Boys’ golf coach Bryan Deal doesn’t hold back when heaping on the praise for Scott Bitar, a junior who has come into his own this season.
“Scott is our most improved player this year,” says head coach Bryan Deal. “I am very proud of the effort that Scott has put forth toward the growth of his overall game. He has all the talent and skill to be great and his passion for the game is obvious.”
Last year as a sophomore Scott played varsity all year, but he spent the summer competing at some of the region’s top tournaments to perfect his game. This season, he’s one reason why the Foxes are undefeated in section play so far and show promise of making another appearance in the WPIAL playoffs.
“It took a lot of hard work for me to go from barely making varsity my freshman year, to being one of the top players on the team,” says the junior. “I had to practice a lot and really needed to improve my short game and putting.”
He qualified for the West Penn Amateur Championship with a score of 68 that tied that of teammate, senior Gregor Meyer, a former WPIAL champion for the Foxes.
“On the 36-hole day, I played poorly in the first round, but in the second round of the day, I was playing great and was several strokes under par when they had to cancel the second round due to rain,” Scott says.
Actually it was more than rain; it was the monsoon-like weather that flooded the entire Fox Chapel area, and then some. Scott didn’t end up playing in the rescheduled tournament because of a conflict with a school tournament – the 9th Garrison Latrobe Invitational in which the Foxes finished second, thanks in part to Scott’s impressive scores.
He did get in a few other summer tournaments, including a couple of Amateur Junior Golf Association (AJGA) events. He says his proudest moment so far in his golfing career came at one of those invitationals.
“It was a one-day qualifier at the New Era Junior Championship at Peek‘n Peak in Clymer, New York,” Scott says of the July tournament. “I won the qualifier, but took 13th in the tournament. I’d say that course was the most difficult one I’ve played because of how firm and fast the greens were.”
The challenge of playing on tough courses can sometimes hinder a young athlete’s performance, but Scott knows what drives his own success and what doesn’t.
“If I’m having a great game, it’s usually because of my mental state,” he says. “I play best if I am relaxed and confident.”
Ironically, Scott has been golfing for about 10 years, but didn’t start to take it seriously until a few years ago. Now that he has, Coach Deal predicts great things are in store for him and adds, “Scott has a very bright future ahead of him in his golfing career well beyond high school.”
For Scott, those predictions are, in part, due to him taking lessons learned in the past and applying them to his life and his game now.
“I learned how to have perspective and that a lot of things you worry and stress about don’t really matter in the face of real problems,” he says after reflecting upon what could have happened in a the blink of an eye when four of his teammates were seriously injured in a car accident just days before the 2018 WPIAL team championships. “What really matters are friends and family.”