Jericho’s Deussing edges Saggers in playoff

ORELAND, Pa. — Michael Deussing defeated Benjamin Saggers in a sudden-death playoff to win the 39th Jock MacKenzie Memorial at Sandy Run Country Club (par 72, 6,544 yards) Monday.

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The Jericho National Golf Club member made a six-footer for birdie on No. 10 (par 3, 135 yards), the second playoff hole, to prevail. Both players finished regulation tied at 3-under-par 69.

“I’m happy to come out on top. I came in here trying to play as well as I can. Even though some of the best GAP [Junior competitors] aren’t here, there are a lot of good players in the field,” Deussing, 17, of Solebury, Pa., said. “It’s pretty cool [to win].”

“I don’t think I’ve broken 81 [in three prior Jock MacKenzie attempts]. To come out and absolutely shatter how I’ve played here in the past, that’s a win in itself,” Saggers, 18, of West Chester, Pa., said. “It feels so good to finally come out and play good golf. It feels good to see the results and hopefully push the results lower and lower.”

In overtime, Deussing and Saggers essentially halved the first playoff hole (No. 18, par 4, 337 yards) with two-putt pars. Bearing tee honors on No. 10, Deussing, a slight upwind breeze diagnosed, swiftly struck a 9-iron that stopped six feet from the hole location. That same breeze deceived Saggers. He choked down on a 9-iron, only to see it plummet into the right greenside bunker. Saggers splashed out to 25 feet and nearly canned his par try. Deussing then deposited the birdie clincher with conviction.

The win came after a near five-hour wait. Playing in the day’s first group, Deussing, a rising senior at The Hun School of Princeton, set the scoring pace. Smartphone scrolling and Chipotle filled the pre-playoff void.

Benjamin Saggers

“This is a course where you can score, and that’s what I did today. I love being in the first group out because I feel like that’s when the course is the most pure,” Deussing, a semifinalist in this year’s GAP Junior Boys’ Championship, said.

Deussing opened his title quest with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 357 yards), where he knocked a lob wedge 80 yards to eight feet. Blame wayward drives for a trio of bogeys on Nos. 4 (par 4, 334 yards), 5 (par 4, 418 yards) and 6 (par 4, 386 yards). An eagle is a nice cure. Deussing holed a 50-yard wedge on No. 7 (par 4, 320 yards) following an imposing drive. He maintained momentum with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 (par 5, 537 yards) and 9 (par 4, 308 yards): a two-putt from 15 feet following a roped 250-yard 3-wood on the former, a six-footer following a 40-yard pitch on the latter.

Prior to staging Deussing’s playoff triumph, the 10th hole at Sandy Run served as a setback. He made bogey after catching the left greenside bunker with a 9-iron. He rebounded with a birdie on No. 11 (par 5, 595 yards), where he hit a wedge 90 yards to eight feet. That yardage again suited Deussing on No. 13 (par 4, 366 yards), this time producing a six-footer for birdie. Add 10 yards and you’ll get a Deussing wedge to eight feet for birdie on No. 17 (par 4, 386 yards).

A mistake on No. 18 (par 4, 337 yards) jeopardized Deussing’s status. His drive sailed out of bounds. With a friendly lie in the left fairway bunker for his fourth shot, Deussing spun a wedge from 70 yards to 10 feet. He made good on the bogey putt.

“I knew [two-time defending champion] Matt (Homer) was right on my heels, so I was glad I was able to drop it in,” Deussing said. “It was my first time playing [Sandy Run]. Luckily, Matt has played here a bunch of times, so I was able to ask him about the course a lot.”

Sandy Run’s closer nearly toppled Saggers out of contention, too. In regulation, the recent Bishop Shanahan High School graduate tried to hook a pitching wedge from 145 yards. It flew the green, some 25 yards from a front hole location. Saggers expected hot for the ensuing chip. He instead received soft. After deliberation, the Applecross Country Club member lined up a 30-footer for par outside left. Once he stood over the golf ball, Saggers switched to dead center.

“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was in,” Saggers, who will attend Temple University in the fall, majoring in risk management, said. “I can’t really complain about today. I was 1 over through three holes and got hot. I made a great putt on No. 18 to even get into the playoff. I can’t really ask for much more. This was my last Junior tournament. It was good to go out with a bang. I’m very thankful for everything. It’s a bittersweet moment. Even though I lost, I’m not too upset because I still played great.”

After defeating Saggers in overtime and thanking the necessary parties, Deussing headed to Jericho National to compete in the men’s championship final. Yesterday’s rain postponed the affair. He and Mac Roedel stood tied through four holes.

“I’m excited. We’ll see if I can get it done,” Deussing said.

Harry Hammond Award
Wilmington Country Club’s Jeff Homer carded a 2-under-par 70 to secure his second Harry Hammond Award (2021). The Harry Hammond Award is comprised of Junior Boys’ Championship Qualifying, the Christman Cup and Jock MacKenzie Memorial.

“It’s nice to win two of them, that’s for sure,” Homer, 18, of Wilmington, Del, said. “It’s been a good season. I’ve played some solid golf. It’s been a fun few years playing Junior golf in the GAP. I really enjoyed it.”

Homer started the final leg deadlocked with Sunnybrook Golf Club’s Ian Natale. “Quality shots and a ton of birdie looks” on Sandy Run’s back nine allowed the reigning Delaware Junior Boys’ Champion to comfortably separate.

Homer is the fourth individual to win the Harry Hammond Award twice since its inception in 2000. He joins Ron Robinson (2016-17), Cole Berman (2012-13) and Billy Stewart (2000-01). A recent Tatnall School graduate, he will attend the University of Delaware in the fall, where he will major in medical diagnostics.

Junior-Junior Division
White Manor Country Club’s Max Leung carded a 1-over-par 37 to capture the Junior-Junior Boys’ Division (par 36, 2,729 yards). He emphatically deemed it the highlight of his golf summer thus far.

When highlighting his round at Sandy Run, Leung, 13, of Villanova, Pa., recounted his eagle on No. 15 (par 5, 368 yards). To do so, he once again called upon the services of caddie and friend Liam Hempel. The setup eluded Leung’s mind. Hempel, true to form, brought to the recollection table a 9-iron from 135 yards to 10 feet.

Leung is a rising eighth-grader at Episcopal Academy.

Girls’ Division
Sunnybrook Golf Club’s Gabi Courtney carded a 13-over-par to take the event’s Junior Girls’ Division (par 72, 5,488 yards). Courtney, 17, of Flourtown, Pa., is a recent Mount Saint Joseph Academy graduate. In the fall, she will attend The Catholic University of America, where she will major in accounting.

Jock MacKenzie
Jock MacKenzie served as Sandy Run Country Club’s golf professional for three decades (1941-71). He previously worked as an assistant professional under George Lowe at Huntingdon Valley Country Club and Denny Shute at Llanerch Country Club. A Scotland native, MacKenzie started a Junior program at Sandy Run in 1947 that soon generated acclaim within the Philadelphia golf community. “The children don’t hit the golf ball for five weeks. They do calisthenics to build up the left wrist and arm. The left arm is key to a good swing,” MacKenzie told The Philadelphia Bulletin. MacKenzie taught participants in Sandy Run’s Junior program how to hit and chip the golf ball with irons. A mechanical mind, he stressed a slow count for the backswing and downswing. During the program’s final week, MacKenzie conducted a golf tournament and awarded prizes to all participants. “MacKenzie readily admits that he doesn’t make money, but gets rich on the satisfaction of helping youngsters learn the game he loves,” Joe Schwendeman wrote.

Harry Hammond
Harry Hammond, an ardent supporter of Junior golf both locally and nationally, served as the Philadelphia PGA Section’s Junior Golf Chairman for 29 years. He is the Director of Golf at Penn Oaks Golf Club and head men’s golf coach of West Chester University. A 55-year member of the PGA of America, Hammond received the organization’s Bill Strausbaugh Award for leadership and service to the game of golf in 2012.

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 organization’s 340 Member Clubs and 100,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Junior Boys’ Division
Name, clubScore
*Michael Deussing, Jericho National Golf Club69
Benjamin Saggers, Applecross Country Club69
Jeffrey Homer, Wilmington Country Club70
Matthew Homer, Wilmington Country Club70
Evan Eichenlaub, Saucon Valley Country Club71
Declan McLane, North Hills Country Club71
Jack Homer, Wilmington Country Club72
Chris Vahey, North Hills Country Club72
Ian Larsen, Honeybrook Golf Club72
Connor Matteo, Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club72
Brian Cotter, Legacy Club at Woodcrest72
Sean Curran, Merion Golf Club73
Tyler Debusschere, The Springhaven Club73
Nathan Guertler, Merion Golf Club73
Kevin Lafond, Blue Bell Country Club73
Adam Fluehr, North Hills Country Club73
Matt Rieger, Sunnybrook Golf Club73
Nick Waskey, Doylestown Country Club73
Harrison Brown, Philadelphia Country Club74
Win Thomas, USGA/GAP GC75
Ian Natale, Sunnybrook Golf Club75
Jackson Fryer, Commonwealth National Golf Club77
Shaun Mazzalupi, Philadelphia Cricket Club77
Joshua Emel, White Clay Creek Country Club77
Jack Brennan, Bellewood Country Club77
Nick Linkchorst, Golf Course at Glen Mills78
Matthew Normand, Laurel Creek Country Club78
J.P. Hoban, The 1912 Club78
Peter Lafon, GAP Youth on Course78
Nicky Nemo, Merion Golf Club78
Ryan Quinn, Commonwealth National Golf Club79
Will Dunsmore, Jericho National Golf Club79
Jack Crowley, Aronimink Golf Club79
Brady Crow, Moorestown Field Club79
John Rouse, Aronimink Golf Club79
Gavin Marks, GAP Youth on Course80
Brad McDermott, Aronimink Golf Club80
Liam McFadden, Overbrook Golf Club80
Joe Ciconte, Wilmington Country Club81
William Forman, Merion Golf Club81
Will Walsh, Philadelphia Country Club81
Colin Sarnoski, Saucon Valley Country Club81
Kristof Kopecky, Wilmington Country Club81
Nolan Corcoran, Philadelphia Junior Tour82
Parker Zalis, Rolling Green Golf Club82
Liam Crowley, Aronimink Golf Club82
Brody Bell, Spring Ford Country Club82
Brendan Reilly, Commonwealth National Golf Club82
Paul Reilly, Galloway National Golf Club83
Quin Bongiovanni, Overbrook Golf Club83
Alex Nemo, Merion Golf Club83
Mac Traynor, Merion Golf Club84
Hunter Zalis, Rolling Green Golf Club85
Joel Perry, Mulligan’s Pointe85
P.J. Geib, Sandy Run Country Club86
Stephen Rebar, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club86
Jason Jones, Radley Run Country Club87
David Nissen, Philadelphia Cricket Club87
Zach Moua, St. Davids Golf Club87
Trevor Dendler, Yardley Country Club87
Beckett Chipman, Wilmington Country Club90
Jake Bryson, DuPont Country Club91
Devin Carpenter, Walnut Lane Golf Club91
John Gavaghan, Sandy Run Country Club91
Gregory Kriz, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club93
Stanley Marchlik, USGA/GAP GC94
Ian McEwen, North Hills Country Club99
Kieran Gillespie, GAP Youth on Course100
Brayden Holland, Walnut Lane Golf ClubWD
Logan Nye, Whitemarsh Valley Country ClubWD
Junior Girls’ Division
Name, clubScore
Gabi Courtney, Sunnybrook Golf Club85
Junior-Junior Boys’ Division
Name, clubScore
Max Leung, White Manor Country Club37
Henry Sokol, Green Valley Country Club41
Nicholas Stampone, Sandy Run Country Club44
Jack Sokol, Green Valley Country Club45
Justin Delfidio, Manufacturers’ Golf & Country Club46
John Peyton, Union League National Golf Club46
William Quartermain, Llanerch Country Club46
Aditya Rege, GAP Youth on Course46
William Thorkelson, Philadelphia Junior Tour49
* – won in playoff
WD – withdrawal

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