He has one of the more unique names of all of the boys competing in high school golf in the WPIAL.
For Nicklaus Cuny, however, a 16-year-old member of the Central Catholic High School golf team, the name he was given to honor the talent of the legendary Golden Bear is as unique as the names his siblings bear.
Older brother Hogan (named for Ben Hogan) and younger brother Palmer (named for Arnold Palmer) also are named for two other legendary golfers. But Cuny, a Cranberry resident and a junior at Central, said that when he introduces himself to people, he gets a nod of appreciation from them.
"I don't really get teased about the name," he said. "People who know golf think it's cool."
Cuny hasn't met the golfer he's named after, but younger brother Palmer met "The King" when the Cuny family was in Latrobe for a tournament.
"Palmer had his picture taken with Arnold Palmer," Cuny said. "Palmer [the legend] thought it was funny."
Cuny's game, though, is nothing to be laughed at.
He placed sixth at the WPIAL Class AAA tournament on Oct. 2 at Diamond Run Golf Club with a 1-over-par round of 71.
Two other juniors -- Taylor Allderdice's Sasha Lobel and Hempfield's Javon Trout -- finished just behind Cuny with rounds of 72 and 73, respectively, and qualified along with Cuny for the PIAA Western Regional Wednesday at Tom's Run Golf Course in Blairsville.
Cuny said he's able to drive the ball accurately between 250 and 260 yards off the tee, a little shorter than some of his foes and certainly short of one of his teammates, the big-hitting Brent Rodgers.
Where he's able to make up strokes, though, is on his approach shots to the green and with his putting once he gets there.
His coach, Corey O'Connor, marvels at Cuny's ability to slim down his score once he gets close to the green.
"He hits more greens in regulation than anyone on our team," O'Connor said. "It's been around seven [during a nine-hole round]. If there's any pressure, it doesn't bother him."
Cuny said there's a reason why his short game is so effective.
"I work pretty hard on [the short game]," he said. "The best part of my game is the wedge because you are able to get some spin on the ball that you wouldn't with an 8-iron. You want to avoid being above the hole as much as possible when you're putting."
Cuny and his Vikings' teammates competed in the first round of the WPIAL team tournament Tuesday at Ponderosa Golf Course in Beaver County, where they finished second to Upper St. Clair.
He said winning isn't so crucial in the first round as much as it is at the championship event which is scheduled to take place today at Cedarbrook Golf Club in Belle Vernon.
"We have a lot to look forward to," he said. "This is a team that works hard as a team. I didn't know about it as much as a freshman, but I learned a lot last year. It's important that you play for your team."
Regardless of what happened in the team tournament, Cuny is assured of at least one match at Tom's Run. O'Connor believes he has a good chance to do well at Blairsville.
"He has the type of game where he won't overpower the course," O'Connor said. "But if he thinks it through, stays steady and hits a lot of greens, he'll be effective at Tom's Run."
First Published October 9, 2013 8:00 PM