|Dawson Anders won his first GAP title Thursday.|
Dawsonâ€™s week: Anders completes
#GAPJunior title run at SFCC
ROYERSFORD, Pa. â€” A quick trip to Jamaica provided a much-needed rest for Indian Valley Country Clubâ€™s Dawson Anders, but in turn, the hiatus from the game left him with total doubt in his golf swing.
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It didnâ€™t take long for the uncertainty to fade at Spring Ford Country Club (par 72, 6,607 yards). Anders looked as comfortable on Spring Ford Country Clubâ€™s greens as he did on the pristine beaches he wandered just two days ago.
On a rescheduled date, the Temple University commit commanded a 6&4 victory Thursday over Huntingdon Valley Country Clubâ€™s Brian Isztwan to win the title. Todayâ€™s showdown, a mutually-agreed upon date, happened after rains pushed back the original calendar slot of June 21.
An Isztwan bogey on No. 3 (par 4, 380 yards) followed by a double bogey on the par-3, 145-yard 4th gave Anders the early edge he needed to regain confidence in his power-centric swing.
That length was on full display on the par-4, 315-yard 6th hole, where Anders made a living this week. Todayâ€™s birdie became his biggest ante. Anders pulled driver from his bag, gave it a full go and skidded his tee shot to six feet in front of the cup. Although Anders lipped out on the eagle look, one he deemed â€śtoo close to miss,â€ť he tapped in to take a ballooning 3-up advantage. Momentum Anders.
Immediately following the loss there, Isztwan implemented his one true title move of the match. He knew stopping Andersâ€™ momentum was needed, and fast.
â€śAfter my rough start, I got one back by holing a 44-yard wedge shot on No. 7 (par 3, 200 yards) and I birdied No. 8 (par 4, 340 yards) to get back to only 1-down. That was the only real push I had all day,â€ť said Isztwan, 17, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
The frontâ€™s final hole proved pivotal. It was there where Andersâ€™ tee ball nestled up in a tree nook, forcing him to choose wisely: either punch out with risk, or take an unplayable. He played it out, thinking an unplayable penalty would take him out of the hole. It turned out being the best decision heâ€™d make all day.
â€śI feel like I definitely stole one there [on No. 9]. I was lucky [Isztwan] missed that putt,â€ť said the Telford, Pa. resident. â€śThat was the turning point in the match for me. After that, the remaining holes just went my way.â€ť
Making the turn, the eventual champion â€śwasnâ€™t happyâ€ť with the narrow 1-up lead, but instead reverted back to the mindset of a tropical vacationer: calm, cool and collected.
Two birdies on the second sideâ€™s first five holes gave Anders the title, leaving little opportunity for Isztwan to recover. After winning No. 10 (par 4, 420 yards) due to an Isztwan double, Anders again took command with a birdie on No. 11 (par 4, 356 yards) after a hybrid-wedge combo led to a 10-foot conversion. More bogey blemishes cost Isztwan Nos. 12 (par 4, 386 yards) and 13 (par 4, 353 yards). Dormie, Anders.
The par-3, 170-yard 14th hosted Anders triumph. He fired a 9-iron into the greenâ€™s left slope, where his ball trickled to 10 feet. He walked the birdie attempt in as Anders watched his ball fall over the front lip.
â€śI really wanted to make that putt. I wanted to just drain it and end it there,â€ť said Anders, who finished out the match winning the final five holes.
â€śI played the back nine really well [Monday and Tuesday] last week,â€ť said Isztwan, making his first #GAPJunior match-play appearance. â€śThe first shot I hit left all day went out-of-bounds and in match play it is all about momentum. It was Dawsonâ€™s turn to win the tournament and he was 2-under on the back nine so it was tough to beat him.â€ť
Awaiting the winner in a patch of greenside shade was a clan of Andersâ€™.
â€śIt feels amazing to get this done in front of my family. It was especially great to have my Grandma out here watching, knowing she couldnâ€™t be out here last week with all the heat. Having them here to congratulate me after hitting that [winning] birdie putt, that was pretty cool,â€ť he said.
After graduating this month from Souderton Area High School, the trip to Jamaica served as â€śsenior weekâ€ť alongside a few buddies and their mothers.
â€śI was pretty worried [about my golf game] down there. I tried to keep my mind off it by just stretching and relaxing. But when I got back [at 9 p.m.] Tuesday, it was all I could think of. I spent all day Wednesday at the practice facility. It was the only thing on my mind.â€ť
The only thing on his mind now is envisioning his name being etched on the Peg Burnett Trophy.
â€śThis is my biggest win to date. It feels great to have my name on that trophy with all the other talent that has come through the GAP,â€ť said the winner.
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Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 Philadelphiaâ€™s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphiaâ€™s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
9. Dawson Anders, Indian Valley Country Club, d. 6. Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, 6&4.
9. Dawson Anders, Indian Valley CC d. 13. Wills Montgomery, Applecross CC, 3&2
6. Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley CC d. 7. Patrick Sheehan, Talamore CC, 4&3