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IN THE ARENA: Tanabe Brothers Reign, Van Sickle Cashes In Big



Chris and Alex Tanabe pose on the 18th at Shannopin CC. (WPGA)

While siblings often bicker endlessly, relatives worked together this week in their quests for a championship. Shannopin Country Club in Ben Avon Heights hosted the 72nd WPGA Brothers Tournament on Friday, with 20 teams on the slate.

Chris Tanabe, who wrapped up his collegiate career at Bucknell in the spring, won the better-ball tournament alongside his brother Alex. The two had played together since the age of three or four, but Chris said the brothers had never competed as a team before.

“Our games absolutely complement each other,” Chris said. “We noticed where one aspect of our games let us down, the others picked us up at the right times. We recovered really well from poor shots.”

The duo shot even on the back nine to squeak out a one-shot victory, after making the turn with a 4-under 31. A pivotal moment came on the par 5 15th, where Chris made a 20-foot putt for birdie.

“We had lost some momentum on the back nine and that was a much needed putt and birdie for us,” Alex said.

Their 4-under 67 edged a group of three duos at 3 under: Brett and Brock Bergman of Oakmont Country Club, Luke and Evan Lestini of Hickory Heights Golf Club, and Kevin and Brian Fajt from Hannastown GC. No other groups broke par.


It wasn’t easy, but local talent Mike Van Sickle took the low-professional crown at the Tri-State PGA’s Meadows 5 Million Dollar Challenge on Monday.

A golf instructor for No Offseason Sports in Mars, Van Sickle posted a 5-under 67 at Valley Brook Country Club in Canonsburg, and won the ensuing playoff over Rob McClellan to take home the $10,000 pot.

McClellan, who stormed into contention with a 33 on the back nine, didn’t come away empty handed. He made $6,000 for his efforts, with Gene Walter’s 68 earning himself $4,000.

In the team competition, the Turek-Hetherington-Anderson-Detzel-McDonough foursome finished first at 22 under par, coming away with $3,000. The best-two-scores-of-five scoring format encouraged aggression, with the field recording 102 eagles and 151 birdies in total.


The 47th C.R. Miller Match Play Invitational took place on Monday and Tuesday at Greensburg’s Hannastown Golf Club in Greensburg, as junior golfers battled in tense head-to-head duels.

Sixteen players made up the boys bracket, with eight in the girls competition.

Just one week after winning the WPGA Junior championship, Weston Warden kept his fiery run ablaze in Greensburg. The Shady Side Academy senior won his first matchup 3&2, before dominating in the quarterfinals.

The matches became tighter as he went along. Warden won his semifinal match 2&1, and finished 1-up on Nolan Schilling in the final.

On the girls side, Lihini Ranaweera coasted in the first round, before narrowly defeating Victoria Witouski in the semifinals.

Ranaweera, a sophomore at Seneca Valley, beat Marissa Malosh in the championship. The champion never trailed, but the match remained consistently tight.

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