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107th #GAPJunior: Day Two Notebook

#GAPJunior becomes a Scranton sojourn

Country Club of Scranton saw four of its members — James Flickinger, Michael Sewack, and the Lynch twins, Michael and Thomas — advance to Day Two of the 107th Junior Boys’ Championship on Tuesday at Overbrook Golf Club (par 70, 6,359 yards).

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Good thing they all established an itinerary in advance. Michael Lynch, father of the Lynch twins, handled lodging. Beth Flickinger, James’ mother, handled meals. And the boys handled golf business at Overbrook.

“I enjoyed the greens here a lot, and Overbrook has been one of the best courses I played at so far,” Michael Lynch, 17, of Dunmore, Pa., a rising senior at Scranton Preparatory School, said.

Lynch fell to The 1912 Club’s Joshua Ryan, the tournament’s defending champion, 7&5, in the Round of 16. His brother Thomas, playing in the First Flight bracket, knocked off Waynesborough Country Club’s Chad Kemmerer, 5&4, in the Round of 16. He then snuck past Meadia Heights Golf Club’s Logan Wagner in 20 holes.  

“It’s nice. I would’ve liked to see more of our guys play tomorrow, but it’s match play, so anything can happen. I’m hoping to win this and bring the trophy back home to them,” Thomas, 17, of Dunmore, Pa., also a rising senior at Scranton Preparatory School, said.

In the First Flight Round of 16, Flickinger lost in 19 holes to Matthew Normand of Laurel Creek Country Club. Sewack also bowed there, 2-up, to Sean Kelly of Bucknell Golf Club.

 “The course is a lot hillier and tighter than our home course, which is flatter and more spread out,” James Flickinger, 17, of Scranton, Pa., a rising senior at Abington Heights High School, said. “But it’s great getting out here representing Scranton, and I hope to compete in more events in this area shortly.”

The Scranton contingent spent a lot of time practicing for the Junior Boys’ Championship. Their respective parents have helped tremendously by planning out the logistical side of the trip.

“I usually end up booking what hotels all of us stay at during these types of trips,” Michael Lynch, 50, of Dunmore, Pa., said. “It’s something I don’t mind doing because I have a lot of experience on what to expect, and it helps all of the other families who participate.”

For this event, the Scranton members are staying at Fairfield Inn & Suites in Broomall, Pa.

“During these tournaments, I end up planning out dinner reservations ranging from 15 to 20 people including kids, adults, and their caddies,” Beth Flickinger, 50, of Scranton, Pa., said. “I know as parents we want to create a big family atmosphere for these kids and make sure they have fun while they are at these events.”

One of the places that the Scranton members ate at was Firepoint Grill in Newtown Square, Pa.

As for the kids, they spend almost every day playing with each other in Scranton, whether practicing golf or hanging out.

“Right before we all come down, we’re on the range together, practicing, helping each other with our games, giving each other advice, so we can all come down here and play well in the tournament,” Michael Lynch said. “It brings us closer together because when one of us does well, iIt allows us to rally around that person.”

“We’re all buddies up there, and it’s a pretty awesome friendship we formed over the years,” James said. “Everyone from our club back home has been encouraging us to play well in this tournament, which means a lot.”

Debusschere finds golf along sports journey

At the end of eight grade, Jackson Debusschere needed to give up ice hockey and soccer due to a concerning medical condition. The Springhaven Club member decided to give golf a try his freshman year of high school and never looked back.

“After being diagnosed with a heart disease, I was unable to play those two sports anymore,” Debusschere, 18, of Wallingford, Pa., and a recent graduate of Strath Haven High School, said. “I decided that golf was my next journey, and I finally got to the point where I’m competing in tournaments.”

For the past three years, Debusschere spent endless hours practicing making sure his game was stellar. This gradual improvement eventually earned him a spot to play for Cornell men’s golf team this fall.

“I think every year I have gotten better and still haven’t reached my peak,” Debusschere, an incoming Cornell freshman who will major in economics, said. “I’m looking to fulfill my full potential at some point and hoping to elevate my game when I play at Cornell.”

Debusschere suffered a tough quarterfinal loss to Medford Lakes Country Club’s Jack Tarzy, 2&1, in the 107th Junior Boys’ Championship Tuesday at Overbrook Golf Club (par 70, 6,359 yards).

However, this was a tremendous improvement for Debusschere after falling in a playoff for the final spots in the First Flight in last year’s event at The 1912 Club.

“I wanted redemption this year, and I believe I’ve gotten it,” Debusschere said. “The difference between this year and last year is that I’ve fully embraced the competitiveness that this tournament has to offer. Having more experience under my belt from last year helped me out because I was hanging in there and just came up short of a semifinal appearance.”

After making a lot of progress from only starting to play the sport three years ago, the best is yet to come for Debusschere.

“This tournament has been a great learning experience for me because I’m continuing to gain confidence in my swing,” Debusschere said. “I believe I’m reaching a certain point where I can compete with anyone at this level, and I look forward to playing in future tournaments this summer.”

Junior Boys’ Championship
The Junior Boys’ Championship is the premier Major in the GAP Junior Division. It is open to members of a GAP Member Club 14-18 years of age who have not started their college education and who hold a handicap index of 14.4 or lower. Sixteen players qualify for match play; an additional 16 advance into the event’s First Flight. The Junior Boys’ Champion is awarded the Peg Burnett Trophy, named in honor of the Association’s Executive Secretary from 1951-76. Ms. Burnett was an ardent Junior golf supporter who emphasized sportsmanship and respect for the game. “I was very strict about checking the rule book. I didn’t make the rules, but since they are there, you have to abide by them.”

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.