Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gcc Junior Defends Title

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gcc Junior Defends Title

Article excerpt

Things could not have started off better at the WPIAL Class AA individual golf championships for Olivia Zambruno.

Not only did the Greensburg Central Catholic junior come in as the overwhelming favorite to win the title, she opened her day with a birdie at the 267-yard, par-4 first hole.

That was when things skewed a bit. The defending WPIAL and PIAA champion uncharacteristically bogeyed three consecutive holes at Rolling Hills Country Club and was, for a time, looking up the leader board at her playing partner, Marissa Kirkwood of Neshannock.

In the end, though, everything balanced out the way most expected and Zambruno walked off the course with her second consecutive gold medal. This time, however, it wasn't nearly as close as it initially appeared as she finished with a 3-over 76 that was five strokes better than Kirkwood.

"I guess I felt a little more pressure because of the win last year," Zambruno said. "But I knew I just had to keep practicing and preparing for this because I wanted to come back and win again."

Zambruno came into the event as the top qualifier from the sectionals after shooting a blistering 3-under 69 at Butler's Lakeside Golf Course, which was 13 shots better than 2014 WPIAL runner-up, senior Audrey Dougherty of Freeport. Last year, Dougherty pushed Zambruno to the limit as the two were tied after 17 holes at Willowbrook Country Club, but Dougherty bogeyed No. 18 as Zambruno parred to take home the title.

This, however, isn't the same player who eked out a win a year ago. In April, Zambruno competed in the second annual Drive, Chip and Putt competition at Augusta National as a precursor for The Masters and finished 10th in her age group.

Preparing for that event as well as for other tournaments has forced Zambruno to really evaluate her game.

"My game has definitely improved and I had a great summer with tournaments and everything and I knew that if I keep practicing every day, it will still be strong," Zambruno said. …

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