Riverton’s Kramarski grabs Jock MacKenzie in playoff
ORELAND, Pa. — On the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Junior circuit, Kevin Kramarski of Riverton Country Club is best known for his wardrobe. The Moorestown, N.J. resident dresses in the vein of PGA Tour icon Rickie Fowler.
Kramarski matched his idol’s attire and Championship prowess in the 28th Jock MacKenzie Memorial Monday. He defeated Yardley Country Club’s Reilly Erhardt, the tournament’s defending champion, in a sudden-death playoff to capture the crown at a stifling Sandy Run Country Club (par 72, 6,405 yards).
“I just feel like my heart’s rushing,” an eager Kramarski said. “I have mixed emotions. I’m really happy, obviously. Everything feels good right now.”
“I can’t really complain,” Erhardt, 16, of Newtown, Pa., said. “I played well. Kevin played well also. The tee shot in the playoff got me.”
On the first playoff hole (par 4, 352 yards), Erhardt pulled a choked-down 3-wood left, punched out from underneath a tree and hit a wedge to 25 feet left of the flagstick. Kramarski, meanwhile, found the fairway with a solid 4-iron. He missed the green right with a pitching wedge from 135 yards. With a reasonable lie, Kramarski channeled his inner-Fowler and nestled a chip to two feet. Erhardt nearly canned his 25-footer to match Kramarski’s ensuing 4. His golf ball rammed the back of the jar and popped out.
“I thought it was going in,” Erhardt said. “I read it how I wanted to and hit it how I wanted to. It was close.”
Fowler earned his first PGA Tour victory this year in the Wells Fargo Championship. Kramarski followed suit by attaining his first GAP Junior trophy.
“All I see in Rickie Fowler’s game is confidence,” Kramarski said. “He goes out there regretting nothing. He never really looks that nervous, and I look up to that. I admire how much he puts into his game.”
After his performance Monday, Kramarski appears well-groomed for the Christman Cup, the final Junior Major of the season.
“It definitely boosts my confidence. I just have to keep the same mindset for Friday,” he said.
Kramarski experienced an eventful outward campaign in regulation. His scorecard featured four circles (birdies) and three squares (bogeys) in the first seven holes.
“My approach shots were key because the birdies that I did make, I stuck them to within 10 feet,” Kramarski, an incoming sophomore at St. Joseph’s Prep, said. “The soft greens helped out a lot today. My drives were straight, which also helped.”
Kramarski opened with a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 352 yards), drilling a 9-iron 145 yards to six feet. He missed an 18-inch putt to save par on the next hole (par 3, 186 yards). Kramarski rebounded with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 (par 4, 411 yards) and 4 (par 4, 337 yards). He hit a pitching wedge 135 yards to feet on the first, a lob wedge 70 yards to four feet on the latter. Kramarski couldn’t maintain the newfound momentum, however. Missed greens on Nos. 5 (par 4, 384 yards) and 6 (par 4, 377 yards) created bogeys on the scorecard. Kramarski delved into his tight approach coffers for a birdie on the par 4, 317-yard No. 7. He lofted a lob wedge 60 yards to two feet.
Kramarski moved to 2 under with a birdie on No. 11 (par 5, 564 yards). He crushed a hybrid 250 yards into the left rough just off the green. Kramarski then cozied a chip to 10 feet. A string of seven consecutive pars thrust Kramarski into a bind with Erhardt atop the leaderboard.
“My game is pretty solid right now. I just need to be more consistent,” Kramarski, who qualified for match play in the Junior Boys’ Championship, said. “I feel like I have good rounds in me to come, but when I don’t play too well, it’s not too bad.”
Erhardt relied on a rock steady short game, carding four birdies against two bogeys in regulation.
“Every time I missed a green, I made up-and-downs, so that really helped me make pars,” Erhardt, an incoming sophomore at Holy Ghost Preparatory School, said. “I wasn’t really worried about where I finished. I just wanted to focus on hitting greens and two-putting. I capitalized on the greens I hit.”
Erhardt strayed from his strategy on two holes, which resulted in his only bogeys. On the par 3, 186-yard No. 2, Erhardt three-putted from 35 feet. With 110 yards into the No. 18 (par 4, 322 yards) flagstick for his third stroke, he attempted to execute a bump-and-run 8-iron, but his golf ball darted into the rear rough. Cue the sharp short game, which allowed Erhardt to ease a chip into tap-in territory for a clutch bogey save.
Erhardt’s first red figure occurred on No. 7(par 4, 317 yards). He knocked a 9-iron 135 yards to eight feet above the flagstick for birdie. Erhardt birdied a pair of par 3s on the back nine, stopping a crisp 9-iron on the No. 10 (128 yards) at 12 feet and an 8-iron at four feet on No. 12 (167 yards). He drained a downhill, left-to-right breaking 15-footer for a fist-pumping 3 on No. 17 (par 4, 370 yards) following a 115-yard pitching wedge shot.
“I was really excited about that putt. I knew that I needed to make it to have a little bit of a comfort zone to make a mistake on No. 18,” Erhardt said.
Nick Miller of Overbrook Golf Club defeated Jacob Liberman of Radnor Valley Country Club in a sudden-death playoff to capture the Junior-Junior Division. Both players carded respective 40s (4 over) in regulation.
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 145 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.