MOORESTOWN, N.J. — Brett McGrath and Roy Anderson came into the Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship with different levels of experience in Golf Association of Philadelphia tournaments. Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s McGrath competed last year in the Championship Flight, as well as the Jock Mackenzie and Francis X. Hussey Memorial the past two years. Anderson, of Kennett Square Golf & Country Club, has never competed in an Association event. | Day One results | Day 1 Recap | Day 3 Recap | History | Championship Flight match play bracket
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The two, however, displayed that experience doesn’t always matter by punching tickets to the Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship Final on Tuesday at Moorestown Field Club (par 36, 2,764 yards).
Both players had a hand in defeating last year’s finalists. McGrath defeated last year’s champion, Louis John Giovi of Mercer Oaks Golf Course, in the semifinals in 10 holes. In the quarterfinals, Anderson defeated 2015 runner-up Patrick Isztwan of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, 1-up.
The 18-hole Final begins at 8 a.m. tomorrow.
McGrath, 13, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. followed up Monday’s medalist honors and first-round victory with consistent accuracy off the tee and a stellar short game.
“My family expected it,” McGrath, a rising-eighth grader at Bryn Athyn Church School, said. “I didn’t really expect that. They were saying, ‘Brett, this is your year, you’re going to win it.’ They were giving me a lot of confidence.”
In the quarterfinals, McGrath duplicated yesterday’s success by defeating Jake Maddaloni of Aronimink Golf Club, 4&3. He won No. 1 (par 4, 308 yards) and grabbed a 2-up lead with a birdie on No. 3 (par 4, 287 yards) after knocking a sand wedge from 52 yards to four feet. Two holes later, McGrath won No. 5 (par 5, 405 yards) with another red figure. He closed out the match by smashing an 8-iron from 150 yards to eight feet, followed by a two-putt par on No. 6 (par 4, 401 yards), while Maddaloni bogeyed the hole.
McGrath then faced Giovi, with whom he was paired with during stroke-playing qualifying on Monday. Immediately, McGrath was in a position he hadn’t been in yet. He lost Nos. 1 and 2 to Giovi, and was 2-down through the first four holes.
“It was my first time [being down],” said McGrath. “The way he was able to recover, I thought of him as a robot, like Henrik Stenson.”
The tides changed for McGrath on No. 5. Left with 179 yards for his second shot, he rocketed a 6-iron to two feet. After Giovi chipped in birdie from behind the green, McGrath tapped in for eagle.
“That’s where I got my confidence,” said McGrath. “I was really excited about that, it was my first eagle. It was nice to have it in a match that really mattered.”
His confidence was further boosted with the arrival of close confidant Patrick Isztwan. After losing his quarterfinal match, Isztwan chose to caddie for his club and teammate for the remainder of the match. The two have teamed together to compete in the last two Francis X. Hussey Memorial tournaments.
“When I was teeing off on 6, I hit it left. Then, I looked over and saw Patrick coming and he said ‘I’m your caddie now’. That really helped, I had someone to talk to. He helped out a lot.”
McGrath squared the match with by winning No. 8 (par 3, 125 yards), with Giovi finding trouble in the right greenside bunker. No. 9 (par 4, 355 yards) was halved, and the pair moved back to No. 1. With both tee shots finding the center of the fairway, Giovi stuck a wedge to 15 feet. McGrath responded by disposing of a sand wedge to three feet. When Giovi was unable to make the putt, McGrath took the match with a birdie.
Meanwhile, the newcomer Anderson defeated the aforementioned Isztwan after jumping out to a two-hole advantage through four holes. The rising eighth-grader at Charles F. Patton Middle School smacked a pitching wedge from 114 yards to 12 feet and sank the birdie putt on No. 1. After two-putting for par from 30 feet on No. 3, Anderson lost Nos. 5 and 8. He settled down and won the match with a par on the 9th hole, as Isztwan three-putted for bogey.
“This is my first year playing this tournament,” said Anderson, 13, of Chadds Ford, Pa. “I wanted to try other tournaments. I usually play in Philly Junior Tour events. I wanted to make it into the Championship Flight, that was my only goal.”
Anderson further exceeded that goal in his second match against Talamore Country Club’s Darren Nolan, winner of the First Flight last year. He rolled a 20-foot putt in for birdie on No. 3 after his sand-wedge approach from 85 yards. Anderson came back with another birdie on the 5th hole, draining a 15-footer. Like his first match, he left the door open for Nolan by losing Nos. 6 and 7.
Again, however, he would win No. 8 with a two-putt par, while Nolan three-putted. Approaching the 9th tee box, Anderson had one simple thought.
“Don’t lose the hole,” said Anderson. “It doesn’t matter if I win it or halve it, just don’t lose it.”
He followed through by getting on the green in two while Nolan found trouble in the right greenside bunker. After missing a 15-foot birdie putt, Nolan, who finished with a bogey, conceded the par.
“It’s a fun tournament and good competition,” said Anderson. “I like the format and that one hole can’t mess you up.”
Now in its 68th year, the Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship is open to players from Member Clubs who are 10 to 13 years of age.
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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.
1. Brett McGrath, Huntingdon Valley CC, d. 4. Louis John Giovi, Mercer Oaks GC, 10 holes.
6. Roy Anderson, Kennett Square G&CC, d. 7. Darren Nolan, Talamore CC, 2-up.
1. Brett McGrath, Huntingdon Valley CC, d. 9. Jake Maddaloni, Aronimink GC, 4&3.
4. Louis John Giovi, Mercer Oaks GC, d.Matthew Zerfass, Brookside CC of Allentown, 5&3.
7. Darren Nolan, Talamore CC, d. 2. Henry Fish, Chester Valley GC, 10 holes.
6. Roy Anderson, Kennett Square G&CC, d. 3. Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley CC, 1-up.
1. Andrew Damico, McCall G&CC, d. 4. Jack Davis, Aronimink GC, 2&1.
3. Matthew Macbride, Moorestown FC, d. 2. Kevin Lafond, Blue Bell CC, 1-up.
1. Andrew Damico, McCall G&CC, d. Matthew Wilson, Meadia Heights GC, by default.
4. Jack Davis, Aronimink GC, d. James Gradisek, Philadelphia CC, 10 holes.
2. Kevin Lafond, Blue Bell CC, d. 7. Charlie Hurchalla, The Springhaven Club, 1-up.
3. Matthew Macbride, Moorestown Field Club, d. 6. Drew Loughnane, Merion GC, 2&1.