Last Updated: Tue Sep 06, 2022 - 3:49PM
Earlier in his high school career, Hunter Jurica likely would have never expected that he’d capture an individual championship. After a strong junior season though, the Derry Area standout golfer carried momentum into his senior campaign.
Last Friday, that yielded a breakthrough performance for Jurica, as he convincingly won the Westmoreland County Coaches Association (WCCA) Boys Golf Tournament at the Latrobe Elks Golf Club. Jurica fired a two-under par 70, three strokes ahead of a pair of runners up.
“It was overwhelming at a point. Eventually when people started coming over and were saying congratulations, it just started feeling really good,” Jurica said of the emotions of capturing the county crown.
To do so, he outplayed some of the top competitors in the region, including reigning WPIAL Class AAA champion Penn-Trafford junior Nick Turowski, who shot 73 and tied for second with Franklin Regional’s Nolan Shilling.
Jurica, who benefited from playing on his home course on the front nine, was four-under through eight holes, and held a comfortable lead for most of the round. He credited his putting as the biggest factor in his success.
“The putter was definitely on fire that day,” he stated. “The birdie putts I made were not short ones. I was making some good eight, 10-footers.
“Putts are starting to fall; swing’s starting to feel good; I’m beating guys that I would look up to and wouldn’t even think I would have a chance with,” he continued.
His impressive play dates back to last year, as Jurica qualified for the PIAA championship, and placed sixth.
Now, Jurica aspires to continue his career collegiately, and says a decision could come soon. First, though, he has his sights set on winning a fourth team section title with the Derry Area Trojans. After that, he wants to return to the PIAA individual competition, and claim another title.
“This year, I’m going to try to make a run at it – win that AA state championship,” he said.
In the WCCA team competition, Greensburg Central Catholic shot 396, bettering Derry Area (403) and Belle Vernon Area (417) to win Class AA. Meanwhile in Class AAA, Norwin took first, shooting a 403 to narrowly edge Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford, which tied at 406.