ROYERSFORD, Pa. — Indian Valley Country Club’s Dawson Anders finds himself in a similar position after the first round of match play at the 103rd Junior Boys’ Championship presented by PURE Insurance at Spring Ford Country Club.
“My ball striking has been great so far this week and today I finally made some putts today,” Anders, 18, said. “For my first five holes, I had at least three one-putts and I chipped in on No. 2 for birdie. I was able to get it going early with four birdies on the front nine.”
Anders finds himself more comfortable with match play. The recent Souderton Area High School graduate said he can sometimes get down on himself after some bad swings. A key par save on the driveable par-4 sixth (275 yards) gave him the confidence he needed going forward in the match.
“I am always worried about piling up mistakes and getting down on myself after bad swings,” Anders said. “Match play allows me to focus on each individual shot and commit to it. I would say the turning point in the match was on the sixth hole. I made a 20-footer for par to win the hole and I gained momentum from there.”
Anders is coming off a semifinal appearance last year at Tavistock Country Club and is using that experience in an effort to help propel him even further this year.
“I learned that you have to pick your moments and just be consistent,” Anders said. “Continue to put pressure on your opponent until he makes a mistake and don’t try to force it and just play.
“Since last year’s Junior Boys’ Championship I would say I have become a better all-around player. I have been playing a lot better than last year and my game has come a long way since then.”
Two survive playoff, earn berths in Championship Flight
After 18 holes of stroke play, the Top 16 for the Championship Flight at the 103rd Junior Boys’ Championship presented by PURE Insurance still needed to be set.
A six-for-two playoff ensued with Inniscrone Golf Club’s Matthew Kristick and Nikita Romanov of the GAP Junior Players Club advancing.
Kristick, of Ocean City, Md., took care of business immediately on the 400-yd, par 4 10th, by draining a 35-foot birdie putt to secure his spot in the Championship Flight.
After playing conservatively off of the tee with a 3-wood to avoid going out-of-bounds left, Kristick then hit a 54-degree wedge from 130 yards to have a look.
Just looking to continue to make pars to extend the playoff, Kristick, a recent Stephen Decatur High School graduate and upcoming Temple University golfer, dropped his birdie try on the left edge and passionately fist pumped.
“Making that 35-footer was a huge sigh of relief,” Kristick, 18, said. “A six-for-two playoff isn’t easy and I felt that I had gotten into the Championship Flight although there were another three guys who still had to play. I feel pretty awesome and it meant a lot to get into the championship bracket. I didn’t have my best stuff so it was nice to be able to grind it out and have the opportunity to play match play.”
On the other hand, Romanov, of Wilmington Del., needed three holes to advance. He parred the 10th after hitting a sand wedge from 98 yards to 30 feet. He would two-putt and continue on to a three-for-one playoff.
On No. 16, a par 3 measuring 175 yards, Romanov went back and forth between a 5-and 6-iron. He ultimately chose the 6-ironand hit it to the back left of the green.
After leaving his 40-foot putt 15 feet short, Romanov needed to make his putt to extend the playoff after playing competitor Ryan Tall, of Spring Ford Country Club, made par.
Romanov matched the perfect read and speed to make his three. A lot more stress than he wanted.
“I thought my chances of making the Championship Flight were done after I left my 40-footer on the 17th about 15 foot short,” Romanov said. “I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to keep fighting. After Ryan made his putt to make par I just wanted to commit to it. I had to work for that putt and I was happy it went in.”
On No. 17 (par 4, 395 yards), Romanov decided to take out driver while Tall hit iron off of the tee. He piped it down the middle and would have 10 feet left for his birdie after hitting a gap wedge from 126 yards.
Just like on No. 16, Romanov rolled it in dead center to advance to the Championship Flight of match play.
“I played this course a couple of times before and I hit driver off of the tee at the same line as I did in the playoff on No. 17,” Romanov said. “My goal on my second shot was to get my gap wedge around the pin, below the hole. I wanted to make the putt and end it right there.”
That he did.
Romanov went on to oust defending champion David Colleran, Jr. 5&3 in the Round of 16 to put himself in the Elite Eight.
Grounds crew weathers the storm in preparation for Tuesday
At 3:15 p.m. Monday, play at was suspended at the 103rd Junior Boys’ Championship presented by PURE Insurance as dark clouds, heavy rains and wind entered Spring Ford Country Club.
For golf course superintendent Mark Rubbo and his staff, that time can be both very stressful because of having to base their decisions on Mother Nature.
“When you are going through what we went through last night you just have to assess the situation as best as you can,” Rubbo said. “You always are thinking about the ‘what ifs’ of if there will be bunker washing and tree limbs down. Once we lost Monday night to prepare, we discussed what we needed to do to get the course in the best condition possible.”
Rubbo and the other 15 members of his grounds staff were out preparing the course for the second half of the first round of stroke play at 5 a.m. They followed the morning play to prepare for the afternoon wave.
“You have to be calm in the middle of the storm in this business,” Rubbo said. “You have to have the ability to be patient and observe what you must do while developing your course of action. Persistence is key.”
Sometimes being grounds maintenance at golf courses can be exhausting and wear down everyone apart of it. From the long hours, to the heat during the summer time, the crew, Rubbo said needs the utmost commitment to be able to do what they do.
“We have dedicated staff here at Spring Ford,” Robbo said. “The guys do it all of the time no matter what we have going on. They are very loyal to the job that requires a lot out of them and time away from their loved ones.”
A job well done indeed.
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Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.