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Zach Dilcher takes Junior-Junior ChampionshipWEST CHESTER, Pa. – Zach Dilcher of Inniscrone GC engineered two great escapes Wednesday to beat Edward McCrossen of Whitemarsh Valley CC, 1-up in 20 holes, to win the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 57th Junior-Junior Championship at West Chester G&CC (par 70, 5,414 yards).
Dilcher, 11, was 3-down with five holes to play, after McCrossen, 13, played the first four holes on the back nine in 1-under par to go from All Square at the turn to 3-up.
Dilcher started his comeback with a birdie three on the par 4, 319-yard 14th hole to cut the deficit to 2-down. He got another hole back when he won No. 16 (par 3, 170 yards) with a bogey four after McCrossen found a left bunker, came out short and three-putted from the fringe.
He got back to All Square on No. 17 (par 5, 460 yards) with a wedge to within three feet for a birdie four. Both players parred the 144-yard, par 3 18th hole to set the stage for a dramatic 19th.
On No. 19 (par 5, 446 yards), McCrossen pulled his drive left into trees, came out across the fairway into the right rough and hit his third shot to 25 feet in the middle of the green.
Dilcher laced a long drive just into the right rough, within reach of the green in two shots. But he sprayed his second right of the green into trees and behind a deep, greenside bunker. Then things got worse.
He skulled a wedge across the green into a partially-buried lie near the back lip and on the down slope of a left bunker. He hit a great recovery shot to 20 feet, but when McCrossen nestled his birdie putt to within inches, it looked like it was all over.
Not so. Dilcher hit his breaking 20-footer boldly and it rattled into the hole for a half as he jumped into the air, pumped his fist and yelled "yeah," all in one motion.
On No. 20, a 373-yard par 4 hole with a steep, 15-foot hill hiding a blind green, both players hit long drives down the middle. But McCrossen’s 175-yard second shot failed to clear the hill, while Dilcher’s 160-yard shot with a 21-degree rescue club cleared the hill, caught the right side of the green and rolled to within 12 feet.
McCrossen missed left and chipped close. But Dilcher two-putted, the second from three feet, for the title.
"I’m stunned," he said, looking stunned. "I’m amazed. I’m just in awe."
Dilcher, of Avondale, Pa., who plays to a 5.8 handicap, will enter the seventh grade in September at the Avon Grove Charter School.
While he had difficulty finding words to describe his emotions, he readily praised his opponent. "He played so well," Dilcher said. "Whenever I hit a good shot, he came back and hit a better one."
In the first flight championship, Cameron Liebert of Edgmont CC defeated Mike Meehan of Moorestown Field Club, 2&1.
The second flight title went to C.J. Van Ostenbridge of Spring Ford CC, 5&3, over Ian Byerly of Coatesville CC. R. Morgan Dougherty of Huntingdon Valley CC took the third flight, 3&1, over Drew London of Plymouth CC.