Mt. Lebanon golfers going for the gold
Lebo golfers look to add gold to their wardrobe
This fall, many of the men on the Mt. Lebanon golf team have worn the Green Jacket, having mastered the short-game competitions held during practice. This week, the Blue Devils hope to add gold medals to their wardrobe as they embark on WPIAL championship action.
After qualifying matches earlier this week (Oct. 10, past press time), the top squads advance to the WPIAL finals set for Oct. 12 at Cedar Brook Country Club in Belle Vernon.
“Our most popular practice is the one where the winner gets to wear the Green Jacket, modeled after the Masters Tournament for the week,” explained Lebo coach Al D’Alo. “It brings a level of fun to our team and a competitive edge.”
During the regular season, the Blue Devils indeed have been competitive. They compiled a 14-3 overall record and captured the Section 6 title with an undefeated slate of 12-0. As a team, they have averaged under 40 per nine holes.
“That keeps us competitive with almost every team,” explained D’Alo. “As a team, we are pretty strong but to be the top teams in the WPIAL, we need to be closer to par which is usually around 35.”
Individually, Lebo has had multiple golfers shoot either at or below par during match play this autumn. Cory Koval, Hayden Mitchell, JT Nicholas, Paul Linkowski and Luke Rolfsen have produced some notable achievements.
All have shot even par or better with Rolfsen having a low round of 3-under-par for a 32 score. Additionally, Koval and Sheamus Cochran both qualified for the WPIAL individual championships. Sophomore Myle Hammel and senior Luke Vater have also made “significant” contributions to the team.
Leadership and camaraderie have played key roles in Lebo’s success. D’Alo cites Nicholas, Koval, Rolfsen and Vater as primary examples.
Nichols displays a “calm and mature demeanor” toward his school work and his game that the younger golfers “have paid attention to how he maintains his emotions” throughout a round, says D’Alo.
Koval helped pilot an app called Lucid, which helps build mental strength on and off the course. He has used the app for two years.
“His performance has been more consistent than many of the others on our team,” D’Alo said. “He is willing to take chances to improve his game.”
Meanwhile, Rolfsen and Vater have demonstrated “excellent etiquette and manners” on the course, the bus and around school. “They never have a negative word to say about any situation and have always been willing to play with any golfer from our team or any other team. True gentlemen of the sport,” D’Alo said.
“All-in-all our team has excellent chemistry,” he added. “Everyone has a role and our performance has exceeded my expectations.”
As for the WPIAL team playoffs, D’Alo’s expectations are for consistency. He anticipates his squad will continue its “high level” of play.
“I hope we have a great day when it matters,” he added. “You need to perform and get a little bit of luck to succeed at this level because of the quality of your competitors.”