hutchison and Roy Vucinich for the most Opens won in a career, both in the West Penn Golf Hall of Fame, and 1953 won by Oakmont’s Lew Worsham, the 1947 US Open champion and another Hall of Fame member.

West Penn Amateurs there included 1922 won by Richard Long and 1928 and 1932, both won by Maurice LeBosquet, 1942 by Regis Wolfe, and 1944 by Jack Benson, who won six Amateurs, 1934-54.

The new course was designed by Dick Wilson, a top architect of the 1940’s and 1950’s whose credits include Doral Country Club’s famed “Blue Monster” near Miami and the redesign of Shinnecock Hills, Southampton, New York, shortly after the end of World War II and Laurel Valley in Ligonier. (more)

Junior championship season underway, Open qualifying to begin: From the desk of Mike Dudurich

Posted Monday June 29, 2015 •  • 

The West Penn Golf Association stars of the future have taken center stage recently with some championships being held and a couple more on the horizon.

Tanner Johnson of Venetia and Jeremy Eckenrode of Ebensburg shot 148 to earn spots in the U.S. Junior Amateur Sectional qualifier at Champion Lakes.

Johnson posted 74-74 and Eckenrode 75-73 to ensure a trip to Bluffton, S.C. for the U.S. Junior Amateur July 20-25. Johnson is the son of Southpointe professional Brent Johnson, who won the West Penn Open in 2000 at Valley Brook Country Club.

They'll play in the first-ever USGA Championship held at the Colleton River Plantation Club's Dye Course, a par 72 layout that maxes out at 7,366 yards. The Dye Course will be the second-longest course in U.S. Junior Amateur history. (more)

Betts named Frank Fuhrer, III, Award recipient

Posted Friday June 19, 2015 •   • 

Will Betts, Leechburg, a junior at University of Hartford, Connecticut, was named the recipient of the 2014-15 Frank Fuhrer, III, Award, presented annually to the area’s outstanding college player.

Betts scoring average for 25 rounds was 73.9. He won one tournament shooting 68-70—138 to top a field of 88 players. He recorded three top 10’s and six top 20’s in nine competitions. Betts top non-collegiate achievement was qualifying for match play in the 2014 US Amateur at Atlanta Athletic Club. (more)

Rivard to retire, Sunnehanna Amateur starts: From the desk of Mike Dudurich

Posted Wednesday June 17, 2015 •  • 

Jeff Rivard has officiated nearly 60 USGA championships over the course of his career and learned something that helped him in 22 years as Executive Director of the West Penn Golf Association.

“No one asks for a ruling when they’re happy,” said Rivard, who will retire at the end of the season.

And as the golf administrator for the WPGA, he knew that not all of the decisions he made off the course would make everyone happy. But he stayed the course in both of those areas, buoyed by the rules of golf in the one instance and 16 years of experience in the golf administration business prior to West Penn.

“I was relatively comfortable with that part of it,” he said.

Under his leadership, the WPGA has prospered and is now 27th in terms of size among 60 golf associations. It began the practice of accepting public courses and golfers as members, instituted a Player Honor Rolls, a Hall of Fame, a centennial celebration, a Fall Players Dinner and Public Links and Spring Stroke Play championships.

Rivard is a voracious reader and that includes the Rules of Golf, which has enabled him to be recognized for his rules knowledge when he posted superior test scores nearly 20 times. He’s taught rules workshops after attending nearly 40 PGA/USGA Rules of Golf Workshops.

“I’ve officiated all the USGA championships and really enjoyed it,” Rivard said. “I did 25 Mid-Amateurs and that’s my favorite. I liked doing the Am, too. The courses were good, people were good. I just liked the culture.” (more)

Rivard to retire as Executive Director

Posted Monday, June 15, 2015 •  • 

Jeffrey L. Rivard, who came from Michigan in 1993 to accept the Executive Director’s position with the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association, will retire at the end of this season. He will continue on a part-time basis lending his expertise to championships and special projects.

In his 22-years as CEO, the WPGA has more than doubled both Member Clubs to nearly 130 and individual members to over 27,000. The Association’s financial assets have increased nearly seven fold.

Among the Association’s achievements include accepting public courses and golfers into membership, programs including Player Honor Rolls, Hall of Fame, a centennial celebration, 1998-99, a Fall Players Dinner, Public Links and Spring Stroke Play championships. Other enhancements during his tenure include publications, web-site, meetings, workshops, development of the West Penn Open into an event with one of the area’s top purses and strongest fields, and association reorganization. The WPGA has received several awards and recognition for excellence among golf associations of its size for overall programming and administration of GHIN, the USGA’s Golf Handicap & Information Network. (more)

For President Tim Fitzgerald's comments, please click here.