Athlete of the Week – Josh Verner
Name: Josh Verner
School: Peters Township
Verner’s Week: Verner opened the week by winning the Central Dauphin Invitation, shooting a 4-under-par 68 at Dauphins Highlands Golf Course to take first place in the event. Verner’s score helped the Peters Township White Team take first place in the team standings. The event drew 74 teams from around the state.
Verner followed that effort up the following day when he was medalist with a 1-over-par 37 at Rolling Hills Country Club and helped the Indians defeat Trinity in a Section 7-AAA match.
Finally, Verner shot a 1-over-par 35 at St. Clair Country Club as Peters Township defeated arrival Upper St. Clair by one stroke in a Section 7-AAA match.
One hot streak: Verner’s 4-under par was the best competitive round of his career, and it included five consecutive birdies from his shotgun start.
“That’s the most birdies I made in a row,” said Verner. “I was really hitting it close to the pin.”
Verner birdied Nos. 2 through 6, mainly with excellent approach shots that left short putts.
“I was hitting pitching wedges and 50 degree sand wedges in close,” Verner said. “On one of the par-5s, I hit driver and 7-iron onto the green and was putting for an eagle.”
Verner finished with a career-best 31 on the front nine.
Motivation: Verner has been a three-year starter for the Indians, and spent his freshman season with the junior varsity team. He started playing at 10 but did not start competitive golf until a few years later.
“My dad would take me out, and I’d hit it around,” he said. “But I never took it seriously.”
That changed when he reached ninth grade and discovered he was pretty good at the game. He was the No. 5 man as a sophomore and spent last season as the No. 2 man behind Tommy Nettles.
That group finished runner-up to Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the WPIAL Team Tournament.
“I struggled at the end of the season,” Verner said. “I made it through the first round of the WPIALs but didn’t get to the finals.”
This season, Verner is sure he will do better and has special motivation.
“I mark my golf ball with an “M” and “P” every time I go out,” he said. “It’s for my grandma, Maxine Page, who’s been sick. I’ve been doing that since the beginning of the season, and the last two weeks, I’ve played my best golf.”
Compiled by Joe Tuscano