McGrath becomes first HVCC member to win Junior-Junior title
MOORESTOWN, N.J. — In the 68 years of the Junior-Junior Boy’s Championship, a Huntingdon Valley Country Club member has never won the title. Ten players from the illustrious club have made it to the Final. All of them finished as runner-up.
| Championship Flight match play bracket | First Flight match play bracket | Photo gallery |
Brett McGrath doesn’t pay attention to history, though.
McGrath broke that streak with authority on Wednesday at Moorestown Field Club (par 72, 5,582 yards) as he defeated Kennett Square Golf & Country Club’s Roy Anderson, 7&5.
“That just makes it even better,” said McGrath, 13, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. “It means a lot. It’s really cool to come out here and represent our country club.”
McGrath overpowered Anderson with distance of the tee and prowess around the greens. He would never hold less than a 3-up advantage.
“I wasn’t hitting the ball too well off the tee, but I was putting it on the green and making pars,” Anderson, 13, of Chadds Ford, Pa. said. “He was just making birdies so there was nothing I could do.”
Out of the gates, McGrath’s flatstick was red hot. A birdie came on No. 1 (par 4, 311 yards) from 10 feet, with another red figure following, from the same distance, just off the front of the green on No. 2 (par 4, 260 yards). He would continue the winning streak, taking Nos. 3 (par 4, 363 yards) and 4 (par 3, 140 yards). On No. 5 (par 5, 456 yards), Anderson was on the green in four, leaving himself three feet for par. With a read from his caddie/brother, Conor, McGrath sank a 25-foot bomb for birdie.
“I didn’t really have any thoughts,” said McGrath, who will enter the eighth grade at Bryn Athyn Church School in the fall. “I was just having fun. Conor told me, ‘Brett, this is awesome. Just keep doing what you’re doing and it will work out.’ He had some killer reads.”
Anderson took some of the momentum back after the pair halved the par-4, 407-yard 6th hole. On No. 7 (par 5, 500 yards), He two-putted for par, while McGrath three-putted, including a lip out from two feet on his second attempt. Anderson, a rising eighth-grader at Charles F. Patton Middle School, also won No. 8 (par 3, 129 yards) to cut the deficit to three holes.
“I hit a great shot on No. 8 and all I needed to do was two-putt because he had a bunker shot that he hit over the green,” Anderson said. “I thought I had some momentum.”
On No. 10 (par 4, 311 yards), McGrath righted the ship. He whacked a sand wedge from 100 yards to 30 feet, and would two-putt for par, with Anderson finding trouble under a tree to the left of the green. On No. 11 (par 4, 260 yards), McGrath muscled his drive just off the front of the green. He chose to lift a 60-degree wedge from 15 feet, placing it within tap-in range for his birdie. Anderson flew the green on No. 12 (par 4, 363 yards) with his third shot, and settled for double bogey while McGrath was in safely with a par.
The match concluded on the par-3, 140-yard 13th hole as McGrath placed an 8-iron to 15 feet, with Anderson putting his tee shot in the right greenside bunker. McGrath would two-putt for the win.
“Then I just kind of stopped, shook his hand, and stood there and realized I had just won,” McGrath said. “He made some really good shots. If he was within 15 feet, I knew I had to two-putt to tie him because it was a guaranteed two-putt for him, if not a one-putt.”
The McGrath family continues their success in recent Association events. Older brother Liam, 19, medaled after firing a 3-under-par 68 in yesterday’s Patterson Cup qualifier at Lu Lu Country Club. Conor, 16, also qualified for the event, which will take place Thursday and Friday at their home club. With Conor on the bag, Liam and mom, Susan, walked the entire match, watching from afar.
“There were a lot of good vibes going on, we all did good stuff,” McGrath said. “It’s awesome they could see me do this. It was nice that Liam could come because he’s going off to college now. It was nice that he could come for this last one.”
Those good vibes will surely continue to flow in the McGrath household.
In the First-Flight Final, Matthew Macbride of the home club defeated McCall Golf & Country Club’s Andrew Damico, 2-up. On the match’s 18th hole (par 4, 350 yards), Macbride held a 1-up advantage. He then stuffed a pitching wedge from 120 yards to a foot to birdie for the win.
“I came in knowing that I had to make par to win, but I knew he was a very good golfer,” Macbride, 13, of Moorestown, N.J. said. “I realized that I just needed to put it on the green and I was lucky enough to put it close.”
Macbride, a rising eighth-grader at William Allen Middle School, fought back from a two-hole deficit through four holes to win in his first Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship appearance. The top-seeded Damico fell just short in what was also his first appearance in the event.
“It was a cool experience,” Damico, 13, of Havertown, Pa. said. “I know now that I am capable of making it to the Final. Hopefully, later on, I’m capable of winning it.”
Now in its 68th year, the Junior-Junior Boys’ Championship is open to players from Member Clubs who are 10 to 13 years of age.
Golf Association of Philadelphia