Semifinals set in 106th Junior Boys’ at 1912
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. — Survive a playoff, surge to the semifinals. Such a motto applies to 75 percent of the semifinalists in the 106th Junior Boys’ Championship.
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Metedeconk National Golf Club’s Christopher Dorey, Spring Mill Country Club’s Corey Haydu and Joshua Ryan, a GAP Youth on Course member, seized three of four match-play spots Wednesday in a sudden-death playoff. The trio then posted two victories apiece at The 1912 Club (par 70, 6,505 yards) to move from hopeful to hero in a hurry.
Aronimink Golf Club’s Jake Maddaloni rounds out the semifinalists. Not to be outdone, he ousted No. 1 seed Morgan Lofland of Phoenixville Country Club, 1-up, in the quarterfinals.
Maddaloni faces Ryan at 8 a.m. tomorrow. Dorey and Haydu square off at 8:07 a.m.
“I was just trying to get through the playoff to make a run in match play. Once you get into match play, it’s one v. one, so you just need to beat your opponent,” Ryan, 16, of Norristown, Pa., said. “But you need to get through that playoff first.”
Ryan became the first to emerge from a seven-for-four scuffle. He smacked a sand wedge 110 yards to 20 feet for birdie on No. 18 (par 4, 430 yards). Coincidentally, The 1912 Club’s closer encapsulated Ryan’s path to the semifinals. A birdie in stroke-play qualifying to squeeze into the playoff, a birdie in the Round of 16 to force overtime against Concord Country Club’s Win Thomas; Ryan won that match in 19 holes.
As an encore to Ryan’s playoff performance, Haydu chipped in for birdie on No. 10 (par 4, 460 yards) after missing the green right with an 8-iron from 165 yards.
“It’s crazy honestly. I was just thinking that if I could get in, then anything can happen,” Haydu, 17, of Doylestown, Pa., said. “I made two pars in a row in the playoff and still wasn’t in the bracket, and didn’t know if I was going to get in. I got lucky enough to chip in on the third playoff hole. From there, I just played solid golf.”
Dorey, on the fourth playoff hole, finally felt the confetti. He hit an A-wedge 132 yards to three feet on No. 18 (par 4, 430 yards) to grab the No. 15 seed.
“I wasn’t feeling too nervous heading into the playoff. I knew that I was going to have a guaranteed round [in the First Flight],” Dorey, 17, of Allentown, N.J., said. “I played my game, focused on the shots, played conservative and went for pars every time. I was able to make birdie on the last playoff hole.”
Dorey, a rising senior at The Peddie School, then dispatched Paxon Hollow Country Club’s Thomas Larkin in the Round of 16. Three back-nine birdies made the difference in a quarterfinals victory over Carlisle Country Club’s John Peters. On No. 12 (par 5, 545 yards), Dorey watched his 40-yard chip check accordingly and trickle to four feet for birdie. Nearly the same story on the par 4, 300-yard 15th hole, where he buried a 10-footer for birdie. Dorey striped the No. 16 (par 3, 125 yards) stick with a choked-up A-wedge and sank a soft six-footer for a 3&2 win.
In the Junior Boys’ Championship a year ago, Dorey lost in the First Flight Round of 16. His game, like most, encountered peaks and valleys thereafter. Two changes highlight his 2020 run thus far.
“I’ve just started playing a lot smarter. I’ve been able to become more confident in my ability,” Dorey said.
Like Dorey, Haydu made a critical adjustment in the offseason that’s paid dividends at The 1912 Club.
“I worked a lot on my driver. I wasn’t finding any fairways last year,” Haydu, a rising senior at La Salle College High School, said. “I’m hitting a lot of fairways this week, which has helped.”
Haydu escaped a contentious clash against Bidermann Golf Club’s John Cooley in the Round of 16 with a 1-up victory. On No. 17 (par 4, 472 yards), he launched a 5-iron 210 yards to 10 feet for birdie. Haydu continued his fairway firepower in the quarterfinals. He moved to 3-up over Merion Golf Club’s Charlie Baker following a birdie on No. 8 (par 4, 436 yards). Haydu knocked a 56-degree wedge 105 yards to 20 feet. Wins on Nos. 10 (par 4, 460 yards) and 11 (par 4, 418 yards) padded the cushion.
Speaking of comfort, Ryan appeared as relaxed as a pair of Levi’s on The 1912 Club’s surfaces. For starters, he tallied two putts total in the playoff, one being the aforementioned 20-footer for birdie. Ryan then carded the stroke-play equivalent of 67, with usual match play concessions, in regulation against Thomas.
“We both played really well. I made a lot of putts that kept me in it,” Ryan, a rising senior at Commonwealth Charter Academy, said.
The putts caved in the quarterfinals against Chester Valley Golf Club’s Shane Lawler, too. Ryan achieved a 2-up advantage after birdies on Nos. 5 (par 4, 437 yards) and 6 (par 5, 511 yards): a lob wedge 90 yards to tap-in territory on the first, a 40-yard chip shot to three feet on the latter. Ryan’s putter quelled any Lawler uprisings thereafter.
Though he didn’t statistically match Ryan’s putting proficiency, Maddaloni, 17, of Newtown Square, Pa., kept his opponents at bay on the greens. He relied on a steady flatstick to move past Blue Bell Country Club’s Matthew Lafond, 4&3, in the Round of 16. Maddaloni never flinched against friend and medalist Lofland in the quarterfinals. A clutch two-putt for par from 15 feet on No. 16 proved to be the decisive turning point.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to go out there and compete against a really good player [in Joshua Ryan],” Maddaloni, a rising senior at The Haverford School, said. “I’ve been hitting a lot of greens, not necessarily super close to the hole. But I’m getting on the green and rolling it well.”
Another key to Maddaloni’s march to the semifinals? He gained 10-15 yards of distance during the winter.
“Just being able to hit it out there farther and have more wedges in is making things a little easier,” Maddaloni said.
The Junior Boys’ Championship is the premier Major in the GAP Junior Division. It is open to members pf GAP Member Clubs 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 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
8. Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink GC d. 1. Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville CC, 1-up
13. Joshua Ryan, GAP Youth on Course d. 5. Shane Lawler, Chester Valley GC, 4&3
15. Christopher Dorey, Metedeconk National GC d. 10. John Peters, Carlisle CC, 3&2
14. Corey Haydu, Spring Mill CC d. 11 . Charlie Baker, Merion GC, 3&2
1. Calen Sanderson, Jericho National GC d. 9. Elijah Ruppert, Golden Oaks GC, 2-up
12. Jack Davis, Aronimink GC d. 13. William Pabst, Elmhurst CC, 2&1
7. David Fitzgerald, Philadelphia CC d. 2. Evan Barbin, Loch Nairn GC, 1-up
11. Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley CC d. 3. Matthew Zerfass, Brookside CC of Allentown, 5&3
Round of 16
1. Morgan Lofland, Phoenixville CC d. 16. Matthew Homer, Wilmington CC, 2-up
8. Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink GC d. 9. Matt Lafond, Blue Bell CC, 4&3
13. Joshua Ryan, GAP Youth on Course d. 4. Win Thomas, Concord CC, 19 holes
5. Shane Lawler, Chester Valley GC d. 12. Jacob Sokalsky, Penn Oaks GC, 1-up
15. Christopher Dorey, Metedeconk National GC d. 2. Thomas Larkin, Paxon Hollow CC, 3&1
10. John Peters, Carlisle CC d. 7. James Gradisek, Philadelphia CC, 2&1
14. Corey Haydu, Spring Mill CC d. 3. John Cooley, Bidermann GC, 1-up
11. Charlie Baker, Merion GC d. 6. Joey Morganti, Llanerch CC, 3&1
1. Calen Sanderson, Jericho National GC d. 16. James Flickinger, CC of Scranton, 1-up
9. Elijah Ruppert, Golden Oaks GC d. 8. Ryan McCabe, The Springhaven Club, 19 holes
13. William Pabst, Elmhurst CC d. 4. Connor Strine, Bent Creek CC, 21 holes
12. Jack Davis, Aronimink GC d. 5. Tyler Zimmer, Philadelphia CC, 3&2
2. Evan Barbin, Loch Nairn GC d. 15. Thomas Lynch, CC of Scranton, 3&1
7. David Fitzgerald, Philadelphia CC d. 10. Ross Charlton, Concord CC, 6&5
3. Matthew Zerfass, Brookside CC of Allentown d. 14. Kevin Smith, The Springhaven Club, 3&2
11. Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley CC d. 6. Stephen Lorenzo, Manufacturers’ G&CC, 4&3