June 20, 2012
WASHINGTON - It's not often that a golfer can have their name engraved on the same trophy with Arnold Palmer, but Georgetown rising sophomore Greg Podufal (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep) will have to get used to it.
Podufal, who played in every tournament for the Hoyas as a freshman, shot a 3-under par 207 and won the 112th West Penn Amateur on Tuesday at the Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa.
Leading from start to finish, Podufal posted rounds of 5-under par 65, even-par 70 and 2-over par 72 to capture the tournament title and have his name go on the trophy, along with the likes of golf great Palmer, who won the same even five times.
"It does a lot for me as far as confidence goes," Podufal said over the phone. "I don't' know if people realize how hard it is to win a golf tournament and to do it from start to finish. And to win and beat some of the names that were in this field, some of the best amateurs in the state means a lot. It's also pretty cool that my name will go on the same trophy Arnold Palmer won."
Podufal, who is caddying at the Kahkwa Club this summer, took advantage of his knowledge of the course to jump out to the early lead and never looked back.
"It's a Donald Ross course so there are a lot of tricky greens and they get very fast," he said. "From caddying up here and knowing that as I do, I think it helped me out a lot."
Podufal had a five-stroke lead going into the final round and, despite a pair of bogies in the final four holes, still won by four shots.
"I was 2-under through 12 holes so at that point, I just kind of wanted to make sure I didn't do anything really stupid coming in," Podufal said.
Playing in his hometown and on the course he's working at this summer, Podufal also had quite the cheering section. "My family was there and some friends as well as my high school coach," he said. "And the guys I'm caddying with this summer all came out to watch. It really was a fun experience."
After a freshman season in which he posted two top-15 finishes and six among the top-30 while finishing fourth on the team in stroke average at 74.69, Podufal hopes this win and his play this summer will help turn into another successful season on the Hilltop.
"Golf is a game of confidence," he said. "It's one of those games where one day you feel like you can hit any shot and the next day, you could feel like you don't even know how to hit the ball. It just puts it in your mind that you know you can do it. It shows that you can believe you can do something and go out and do it. We've got a lot of solid players on our team and we'll finish strong next year. I'm really excited for it."
Podufal plans to play in several other events this summer, with the West Penn Open and qualifying for the Pennsylvania Amateur on his schedule.