Plum sophomore’s game grows heading into high school golf season


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Sunday, August 7, 2022 | 8:01 AM


Wes Lorish said he didn’t play his best golf last week at the 46th Junior PGA Championship at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Palos Park, Ill., but the Plum sophomore and returning WPIAL individual semifinalist said he was grateful for the opportunity to test his mettle with some of the top junior golfers in the United States and internationally.

“It was an awesome and very humbling experience,” Lorish said. “I’ve taken a lot out of this, just from these past two days. I am going to continue working my hardest going into this high school season and see what I can do there. It’s an honor to play at this level against some of the top players in the country.”

Lorish was one of the younger competitors in the 156-player field. He was one of just 30 who were sophomores or younger going up against mostly high school juniors and seniors and recent high school graduates getting seen to play in college.

Storms delayed the start of Lorish’s second round on Aug. 3. He completed 14 holes before darkness brought the round to a halt. He finished the final four holes in the morning Aug. 4.

“That last hole, it was really tough to see,” said Lorish shortly after play was suspended. “I was standing over my ball on the tee box, and everything just looked blurry.

“I didn’t play my greatest golf (in the second round Aug. 3). The weather delay hurt a little bit. I kind of lost my groove. Waiting that long, it’s sometimes kind of tough to go out and play your best.”

Despite not making the cut, Lorish did make a four-stroke improvement from his first round, finishing with a 5-over 77. He was 14-over for 36 holes, placing him tied for 112th overall.

He was one stroke away from a group tied for 106th which included Cranberry Township’s Nolan Nicklas.

Canonsburg’s Rocco Salvitti, a Central Catholic senior, was near the top of the leaderboard.

Lorish played extensively this spring and summer and qualified for the Junior PGA Championship with a tie for second place with Nicklas at the Tri-State PGA Championship at Fox Run in Beaver Falls on June 10.

He shot 3-under (70-71—141) for the 36-hole, one-day event.

Salvitti won the Tri-State Jr. PGA title at 5-under.

“I played really good golf there,” Lorish said. “I was really happy with the way I played. I played in a couple of 36-hole tournaments in one day this year. That’s a lot of golf in one day. It’s tough physically, but you have to be prepared mentally and stay focused.”

Plum were scheduled to begin tryouts on its home course at Willowbrook Country Club on Monday. The season for all teams in the WPIAL starts Thursday.

Sophomore Tim Pease, along with Lorish, represented Plum at the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals last year on Plum’s home course in Apollo.

Both challenged for one of the top 36 spots that advanced to the finals, but they came up just short of their goal.

In addition to individual goals in the WPIAL and beyond, Lorish and Pease hope to help the Mustangs team make the most of its opportunities in a new season.

“I think the team looks pretty good this year,” Lorish said. “We have a couple good freshmen who are coming up who should challenge for a starting spot if they keep up the good work. We also have a few seniors who are returning who are really solid. It would be nice to challenge for a section and WPIAL championship this year.”

With the likes of seniors Jacob Pedley and Nick Daniels and junior Carson Yocca also back, the Mustangs hope to be able to overcome several challenges in the section, including those from 2021 WPIAL team qualifiers Franklin Regional and Central Catholic.

Pease said that a busy 2022 of work on area courses has primed him for team matches and individual goals this fall. He started the year with a Hurricane Jr. Tour tournament in South Carolina in February.

He tied for 21st out of 36 at a Hurricane boys 16-18 tournament July 30-31 at Penn State.

“I told my dad as soon as we got in the car (after last year’s WPIAL semifinals) that I am going to work hard to get to the state finals,” Pease said. “I put in so much work last summer, and I was able to achieve a lot of my (freshman) goals. It all comes down to limiting mistakes and having the confidence to go out and succeed.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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