PHILADELPHIA, Pa.–Driving for show and putting for dough, or in this case, the J. Wood Platt Trophy, is old age axiom, but it proved to be most appropriate and accurate in describing Saturday’s 106th Amateur Championship final at Torresdale-Frankford CC. That’s because Kyle Davis of Fieldstone GC demonstrated a magnificent short game and smooth putter to defeat Paul Rogowicz of Yardley CC, 5&3, for his first Amateur crown.
Davis, 20, of Kennett Square, Pa., is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida. This was his third time competing in the Amateur Championship and the first time he’s ever advanced past the first round.
“It’s pretty special,” said Davis of earning a spot on the J. Wood Platt Amateur Championship Trophy. “I’m really excited. It’s a great honor to be a GAP Amateur Champion.”
For Rogowicz, 42, of Yardley, Pa., this, too, was his first Amateur final. It was a spectacular run for a longtime fixture in Golf Association of Philadelphia championships. Rogowicz has played in the Amateur on and off for a number of years, but this was his first time advancing into match play.
“Overall, I’m ecstatic,” said Rogowicz. “It’s something I can take forward and hopefully play good golf [the rest of the year].”
Davis, who never trailed in the 36-hole final, grabbed command of the match near the conclusion of the morning round’s 18 holes. He first drained a 10-foot birdie chance from behind the hole on No. 15 (par 4, 302 yards). Then on No. 16 (par 5, 561 yards), where he stood 2-up, Davis demonstrated some of that short game magic. Standing 64 yards away he nearly holed out with a 54-degree wedge. The ball rimmed out and stopped a couple feet away. Rogowicz, who played first with an approach shot that spun back to about 10 feet below the hole, then watched his birdie try lip out. Davis moved to 3-up.
Davis maintained that advantage with a spectacular up-and-down from the left bunker on No. 17 (par 3, 192 yards) and Rogowicz made a nice up-and-down par from long and left of the green.
On No. 18 (par 4, 376 yards), Davis seized control of the match for good. His fairway bunker shot clipped a tree 30 yards short of the green, but he lifted a Lob Wedge up and over those same trees to about six feet. Rogowicz was on the back fringe in two, but watched his initial putt sail five feet past. He did not make that comebacker and Davis, with all the momentum on his side, moved to 4-up with 18 holes to go.
“I think  was big. Not so much to help me, but maybe just to hurt him a little bit,” said Davis. “I expected myself to get it up and down, and I know maybe he thought I would not, when I did maybe it rattled him a little bit.”
Added Rogowicz, “I saw two of the greatest up-and-downs [you’ll ever see]. On 18 was phenomenal. That really set the tone, too. It looked like I was going to get it back to 2-down and I end up losing the hole. That was a key.”
In the afternoon’s round, Davis continued to apply the pressure.
Rogowicz did take the 19th hole (No. 1, par 4, 353 yards), with a bogey, no less, but Davis responded with wins on the ensuing two holes to push his lead to 6-up with 15 holes remaining. Rogowicz cut the deficit to five holes with a par on the 25th hole (No. 7, par 4, 457 yards) after Davis found trouble along the tree line, but Davis quickly responded by taking the next two holes. Rogowicz sent a fairway wood into the creek on the 26th hole (No. 8, par 4, 471 yards) and Davis got up and down for par from short left of the hole. On the 27th hole (No. 9, par 3, 172 yards), Davis lasered a punched 6-iron iron to six feet and made the birdie putt. Rogowicz drew a difficult lie in the left greenside bunker and failed to get up and down.
Rogowicz made a little bit of a comeback taking holes No. 28 and 29 with a par and bogey, respectively, but Davis crushed a drive on the 30th hole (No. 12, par 4, 330 yards) and was left with just 60 yards. He dropped his wedge to three feet for a birdie and the win to move his side to 6-up with six to go.
Rogowicz made a dazzling 60-foot eagle putt on the par 5, 555-yard 31st hole (No. 13) and got up-and-down on the 32nd hole (No. 14, par, 3, 216 yards) to remain alive but three-putted the 33rd hole (No. 15, par 4, 302 yards) and conceded Davis his short par putt and the victory.
“[Winning this] just sets a bar for you,” said Davis. “It shows you can play to a specific level and then if you get to this point again, have to confidence to do it.”
14. Kyle Davis, Fieldstone GC d. 12. Paul Rogowicz, Yardley CC, 5&3