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In The Arena: McCarthy Sets Fuhrer Record, Stimmel Holds Off Youth

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Dan McCarthy (left) poses with Frank Fuhrer and the $40,000 winner's check on Wednesday at the Field Club. (TRI-STATE PGA)

As the only player to shoot in the 60s all four rounds, Korn Ferry Tour member Dan McCarthy won his second Frank B. Fuhrer Invitational in three years on Wednesday afternoon at the Pittsburgh Field Club in Fox Chapel.

McCarthy, a 34-year-old from upstate New York, fired a 4-under 66 in the final round of the three-day tournament, finishing at a tourney-record 14 under for 72 holes — one stroke ahead of Penn-Trafford grad Dan Obremski.

Obremski started Wednesday three ahead of McCarthy, a five-time pro tour winner, including a victory on the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour last year. The two Dans were several shots clear of the rest of the field after 54 holes, making the final pairing a de facto match for the $40,000 winner’s prize.

The margin was two at the turn of the final 18, but McCarthy came home in 32 on three birdies and no bogeys. Obremski rallied with a bird on No. 17 to jump back into a tie, but a bogey on the par-3 last gave McCarthy the crown.

Obremski, who is not currently active on any major North American pro tour, still earned the biggest check of his career: $20,000 for the solo runner-up finish. His 13-under total would’ve won the Fuhrer in any other year.

Not that the Field Club’s 6,800-yard layout was completely overpowered by another strong field, which included several touring pros in addition to the usual collection of Tri-State PGA qualifiers. Besides the two-horse race for the crown, the only other player under par for the event was 30-year-old PGA Tour rookie and Ontario native Michael Gilgic (3 under).

Among the amateurs, Miami (Ohio) University rising senior and Shady Side Academy alum Jack Katarincic was the top gun for the second straight year, finishing tied for 15th in the 40-man field with a 5-over total. He beat Palmer Jackson, a Franklin Regional grad and current Notre Dame varsity player, by four.

In other scores of casual interest, former PGA Tour vet Steve Wheatcroft finished tied for 28th at 12 over, 500-goal NHL scorer Jeremy Roenick was 32nd (plus-16) and Mario Lemieux’s son Austin, varsity hockey player at Arizona State, pulled up the rear at 32 over.

The 40-player Frank B. Furher Invitational field poses after Wednesday’s final round at the Field Club. (TRI-STATE PGA)

STIMMEL A STROKE ABOVE AGAIN

The Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is building up to next week’s Amateur Championship, but this week featured another of the WPGA’s banner events: The Spring Stroke Play Championship at Westmoreland Country Club.

In the 27th edition of this 18-hole sprint, 52-year-old Rick Stimmel earned his third victory, shooting 4-under 67 to edge Robert Morris University fifth-year senior Kyle Grube and Allegheny College rising freshman Shane Kelley. Bethel Park’s Sean Edgar, a former No. 1 at Clarion University, was the only other player under par, posting a 70.

Stimmel, who didn’t make a bogey, commented to WPGA.org on holding off a host of hotshots less than half his age.

“It really has been amazing to see what’s happened over time,” Stimmel said. “I used to hit the ball a long way. I was the guy out front, but I’ve played with some of these kids and they’ve been 30-40 (yards) past me. It’s remarkable actually.”

Stimmel credited his strong short putting with keeping his round together, giving him just enough to fend off Grube, who hit 15 greens but twice made bogeys after strong drives. The Indiana native birdied the short par-4 18th, but it was too late.

“Yeah, I left a couple out there,” said Grube, one of many college golfers across the country who will take advantage of the NCAA’s COVID-19 exemption and return for a fifth year of eligibility.

Six-time Stroke Play champ Nathan Smith scored a top-10 finish with a 3-over 74. Coming off a withdrawal (wrist) at the Pittsburgh City Amateur, Sean Knapp shot 75, falling short in his attempt to win the event for a fourth time.

MORE REPEATS FOR JUNIORS

The Isaly’s Junior Tour rolled on with stops at Hannastown Golf Club in Greensburg and Cedarbrook Golf Course in Belle Vernon.

At Hannastown on Monday, Anthony Nuzzo (ages 17-18), Lukas Cascino (15-16) and Wes Lorish (11-14) collected victories on the boys’ side, while Lindsay Powanda (16-18) and Marissa Malosh (11-15) won on the girls’ side.

It was Malosh’s third win of the summer and the second for Powanda, whose margin of victory was an incredible 13 strokes. Lorish’s victory was his second, to go with the Junior PGA Championship two weeks ago.

At Cedarbrook’s Red Course on Wednesday, Lorish and Malosh repeated, giving them three and four Isaly’s wins this season, respectively. Malosh, the Isaly’s 11-15 girls player-of-the-year leader from South Fayette, won by three, while Plum’s Lorish prevailed by four. Lorish moved to second place in the player-of-the-year standings.

In the other competitions, Erin Drahnak shot 1 over to take the girls 17-18 title and maintain her player-of-the-year lead, Nolan Shilling finished 1 under for the 15-16 boys and Justin Scally’s 2-over total was good for a one-shot win in boys 17-18.

Lucy Rygleski of Aspinwall finished last in the girls 11-15 bracket, but recorded a hole-in-one on Cedarbrook’s 18th.

Next week, the juniors head to Grove City Country Club on Tuesday and Lone Pine CC in Washington on Wednesday.

A 15-year veteran of sports media, Matt Gajtka (GITE-kah) is the founding editor of PGN. Matt is a lifelong golfer with a passion for all aspects of the sport, from technique to courses to competition. His experience ranges from reporting on Pittsburgh's major-league beats, to broadcasting a variety of sports, to public relations, multimedia production and social media.

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