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Piatt’s Belief, Consistency Prevail At WPGA Amateur Championship



Throughout Tuesday’s final round of the 124th Western Pennsylvania Golf Association Amateur Championship. Nathan Piatt was quite stoic, clearly focused and refused to let any variable affect that.

A 73-minute rain delay with three holes remaining could have wreaked havoc, but all it did was make Piatt, who had a commanding four-stroke lead, play smart and sound golf, ultimately lifting the Fownes Trophy in victory.

As Piatt was set to put the trophy down, he stopped himself examining some of the names etched in, knowing his would forever be in the history books.

Arnold Palmer. Sean Knapp. Nathan Piatt.

“I’ve been hitting a lot of golf balls lately and making sure my swing is as sound as it can be,” Piatt exclaimed. “I’m just doing my everyday work to keep my game in check and this week it was good enough to win. I know my game’s good though, I’m not surprised, not to be cocky but I’ve been putting in a lot of work.”

Piatt, who recently graduated from Radford, entered Tuesday’s final round leading both Ryan Ferry and Nicholas Turowski by a stroke.

Ferry completed his career at Gannon University last month, and after having to return to Chartiers Country Club to play his back nine earlier Tuesday morning, his score gave way, only to stick an approach onto the par-5 18th hole to a few feet and use the momentum from the eagle.

Turowski will be a freshman at West Virginia in August and was the 2023 WPGA Junior Golfer of the Year. He came off a round of 66 and started fast in the final round making a birdie and tying Piatt’s lead.

All three backed up on the fourth hole, but Piatt was able to control his game, while the remaining duo compounded mistakes, backing up.

The same could be same for Chuck Tragesser whose 65 led all golfers after round one. He was within a shot of Piatt after he birdied the first as part of the penultimate group. He would not earn another circle, instead recording six bogeys and falling out of contention.

As Piatt prepared to make the turn, he could have lamented that several birdie looks did not fall, but instead orchestrated the ninth hole to where he could succeed.

“Nine is a pretty gettable hole but I knew if I put myself on one of those bunkers greenside, I would be pretty comfortable with hitting one close and getting my first birdie of the day,” determined Piatt. “It’s exactly like I did, played that hole exactly how I knew I could play it and it paid off. It started a little run for me.”

While Piatt was even par on his round after nine holes, his lead grew from one shot to four as the course showed its character.

Piatt stuck his tee shot on the par-3 11th hole, and when the ensuing birdie putt dropped, he was five clear with seven to play.

It was his ability to remain steady in his belief and trust within his game and felt that as a result of that, there was not much to worry about.

The weather delay threw Piatt for a loop but upon hearing the upcoming radar felt relieved to know he had a chance to secure a victory Tuesday.

He was in a good spot, and he knew it.

With Piatt’s parents looking on, he lifted the trophy, having won by that same four-stroke margin over a charging Rocco Salvitti.

In a week where Neal Shipley again made headlines for finishing as the low amateur at the U.S. Open and Knapp was defending his amateur championship title, it was Piatt’s continued improvement and conviction to getting better that won the day, further cementing the belief that golf in Western Pennsylvania is only getting better.

“Some of these kids are just so good and when I was in high school, I would get my butt kicked every week, shooting 75 and missing cuts,” Piatt revealed. “I think my game has excelled a lot and there’s so many good players in the area, you’ve got to play great golf to compete, even to be in contention. That makes winning that much better, I love the competition and playing alongside some of these great players.”



Rocco Salvitti started the final round at +3 and had an early blemish with a bogey on the second hole, but responded with a 63, not just the round of the tournament, but one stroke off the Chartiers Country Club record. Mind you, the course is celebrating its 100-year anniversary.

“After yesterday, it was hard to get the positive thoughts in my head, but I managed to do it well,” he responded. “I looked at it as a new day, a new opportunity and went out there and played my hardest. I put together a really good round, a round I’m very proud of.”

Salvitti had clear confidence in all aspects of his game, but it was the putter coming around which helped keep momentum.

One shot which continued momentum was a 102-yard, 54-degree effort out of a 17th hole bunker, with the lip right in front of him.

The result? Another birdie.

“I told myself that I had to stick to the shot I picked,” calculated Salvitti. “I chose to hit a 54-degree open the face, put it a little back in my stance and I stuck to that. I knew with how I’ve been playing, and I thought back to a shot I hit like that prior and I knew I could execute it and I did.”

Just under two years ago, Salvitti went on a run in the U.S. Junior Amateur, ultimately falling in the round of 64 to eventual champion Wenyi Ding.

Since then, Salvitti believes his game has come a long way, this after completing his freshman campaign at Notre Dame.

“I’ve matured a lot with my game, gotten a lot smarter on the golf course, my process has been great and my coaches at Notre Dame have helped me a lot with the gameplan aspect of it,” he explained. “I’ve done a really good job of learning from people at school, Palmer Jackson being one of them and it’s great to have a lot of people teaching you.”

Salvitti knows that within the next year, the USGA is bringing the U.S. Senior Women’s Open to Fox Chapel Golf Club and the U.S. Open to Oakmont Country Club, twice allowing fans to experience golf with Western Pennsylvania flavor.

As nice as that is for Salvitti, he has aspirations of inserting himself into his hometown major championship.

“Being a member at Oakmont, playing in the U.S. Open there, is my greatest goal right now,” concluded Salvitti. “I’m practicing hard, working hard every day, doing all of the things that I know will help me for the bigger picture so I can perform and possibly qualify for the U.S. Open at Oakmont.”


Chartiers Country Club is certainly familiar hosting this event for the fifth time and first since 1989. It was a fitting host given the club is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

The course played challenging throughout with four players finishing under par and four having sub-par final rounds.

“The course was phenomenal, this is the best I have seen the course,” Piatt critiqued. “It was enjoyable and every part of it was perfect. It was awesome, it’s really nice to see how good this place has come in the last few years.”

The course showed its teeth with a projected cut of +9 and defending champion Sean Knapp played through some discomfort, ultimately missing the cut.

Here is how the top 10 shook out.

  1. Nathan Piatt -8

  2. Rocco Salvitti -4

  3. Ryan Ferry -2

  4. Amani Dambrosio -1

T5. Michael Gielarowski E

T5. Willie Hoover E

T5. Nicholas Turowski E

T8. Gregor A Meyer +1

T8. Chuck Tragesser +1

T10. Alex Kennedy +3

T10. Kevin O’Brien +3

T10. Hunter Swidzinski +3

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