72nd Delaware Amateur: Day Three - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jun 28, 2023

72nd Delaware Amateur: Day Three

Micholas survives, beats Irons in four-hole playoff

WYOMING, Del. – For 69 holes, Blake Micholas was untouchable.

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Sitting at 20 under in the middle of the fairway on the 70th hole (No. 16, par 4, 401 yards), he had a hand and four fingers on the trophy with a four-shot lead.

When he walked off the 72nd green, there was a real possibility that he wouldn’t touch the trophy at all.

He played the last three holes in 2 over while Day Two co-leader Jack Irons played them in 2 under, putting them in a three-hole aggregate playoff for the hardware. He lipped out a 4-footer to win.

“That 4-footer on the last to win is what any golfer asks for,” Micholas said. “I gave myself that chance and I didn’t capitalize. But thankfully, I got a great draw on the playoff holes. Nos. 3 (par 4, 393 yards), 4 (par 3, 166 yards) and 5 (par 5, 600 yards) were probably the best three holes I played all week.”

Micholas remained resolute and calm to claim the 72nd Delaware Amateur at Wild Quail (par 72, 6,640 yards) in a four-hole playoff over Irons. They both finished at 18 under in regulation.

“I didn’t think I had a chance until No. 17,” Irons, of Little Mill Country Club, said. “I think getting into a playoff felt like a bonus. I felt like it was his tournament all day, especially on the second 18. He made a couple errors, I did my thing and made some birdies coming in. It was fun. Even getting into a playoff was special.”

After the three-hole aggregate (Nos. 3, 4 and 5) they were still deadlocked. Both took 11 strokes to finish the three holes. No bogeys were made in the twosome. Micholas birdied No. 4 and Irons birdied No. 5.

Micholas sealed the deal with a par on No. 3 (fourth playoff hole) after Irons made bogey. Irons hit it left and was blocked out by trees and couldn’t save par from the fescue. 

“For whatever reason that hole didn’t set up well for me the whole tournament,” Irons, 21, of Naples, Fla., who summers in Medford Lakes, N.J., said. “I made a good swing. The club just closed a little and it went straight. Can’t go left there. I took a chance from the left trees and it didn’t pay off.

“This was the most fun I have had on a golf course in my life. Having a chance to win a tournament is why you work hard and you practice. I am not disappointed at all. I shot 18 under and gave myself a chance to win when I didn’t think I had one.”

Micholas dead-handed a 52-degree wedge from 107 yards to eight feet. When Irons missed his 30-footer for par, all he needed was two putts.

In regulation, Micholas played those three holes in 6 under. If you include the playoff, he played them in 7 under. It won him the tournament.

Micholas was a late bloomer in golf as a sophomore at the Bullis School in Potomac, Md. In the remaining years of high school, he was fed up with the game. He took a break from golf once he enrolled at the University of Mississippi.

“My junior year at Ole Miss I started playing again,” Micholas said. “I was so tired of competitive golf before college and I didn’t know why I was playing. When I started to see how good I was at playing stress-free golf, that changed my way of thinking about competitive golf.”

Refreshed and rejuvenated, Micholas finished 10th last year at Bayside Resort Golf Club. He finished T7 in 2018 at Odessa National Golf Club.

“The years I took off from golf made me learn to love the game again,” Micholas said. “Then I started to play well and realized how much fun it is to compete and beat people.”

For the entirety of the 36-hole final day, Micholas’ father Mike was on the bag. 10 years ago, you wouldn’t have seen him watching his son. Not because he didn’t want to.

“It is nice having him on the bag,” Micholas said. “When I was a kid, I wouldn’t let him watch me play at all. Playing in Junior events I couldn’t stand seeing him out there. I have grown up a lot.”

When Micholas reached 20 under, he tied the lowest mark anyone has reached in tournament history. In 2013, Chris Hickman finished at 20 under and lapped the field by 21 at Odessa National.

As Micholas left Wild Quail after 76 holes of golf, he realized he’s heading back to work tomorrow at his public accounting firm. He won’t return empty-handed.

“It means everything,” Micholas said. “It is my first amateur win and I couldn’t be prouder. I wish I finished stronger but I have been working hard to try to get better and it is good to see it paying off. I learned how much fight I have and my will to battle. It was definitely worth the PTO.”

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.

Name, clubR1R2R3R4Total
*Blake Micholas, Kings Creek Country Club66696570270
Jack Irons, Little Mill Country Club68676867270
Evan Barbin, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club69716869277
Michael Crowley, Briarwood Golf Club71746369277
Logan Paczewski, Huntsville Golf Club65727269278
Austin Barbin, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club69716870278
Phillip Fenstermaker, Heritage Shores76667068280
Jay Whitby, Wilmington Country Club72736969283
Robert Lugiano, Huntsville Golf Club72727368285
Zachary Falone, Running Deer Golf Club73746673286
Michael R. Brown, Jr., LuLu Country Club69737472288
Charles Young, Briarwood Golf Club76717369289
Xiong Da, USGA/GAP GC71747272289
Jacoby Chappa, Maple Dale Country Club73727373291
Noah Wallace, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club69737575292
Liam Powderly, Briarwood Golf Club73757273293
Alex Hosier, French Creek Golf Club70767473293
Billy Howard, Applebrook Golf Club72757274293
Greg Wolfe, St. Anne’s Golf Links74717475294
Joseph Tigani, Fieldstone Golf Club75687972294
Greg Sadowski, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association71747774296
Jeffrey Homer, Wilmington Country Club68767775296
Robert Bechtold, Fieldstone Golf Club77757570297
Zach Bruecks, White Clay Creek Country Club73727974298
Nathan Potts, USGA/GAP GC74787473299
Matthew Miller, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club74767574299
Joey Morganti, Llanerch Country Club76717577299
Elliot Haas, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club72748073299
Connor Vanin, Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association79737672300
Ross Pilliod, LuLu Country Club74777575301
Yuvi Singh, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club70797874301
Zach Arsenault, Rancocas Golf Club72777775301
Jackson Debusschere, The Springhaven Club77737577302
Matthew Kinsey, Ocean City Golf Club75767774302
Steve Walczak, Wilmington Country Club75747876303
Matt Dolinsky, Honeybrook Golf Club76767378303
Brandon Wilson, Chesapeake Bay Golf Club74787775304
Chris Waldmann, The 1912 Club74737978304
Dan Chernosky, Towanda Golf Club77757679307
Dylan Chessher, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club77758177310
Brian Garnsey, Wild Quail Golf & Country Club76767887317
Gerald Haftmann, Rolling Green Golf Club767680WDWD
Colby Hook, Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club737687WDWD
* – won in four-hole playoff
WD – withdrawal

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