New Castle News

Sports

October 1, 2013

Fall Sports: A roundup of action from September 30

NEW CASTLE — Neshannock High’s Marissa Kirkwood is enjoying the fruits of her labor — or as she refers to it, the icing on her cake.

Kirkwood, a sophomore, shot an 85 yesterday on the hilly, tree-lined Hillcrest Country Club to finish in eighth place in the WPIAL Class AA Individual Championship and advance to the PIAA Western Regional Golf Tournament on Oct. 16.

“My goal was to make it to states,” Kirkwood said. “I told myself that I wasn’t missing the cut. I worked hard all summer long and I’m happy to get there. My motto has been to survive and advance. Now, everything else is like icing on the cake.

“Overall, it was a pretty average round. Every round, you say you could save an extra shot or two. Today was definitely a day I could’ve saved some shots. My irons were off and my putting was what kept me in it. Putting had been my weak spot. I was able to get up and down to save par a couple times and I’m happy with that.”

The trip to the PIAA Western Regional Tournament, which will be held at Tom’s Run Golf Course in Blairsville, will be Kirkwood’s first as a contestant. The top-10 qualifiers from the Western Regional will advance to the PIAA Finals at Heritage Hills Golf Resort and Conference Center in York on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22.

“I played there last year during a practice round when Matt Cioffi qualified and my dad took him out,” Marissa Kirkwood said of Tom’s Run. “Every course has its ups and downs and every course is different, but it’s comparable to the New Castle Country Club, which I’m pretty comfortable with. If the greens are like New Castle’s, I should be able to put up a good number.”

With trees lining the fairways and sand traps placed strategically around the greens, Hillcrest Country Club proved to be a difficult course to navigate.

“The course was playing really tough,” said Neshannock coach Mike Kirkwood, who is also Marissa’s dad. “It’s a tight golf course. It’s tree lined and was difficult to drive on. There were a couple of holes I didn’t think she should have used her driver on, but she did and we talked about it. There were a lot of sand traps around the greens, which made it difficult to hit wedges.

“But, she played really well. She was at even par through six, but had two double bogies in a row. She had to take a playable lie a couple times, but she came back and pulled through.”

Central Valley’s Macky Fouse won the WPIAL championship with a 2-over-par 75.

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