VILLANOVA, Pa. — Clothes soaked. Legs fading. Rain falling.
None of it mattered to Matthew Homer. The Wilmington Country Club member, after advancing to the 107th Junior Boys’ Championship Semifinals at Overbrook Golf Club (par 70, 6,359 yards) Tuesday, wanted to watch identical twin brother Jeffrey Homer compete. The hopes of a Homer meeting in the Final still alive.
Unfortunately, Jeffrey, also of Wilmington, fell to medalist and No. 2 seed Morgan Lofland of Phoenixville Country Club, 1-up. But a spoiled family meeting took its rightful place in a line of spoilers Tuesday.
Matthew himself spoiled a potential reunion of former PGA Jr. League teammates by defeating Louis Giovi of Mercer Oaks Golf Course, 2&1, in the quarterfinals. Giovi and Joshua Ryan, the defending Junior Boys’ Champion, represented Team New Jersey in the 2016 PGA Jr. League Golf National Championship presented by National Car Rental at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Another member of that team, Christopher Dorey of Metedeconk National Golf Club, suffered a 6&4 loss at the hands of Ryan in the quarterfinals.
Furthermore, Medford Lakes Country Club’s Jack Tarzy admittedly felt spoiled by the golf gods Tuesday. He gained the semifinals following a 2&1 win over Jackson Debusschere of The Springhaven Club.
The skinny before it spoils. Ryan will face Matthew Homer in the semifinals at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow. The Lofland/Tarzy contest will follow at 7:37 a.m.
“I was hoping he could do what I couldn’t do last year, which was beat Morgan,” Matthew, 16, of Wilmington, Del., said. “It was good the way the bracket turned out. We were hoping to be playing other people and not play each other until the Final. It would’ve been pretty awesome if we both made it. Now I have to somehow get through Josh.”
Homer, equipped metaphorical staff and sling, is ready for a stone hurl, if Tuesday is any indication. Against Giovi, he captured Nos. 4-7 to gain command. On No. 4 (par 4, 403 yards), Homer hit an 8-iron 156 yards to 20 feet and buried the right-to-left curler. He earned a conceded 3 on No. 5 (par 5, 535 yards) after smacking a wedge 60 yards to a foot. A successful scramble on No. 6 (par 4, 440 yards) and a 12-footer for par on No. 7 (par 3, 207 yards) made the difference.
“I just made a lot of putts. Inside 100 yards, I’ve just been very solid,” Homer, a rising junior at The Tatnall School, said. “I haven’t been forcing the issue. I’ve been playing within myself and trying not to make many mistakes.”
In last year’s Junior Boys’ Championship at The 1912 Club, Homer lost to Lofland in the Round of 16, 2-up. He vicariously sought redemption through Jeffrey, whose bout with Lofland came down to the 18th hole (par 4, 398 yards). Lofland, with honors on the tee after drawing even with a four-footer for birdie on No. 16 (par 4, 391 yards), found the fairway with a 3-wood. Jeffrey’s drive spun left off the face and into the fairway bunker. His approach overcame the lip, but drifted left of the green. Jeffrey knocked a chip to six feet and misread the ensuing par putt. Thinking zero movement, it veered left instead. A Lofland two-putt is all it took.
“I’m happy that my game is good enough to fight through the adversity today had … from the rain and putter going stone cold. I’m happy with the way I fought today,” Lofland, 18, of Paoli, Pa., said. Lofland, a recent Conestoga High School graduate, will attend Penn State University in the fall.
Lofland, semifinalist in the 121st BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship a week ago, is known only by name to Tarzy, who is making his Junior Boys’ debut. The rising The Hun School of Princeton senior enlisted because he “wanted to play match play.” Now he’s earned a meeting with Lofland, whose won five of his last six.
“I know that he’s pretty good. Everyone’s scared of him here,” Tarzy, 17, of Medford, N.J., said. “It’s match play though. I’m allowed to have a bad hole. I just got to make a lot of birdies.”
A birdie on No. 13 (par 4, 364 yards) Tuesday allowed Tarzy to accelerate ahead of Debusschere for good. He knocked a gap wedge 117 yards to an inch for a concession.
“It was a rough day, but I got it done in the end. I probably shot 80,” Tarzy said. “It was a day of whoever played worse lost, not whoever played best won.”
Watch out. Ryan clearly appears at his best right now. With usual match play concessions, he stood at 4 under in his quarterfinal victory over Dorey.
“There’s nothing you can really do when he plays that well. He made three solid birdies in a row, and stuck two into gimme range,” Dorey, 18, of Allentown, N.J., said. “It’s hard to compete with that, especially on a wet golf course where you’re not getting roll and he’s carrying it 30-35 yards past me. It’s a little intimidating.”
“I only missed one green this afternoon. I was making it super simple,” Ryan, 17, of Norristown, Pa., said. “I wasn’t out of position too much. I had full control over the ball today.”
As mentioned, Ryan, a member of The 1912 Club, won five holes on Overbrook’s outward nine with birdies: a wedge from 100 yards to 15 feet on No. 4; a wedge from 50 yards to 12 feet on No. 5; a wedge 65 yards to eight feet on No. 6; a wedge 20 yards to three feet on No. 8 (par 4, 311 yards) and a 7-iron 177 yards to a foot on No. 9 (par 4, 470 yards).
Ryan, the reigning Junior Player of the Year, will attend Liberty University in the fall of 2022. He is looking to become the ninth individual to win the Junior Boys’ Championship in consecutive years.
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.”
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.
1. Joshua Ryan, The 1912 Club d. 8. Christopher Dorey, Metedeconk National GC, 6&4
12. Matthew Homer, Wilmington CC d. 4. Louis Giovi, Mercer Oaks GC, 2&1
2. Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville CC d. 7. Jeffrey Homer, Wilmington CC, 1-up
14. Jack Tarzy, Medford Lakes CC d. 6. Jackson Debusschere, The Springhaven Club, 2&1
16. Corey Haydu, Spring Mill CC d. 9. John Bradbeer, Merion GC, 19 holes
4. Thomas Lynch, CC of Scranton d. 12. Logan Wagner, Meadia Heights GC, 20 holes
15. Evan Eichenlaub, Saucon Valley CC d. 10. Sean Kelly, Bucknell GC, 19 holes
14. Matthew Normand, Laurel Creek CC d. 11. Tyler Zimmer, Philadelphia CC, 3&2
Round of 16
1. Joshua Ryan, The 1912 Club d. 16. Michael Lynch, CC of Scranton, 7&5
8. Christopher Dorey, Metedeconk National GC d. 9. Christian Matt, Cedarbrook CC, 5&4
4. Louis Giovi, Mercer Oaks GC d. 13. Aidan Farkas, Llanerch CC, 4&3
12. Matthew Homer, Wilmington CC d. 4. Billy Pabst, Elmhurst CC, 4&2
2. Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville CC d. 15. Matthew Zerfass, Brookside CC of Allentown, 3&2
7. Jeffrey Homer, Wilmington CC d. 10. Eli Shah, Penn Oaks GC, 2-up
14. Jack Tarzy, Medford Lakes CC d. 3. Ryan D’Ariano, Penn Oaks GC, 4&3
6. Jackson Debusschere, The Springhaven Club d. 11. Scott Hughes, Cedarbrook CC, 1-up
16. Corey Haydu, Spring Mill CC d. 1. Nick Ciocca, Aronimink GC, 20 holes
9. John Bradbeer, Merion GC d. 8. Connor Strine, Bent Creek CC, 6&5
4. Thomas Lynch, CC of Scranton d. 13. Chad Kemmerer, Waynesborough CC, 5&4
12. Logan Wagner, Meadia Heights GC d. 5. Keller Mulhern, Whitford CC, 6&4
15. Evan Eichenlaub, Saucon Valley CC d. 2. Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink GC, 3&2
10. Sean Kelly, Bucknell GC d. 7. Michael Sewack, CC of Scranton, 2-up
14. Matthew Normand, Laurel Creek CC d. 3. James Flickinger, CC of Scranton, 19 holes
11. Tyler Zimmer, Philadelphia CC d. 6. Anthony Ciconte, Wilmington CC, 3&2
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