Junior Champ. Flight semis Erhardt vs. Fahey; Summers vs. Matthews - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Jun 28, 2011

Junior Champ. Flight semis Erhardt vs. Fahey; Summers vs. Matthews

 PITTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, N.J.–For being only a year apart, the difference in height and weight between quarterfinal opponents Sean Fahey (5-foot-10, 165 pounds) and Kevin Connors, Jr. (5-foot-3, 110 pounds) is substantial, seven inches and 55 pounds. The tale of the tape, however, didn’t keep the two fledgling Juniors from turning in the most exhilarating second-round match of the 97th Junior Boys’ Championship on Wednesday at Running Deer GC.

Reilly Erhardt of Trenton CC (right)
with brother and caddie Regan.

  Needing four extra holes to determine a winner, Fahey registered a par (No. 4, par 5, 510 yards) to defeat the feisty Connors and earn a date with medalist Reilly Erhardt of Trenton CC in one of two semifinals set for Friday at 7:30 a.m. The other semi features T.J. Summers of Commonwealth National GC and Brandon Matthews of Fox Hill CC. The final is set to begin at 12 p.m.

  Weather forced the first two rounds of match play to be completed today. It also forced the semi and final to move to Friday.

  “I didn’t know who he was showing up at tee. I saw he was a small kid, but he’s so consistent,” said Fahey, 15, of Villanova, Pa. “He has a lot of game for how small and young he is.”

  Said Connors, 14, of Downingtown, Pa., “There were a lot of highs and lows for both of us. Even though he is a long-ball hitter I felt like I still had an advantage because I still had irons into all the greens. I tried to block out his shots and make pars. I kind of liked that.”


  The yardage difference between the two wasn’t nearly as significant as the momentum swings throughout the match.

  Fahey opened par, birdie to grab a quick 2-up advantage, but Connors battled back with victories on Nos. 4, 6 (par 4, 381 yards) and 7 (par 3, 161 yards) to move 1-up. Connors hit a 6-iron on No. 7 (par 3, 161 yards) and two putted from 50 feet to win the hole and Fahey found the left rough off the tee for bogey.

  Fahey didn’t take much time to respond, however, and on No. 9 (par 5, 483 yards) hit a 130-yard pitching wedge to 25 feet. Somehow, someway he negotiated the triple breaker into the jar for a 4.

  “At that point, [Kevin] had all the momentum,” said Fahey, a junior at Episcopal Academy. “That got things back on my side.”

  Or so it seemed.

  On the very next hole, Connors nailed a 4-iron from 170 yards to 15 feet and two putted for par. Fahey pushed his second shot right of the green side bunker and was left with a straight downhill chip that he couldn’t get close. Connors made 4 and Fahey 5. Connors led 1-up.

  The match stayed that way until No. 15 (par 4, 291 yards) when Fahey dropped a perfect, delicate chip to 15 feet for birdie after receiving relief from the ground under repair bunker in front of the green.

  “I hit it into bunker, took a drop and pitched it on,” said Fahey. “That’s what me and my caddie talked about.” His caddie was his first-round opponent and E.A. teammate Alex Dupre.

  On No. 17 (par 5, 502 yards), Connors appeared poised to move one ahead with a hole to go after Fahey found the water with his drive. Connors, though, missed a short three-footer for par after Fahey drained a 20-footer for a miraculous and fist-pumping 5.

  “That was another big momentum change,” said Fahey.

  The tenacious Connors wouldn’t quit, however, and on No. 18 (par 4, 434 yards) made a smart two-putt par from 15 feet after Fahey couldn’t negotiate a ridge and the 35 feet between his ball and the hole.

  Connors left a birdie try a half roll short on the first extra hole (No. 1, par 4, 375 yards) and had another great look on No. 20 (No. 2, par 4, 442 yards) but again came up shy of the cup. Fahey made a smooth up-and-down from just off the green on No. 2 for par and made another chip and one-putt par save on No. 21 (No. 3, par 4, 345 yards) after missing the green left.

  “This feels great because this field is so strong,” said Fahey. “I’m closer to my goal of winning it.”

  Erhardt, 14, of Newtown, Pa. and a soon-to-be freshman at The Hun School, continued his strong play, defeating Zach Arsenault, 17, of Medford, N.J. and Little Mill CC, 3&2, in his quarterfinal match. Erhardt fell in the first round a year ago, but has shown great poise and patience in his run so far this year.

  The other half of the draw features Summers, 17, of Doylestown, Pa., a C.B. West High School senior, and Brandon Matthews, 16, of DuPont, Pa. Matthews is a senior at Pittstony High School. Summers lost in the first round a year ago in his deepest trip in the Junior Boys. This is Matthews first Junior Championship appearance.

Championship Flight
1. Reilly Erhardt, Trenton CC, d. 9. Zach Arsenault, Little Mill CC, 3&2.
12. Sean Fahey, Overbrook GC, d. 13. Kevin Conners, Jr., Whitford CC, 22 holes.
10. T.J. Summers, Commonwealth National GC, d. 2. Sam Soeth, White Manor CC, 3&2.
3. Brandon Matthews, Fox Hill CC, d. 6. David Pompey, Jr., CC of Scranton, 4&2.

First Flight
9. Jack Quirk, Huntingdon Valley CC, d. 16. Brock Kovach, Berkshire CC, 2&1.
4. Steven Altieri, Hopewell Valley GC, d. 5. Gordon Dunlop, III, Bensalem Township CC, 1-up.
2. Connor Goodrich, Merchantville CC, d. 10. Eddie Maul, Concord CC, 7&5.
6. Greg Szrom, Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour, d. 14. Jacob Klaus, Tavistock CC, 19 holes.

First round
Championship Flight
1. Erhardt d. 16. Francis Worthington, Manufacturers G&CC, 6&5.
9. Arsenault d. 8. Mac Ryan, Overbrook GC, 3&1.
13. Conners, Jr. d. 4. Will Young, Hopewell Valley GC, 4&3.
12. Fahey d. 5. Alex Dupre, Rolling Green GC, 5&4.
2. Soeth d. 15. Dan Furman, Commonwealth National GC, 3&2.
10. Summers d. 7. R. Morgan Dougherty, Huntingdon Valley CC, 3&2.
3. Matthews d. 14. Brandon Roche, Burlington CC, Withdraw.
6. Pompey, Jr. d. 11. Cody Dazen, Little Mill CC, 21 holes.

First flight
16. Kovach d. 1. Joey Russo, Running Deer GC, 2&1.
9. Quirk d. 8. Mac Selverian, Aronimink GC, 4&3.
4. Altieri d. 13. Jay Fisher , Five Ponds GC, 2&1.
5. Dunlop, III d. 12. Matt Yanek, Woodstone CC, 2&1.
2. Goodrich d. 15. Kyle Allen, Phoenixville CC, 4&3.
10. Maul d. 7. Jake Van Arkel, Merion GC, Withdraw.
14. Klaus d. 3. Kevin Zipf, Philadelphia CC, 2&1.
6. Szrom d. 11. Brendan Papariello, White Manor CC, 3&2.

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