BLAIRSVILLE - For a little more than two years, Central Cambria senior golfer Max Kirsch has bonded with Richland senior Brady Moran.
Call it a friendly rivalry.
The two have especially seen a lot of each other the past few weeks leading up to the PIAA Class AA Western Regional at Tom's Run Golf Course.
Mirror photo by Nate Foreman
Central Cambria’s Max Kirsch watches his shot at the PIAA?Western?Regional Monday.
And after their rounds Monday, it's only fitting they will play against each other one last time in a scholastic setting as both made the cut and advanced to next week's state championship tournament.
It will be Kirsch's first trip to York.
"It's definitely a relief," Kirsch said of finishing tied for fifth and qualifying for states. "Today, I just wanted to make the top 20 and move on. I missed a lot of putts for birdie by a couple of inches. It's frustrating, but you just have to keep playing and focus on the next shot."
Top 12 advance
1, Kevin O'Brien, North Allegheny, 35-36-71; 2, Brett Rinker, Slippery Rock, 38-34-72; 3, Tommy Nettles, Peters Township, 39-34-73; 4, Matt Holuta, Indiana, 39-35-74; 5, Thomas Steve, Upper St. Clair, 41-34-75; 6, Brody Taylor, Bethel Park, 38-38-76; 7-t, Grant Engel, Upper St. Clari, 39-38-77; 7-t, Bill Clark, Valley, 37-40-77; 7-t, Max Doran, Penn Trafford, 39-38-77; 10, Dan McNeill, Brashear, 41-37-78; 11-t, Chad Kissell, Greater Latrobe, 41-38-79; 11-t, Jesse Phlegar, Blackhawk, 43-36-79.
15-t, Ben Gelenberg, State College, 41-40-81; 15-t, Tyrus Gates, State College, 44-37-81.
Top 20 advance
1, Alex Patricio, Yough, 34-38-72; 2-t, Owen Miller, Burgettstown, 37-37-74; 2-t, Brady Moran, Richland, 38-36-74; 2-t, Matt Barto, Leechburg, 38-36-74; 5-t, Max Kirsch, Central Cambria, 41-36-77; 5-t, Jesse Vensel, McGuffey, 38-39-77; 5-t, Keenan Hickton, Sewickley Academy, 41-36-77; 8-t, Elliott Struble, Elk County Catholic, 39-39-78; 8-t, Trevor Rodgers, Cambridge Springs, 40-38-78; 8-t, Jordan Milo, Sewickley Academy, 41-37-78; 8-t, Matt Cioffi, Neshannock, 36-42-78; 12-t, Jordan Klodowski, Kittanning, 40-39-79; 12-t, Josh Strawins, East Allegheny, 40-39-79; 14-t, JJ McCabe, Northern Bedford, 43-37-80; 14-t, Ian Illig, Homer-Center, 41-39-80; 14-t, Brian Ropiecki, North East, 41-39-80; 14-t, Loren Dukate, Waynesburg, 42-38-80; 14-t, Max Kaminsky, Serra Catholic, 38-42-80; 14-t, Michael Langley, California, 42-38-80; 14-t, Teven Vargo, Harbor Creek, 43-37-80.
28-t, Kevin McDaniel, Bedford, 41-43-84; 31-t, Tyler Tiesi, Northern Cambria, 43-42-85; 37-t, Tyler Brown, Claysburg-Kimmel, 49-39-88; 39, Garrett Bastardi, St. Joseph, 45-44-89; 41, Kyle Walters, Everett, 49-43-92; 42, Nolan Pritts, North Star, 49-46-95.
Top 6 advance
1, Lauren Waller, Canon McMillan, 38-34-72; 2, Janista Numpho-Frank, Hempfield Area, 39-40-79; 3, Haley Borkovich, Penn Trafford, 42-41-83; 4, Lizzie Hammell, North Allegheny, 42-42-84; 5-t, Shannon Gramley, Shady Side Academy, 44-42-86; Johnna Beehner, Gateway, 42-44-86.
10, Jessalyn Holdcroft, State College, 48-45-93.
Top 10 advance
1, Megan Moylan, North East, 36-41-77; 2, Macky Fouse, Central Valley, 40-38-78; 3-t, Kristy Hanes, Elk County Catholic, 43-39-82; 3-t, Rosy Hearns, Hickory, 41-41-82; 3-t, Maddy McDaniel, Central Valley, 39-43-82; 6, Marissa Sudar, Central Valley, 40-43-83; 7-t, Audrey Clawson, Freeport, 42-43-85; 7-t, Gillian Alexander, Jefferson Morgan, 42-43-85; 9, Amber Hess, Keystone, 44-43-87; 10, Annie Ciacchini, Villa Marie, 47-42-89.
13-t, Kinsley Bonfilio, St. Joseph, 46-46-92; 13-t, Logan Brallier, Everett, 42-50-92; 15, Morgan Spaid, Cambria Heights, 49-45-94; 16, Kayla Orr, Bishop McCort, 47-50-97; 21, Kourtney Mortimer, Bedford, 60-47-107.
Kirsch shot a 41 on the front nine and a 36 on the back for a 77, five strokes behind Yough's Alex Patricio's first-place even-par 72.
As was the case in the District 6 qualifier and the District 6 championships, Kirsch spaced out his bogeys and limited the damage in another consistent round. He had 12 pars Monday.
"I just hit a lot of greens. I get up and down a lot," he said. "When I have a bad hole, I usually three-putt or something like that. But it's never anything in stretches and it's never anything too damaging."
Moran, who finished second to Kirsch in each of the last two district finals, once again one-upped Kirsch at the regional. He tied for second with a 74.
"I started a lot better than I finished," Moran said of his round. "I was pretty confident throughout the day. At the end, I just started letting off the gas and tried to play conservative because my main goal was to make it to states.
"I'm just happy to be going to states."
The rivalry will resume Monday in the PIAA Championship first round at Heritage Hills.
"We just have a lot of fun," Kirsch said. "We play a lot on the weekends, too. We're competitive, silently, but it'll be a lot of fun. I'm definitely looking forward to it."
And Moran will even offer pointers since he qualified for states last year.
"We'll both get to practice together, talk about the course and everything," Moran said. "Hopefully I'll be able to help him out because I was there last year. Hopefully we do well."
Northern Bedford's J.J. McCabe also will making the trip to York after finishing in a seven-way tie for 14th with an 80, just making the cut of 20 individuals.
"I played pretty well," McCabe said. "I kept my misses playable. I got up-and-down on the back probably four or five times in a row.
"I've pretty much played in the shadows of [former District 5 champions] Cameron [Sprowles] and Brady [Smith]. To shake them off and finally make it [to states] is pretty awesome."
Bedford's Kevin McDaniel (84) tied for 28th, Northern Cambria's Tyler Tiesi (85) tied for 31st, Claysburg-Kimmel's Tyler Brown (88) tied for 37th and Everett's Kyle Walters (92) was 41st.
In the girls Class AA championship, no area golfers cracked the top 10, but there was movement among the District 6 leaders.
Cambria Heights' Morgan Spaid - who finished third at districts - finished in 15th with a 94, three strokes ahead of Bishop McCort's Kayla Orr and two strokes behind St. Joseph's Kinsley Bonfilio, who finished second and first, respectively, last week.
Everett's Logan Brallier was the highest area finisher, carding a 92 and tying for 13th. Bedford's Kourtney Mortimer was 21st with a 107. North East's Megan Moylan earned the regional title with a 77.