ABBOTTSTOWN — York Catholic senior Andrew Forjan knew he faced a tall task if he wanted to capture the York County Junior Golf Association George Barton Match Play Championship.
Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, the top 16 boys' golfers in the YCJGA point standings would need to tackle four rounds of match play in order to be crowned the champion. The long days, coupled with searing heat and humidity, meant the champion wouldn't so much be a winner as he'd be a survivor.
On Tuesday, that survivor was Forjan, who outlasted a late comeback by Eastern York senior Zach Dixon to force an extra hole, winning in 19 holes to capture the match-play title at Hanover Country Club. On the girls' side, Eastern York's Alexandra Lowder held off Susquehannock's Kendel Abrams, 1 up, to win the girls' trophy.
"It's a little bit relieving after my finish that last round because I definitely doubted myself for a second," Forjan said. "I definitely played well enough to get here and get to where I was and I'm just really happy I won it."
Regardless of how Forjan felt he played coming down the stretch in the championship match against Dixon, he was certainly rewarded for grinding it out vs. tough competition. In order to win the premier event of the summer-long tour, Forjan had to work overtime, needing not only 19 holes to knock off Dixon, but also needing 22 holes to get past Eastern York's Andrew Davis earlier in the day in the semifinals. In total, Forjan had to play 77 holes over the course of the two days.
When his match got underway against Dixon, he admitted that for the first four holes, his swings were tired and he was just going through the motions. But, midway through the front nine, he grabbed a snack and re-hydrated and it propelled him to another gear. From hole No. 8 through hole No. 13, Forjan played in 3-under par, helping him make the turn with a 1-up advantage. He eventually opened up a 3-up lead after the 14th hole.
Forjan had a chance to close out the victory on the 16th hole, but missed a four-foot par putt to push the match to No. 17. From there, Dixon went on to win the par-5 17th and par-3 18th to force an extra hole before Forjan pulled it all together for one final par on No. 1 to finish the job.
"At the end, I got a little bit hotter. A little bit more tired," Forjan said. "I started making some poor swings, but, that last hole, I gathered it all together and hit a pretty decent shot (into the green)."
Forjan did give a lot of credit to his caddie, fellow York Catholic golfer John Giambalvo, who may have had the tougher job of the two, carrying his bag all day.
The victory capped off a strong summer for Forjan, one that included him winning several key tournaments and also shooting a final-round 68 at the Grandview Golf Club championship. That success is giving him plenty of momentum as he now turns his attention to his senior season for the Fighting Irish in the York-Adams League.
"(My 68) and this too, saying I can compete with most of the kids in York, that definitely gives me a ton of confidence in counties, districts and hopefully all the way to states," he said.
Lowder holds off Abrams: While Forjan needed several holes to get back into the swing of things on the boys' side, Lowder didn't waste any time jumping ahead of Abrams in the girls' championship match.
Lowder made three birdies in her first five holes of the match to open up a lead, but despite her hot start, she still only held a 1-up lead going into the back nine. Then on the second nine, Lowder and Abrams matched each other shot-for-shot for the most part, with each player winning a hole. Lowder took the same 1-up lead into the final hole and halved it with Abrams to secure the win.
For Lowder, it was a big victory going into the high school season, where she'll be going head-to-head with Abrams and Central York's Julianne Lee as three of the top female golfers in the Y-A League. It was also a nice response to last year, when she lost in the match-play event to Abrams.
"She's so good," Lowder said about knocking off Abrams. "She beat me last year, so I was just trying to be better."
Fiery-Miller win Better Ball event: The team of Lynn Fiery and Karen Miller represented Hanover Country Club in winning the Women's York County Amateur Golf Association Better Ball Tournament at Regents' Glen Country Club on Tuesday.
In a field of more than 70 participants representing a number of area courses, Fiery and Miller were able to defeat the team of Amy Kennedy and Connie Shorb (Country Club of York) on a match-of-cards tiebreaker after each team carded a gross score of 73. Finishing in third place was the team of Susan Seifert and Hazel Pigott (Country Club of York) with a 76.
In the net division, Kristie Hamp and Sue Economopoulos (Regents' Glen) recorded a score of 61, one stroke better than the second-place team of Marie Nelson and Carolyn Hall (Regents' Glen). In third place was the pairing of Bev Miller and Mary Jane Epley (Out Door Country Club) with a 63.
Heilman scores an ace at Briarwood: Jackie Heilman scored her first career hole-in-one at Brairwood West on Tuesday.
Heilman used her utility club to ace the 105-yard par-3 14th hole on the West course.
Witnessing the feat were Emily Emig and Jane Eisenhart.
Briarwood East to hold two-man scramble: Teams are still being accepted for the 11th annual Briarwood East Two-Man Scramble to be held on Sunday.
The cost for the 18-hole tournament is $150 per team and includes green fees, cart, range balls and prizes. For more information, or to enter, visit Briarwood Golf Club or call (717) 792-1950.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com