Top two seeds advance to 73rd #GAPJrJr at Moorestown
MOORESTOWN, N.J. – A new champion awaits after Day Two of the 73rd Junior-Junior-Boys’ Championship, which took place Tuesday at Moorestown Field Club (par 36, 2,617 yards).
Sean Curran of Merion Golf Club advanced to the Final after defeating Hidden Creek Golf Club’s Paul Reilly in the first Semifinal match, 3&2. In the next match, the Stroke-Play Qualifying Medalist, Davis Conaway of Fieldstone Golf Club, also advanced to the Final after a victory on the first playoff hole over Honeybrook Golf Club’s Ian Larsen. The 18-hole Final will tee off at Moorestown Wednesday at 8 a.m.
Today’s competition started with Quarterfinal matches, as Conaway defeated Chester Valley Golf Club’s Thomas Ploszay, 3&2. Conaway carded a birdie on No. 2 (par 4, 305 yards) and never looked back as he won the last two holes of the match on Nos. 6 (par 4, 349 yards) and 7 (par 5, 435 yards). The top-seeded Conaway finished both holes with a par while his opponent Ploszay ended up with back-to-back bogeys.
Also in the Quarters, Curran defeated Overbrook’s Cole Berry, 3&2. The No. 2 seed Curran fired off two birdies on Nos. 2 (par 4, 305 yards) and 7 (par 5, 435 yards). He also carded two eagles on Nos. 3 (par 4, 291 yards) and 5 (par 5, 347 yards) to give him the advantage over Berry to advance.
The Semifinal matches then started at 10:15 a.m.
Curran started the match vs. Reilly hot as he carded a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 311 yards) thanks to a 40-yard chip shot from a 58-degree wedge that landed within 10 feet and sank the putt.
“I thought it was very important to have that birdie on the first hole because it allowed me to set the tone for the rest of the day,” Curran, 13, of Newtown Square, Pa., said.
Curran’s most clutch birdie of the day came on No. 7 (par 5, 435 yards) as he hit a gap wedge from 105 yards to 15 feet, leading to the putt that closed the match.
In 2019, Curran finished the Junior-Junior-Boys’ Championship as runner-up against Wilmington Country Club’s Jack Homer, 3&2, at Flourtown Country Club. However, things are different this time around as Curran seeks revenge.
“The biggest difference between this tournament and the one in 2019 is that I can hit the ball a lot farther now, and I know when to be more aggressive with my putts,” Curran, a rising eighth-grader at The Haverford School, said.
In the other Semifinal match, Conaway fired off back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 (par 4, 291 yards) and 4 (par 3, 134 yards), giving him a 2-up lead. On No. 3, Conaway hit his driver to the center of the fairway and hit a 58-degree wedge shot from 70 yards to 10 feet, setting him up to sink the putt. Then on the next hole, Conaway teed off with a 9-iron from 124 yards to 17 feet, which he would make.
“Having those back-to-back birdies saved me because if I didn’t make those shots, I honestly don’t think I would’ve won,” Conaway, 13, of West Chester, Pa., said.
While Conaway was 2-under par through seven holes, he bogeyed Nos. 8 (par 3, 121 yards) and 9 (par 4, 324 yards) to send the match to extra holes.
“I still couldn’t believe that the match was going into a playoff,” Conaway, a rising eighth-grader at Malvern Preparatory School, said. “However, I had to get mentally ready to play that next hole, and I was able to get the job done.”
The extra playoff hole was no problem for Conaway as his par outlasted Larsen’s bogey allowing him to advance to his first-ever #GAPJrJr Final.
“I definitely benefited from having extra time off yesterday and had some time to rest and practice,” Conaway said. “I’m excited to play against Sean tomorrow. He’s a great player who hits the ball really hard, and I’m going to have to play some of my best golf.”
The Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship is open to members of a GAP Member Club who are 10 to 13 years of age.
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 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
1.Davis Conaway, Fieldstone d. 4. Ian Larsen, 10 holes
2. Sean Curran, Merion d. 6. Paul Reilly, Hidden Creek, 3&2.
1.Davis Conaway, Fieldstone d. 9. Thomas Ploszay, Chester Valley, 3&2.
4. Ian Larsen, Honeybrook d. 5. Liam McFadden, Overbrook, 1 up.
2. Sean Curran, Merion d. 10. Cole Berry, Overbrook, 3&2.
6. Paul Reilly, Hidden Creek, d. 3. Quin Zuegner, Lookaway, 3&1.