Radnor Valley CC's Bobby Svigals captures Christman Cup
NORTH HILLS, Pa.-Bobby Svigals of Radnor Valley CC experienced a career-best performance on a day when he needed it most.
The Villanova, Pa. resident registered a 36-hole total 143 to capture the Christman Cup Friday at Lu Lu CC (par 71, 6,327 yards). A humbled and soft-spoken Svigals expressed sentiments of pride and joy regarding a victory that featured a litany of firsts.
"It's the first 36-hole tournament I"ve ever won," he said. "It's the first time I've ever broken 150. Seventy is the best score I've ever shot. It"s a really nice win. I've been playing good, but I really didn't have too many expectations coming in."
Svigals, 17, started his title quest with three consecutive bogeys. On No. 1 (par 5, 478 yards), his tee shot nearly breached the out-bound stakes. He reached the putting surface with his fourth stroke, but missed a 10-footer to save par. He launched his 6-iron 175 yards on No. 2 (par 4, 357 yards) into the bushes and couldn't get up-and-down. A figurative dagger on No. 3 (par 4, 427 yards) again slashed Svigals' scorecard. His 4-iron from 190 yards out hooked to the right of the recover, and Svigals neglected to save par.
Three bogeys on his first three holes could've severely damaged Svigals mentally, but the soon-to-be Episcopal Academy senior remained even-keeled.
"I was hitting it all over. I'm not exactly sure what turned it around," he said. "I just started making a lot of putts after that. I played really consistent."
Svigals, who reached the semifinals in this year's Junior Boys' Championship, soon found magic with his flatstick. He carded his first birdie of the tournament on the par 4, 440-yard 13th hole. His 6-iron sailed 170 yards and settled 30-feet from the flagstick. Svigals rolled in a downhill, left-to-right breaker. He converted a six-footer for birdie on No. 14 (par 4, 358 yards) after a smooth 9-iron approach. Svigals' tee shot on the shortish par 4, 297-yard 16th hole fell short of the green, but he chipped up and fired a 15-footer to post his third red figure.
Svigals carded a 2-over-par 73 in the morning round, one stroke shy of 18-hole leader Mike Davis of Merion GC. He had one goal in mind for the afternoon session.
"Try to go as low as I could go," Svigals said. "I felt that I was putting really well."
And he did just that, thanks to a fabulous flatstick. Following a string of six straight pars, Svigals, who started his second round on the back nine, fired a birdie on No. 16. His drive missed the green left, so Svigals chipped up and executed a 10-footer for birdie. He blasted his sand wedge 110 yards on No. 18 (par 4, 399 yards) and drained a 15-footer for birdie. Svigals continued his red figure surge by drilling his 7-iron 165 yards on No. 3 (par 4, 399 yards). His delicate, downhill 20-footer dropped into the jar.
At that point, Davis and other challengers, such as Benjamin Cooley of Lu Lu CC and Ted Brennan of Philadelphia, had faded slightly. Standing at 1-under-par with six holes to play, Svigals implemented a conservative strategy to retain his place atop the leaderboard.
"I figured a bunch of pars would get the job done," he said.
Easier said than done. Svigals registered back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 5 (par 4, 443 yards) and 6 (par 3, 178 yards). His approach on the first drifted into the right-side trees. Svigals returned to the green with a lob wedge, but couldn"t convert a 20-footer for par.
On the latter, Svigals' 5-iron landed short of the green. His eight-footer for par lipped out. But Svigals stayed mellow and finished with three safe and sufficient pars.
Cooley, runner-up in the Junior Boys' Championship, finished second with a 3-over-par 145 total.