Probably the two hottest players in the field, Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Conor McCarthy and Talamore Country Club’s Patrick Sheehan, set up a quarterfinal showdown with victories in the opening round of match play Tuesday in the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s 103rd Junior Boys’ Championship, presented by PURE Insurance, at Spring-Ford Country Club.
McCarthy, an Academy of the New Church senior, was 4-under-par in qualifying Monday when a thunderstorm hit Spring-Ford, forcing the suspension of play. He returned Tuesday morning and went 2-under the rest of the way to overtake Spring-Ford’s Ben Pochet, the reigning District One Class AAA champion, for medalist honors with a 6-under 66 over the 6,362-yard, par-72 Spring-Ford layout.
McCarthy then went out and claimed a 3 and 2 victory over Matthew Kristick of Inniscrone Golf Club. Kristick, an Ocean City, Md. resident who will join Brian Quinn’s Temple program later this summer, was one of the two survivors among the six players who vied for the final two berths in the championship flight in a playoff at the completion of qualifying.
McCarthy nearly reached the 480-yard, par-5 14th in two and got it up and down for birdie and then finished off the match by knocking a choked-down 4-iron on the 189-yard 16th hole to four feet.
Sheehan, a junior at Central Bucks East, was coming off a strong showing in the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour’s Precision Pro Golf Open over the weekend, going 3-under over nearby Hickory Valley Golf Club’s Ambassador and Presidential courses for a five-shot victory.
Sheehan, who carded a solid 1-over 73 in qualifying, claimed a 2 and 1 victory over Caleb Ryan, a PIAA Class AAA qualifier as a sophomore at Norristown last fall. Ryan, playing out of the GAP Junior Players Club, also had a strong showing at Hickory Valley last weekend.
The winner of the McCarthy-Sheehan quarterfinal match will also get a tough test in Wednesday afternoon’s semifinals against the survivor of the quarterfinal between Zachary Barbin, a GAP Junior Players Club entry from Elkton, Md., and Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Brian Isztwan.
Barbin, who earned a trip to the U.S. Junior Amateur at the Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn., last summer, knocked off Pochet, who punched his ticket to this year’s U.S. Junior Amateur at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan. in a qualifier last week at Makefield Highlands Golf Club, 3 and 1.
Isztwan was the Inter-Ac League’s best player as a junior at Penn Charter during the regular season last fall based on a points system employed during the league’s six mini-tournaments. He knocked off recent Lower Merion graduate Alex Golland, a Spring-Ford member, 3 and 2.
Nikita Romanov, a GAP Junior Players Club entry from Wilmington, Del., was the last player to earn a spot in the championship bracket with a birdie on the third hole of the playoff earlier Tuesday. Then Romanov, the Philadelphia Section PGA Junior Tour’s 13-to-15 Player of the Year in 2016, went out and knocked off defending champion David Colleran Jr., a junior at Radnor and an Overbrook Golf Club member, 5 and 3.
Recent Souderton graduate Dawson Anders of Indian Valley Country Club will take on Romanov in the quarterfinals after claiming a 5 and 3 win over Jonathan Lumley of Spring-Ford.
The other quarterfinal matchup will pit Will Riva, who helped Lancaster Catholic win the PIAA Class AA team title as a senior last fall, and Downingtown East’s Wills Montgomery, who plays out of Applecross Country Club.
Riva, playing out of Bent Creek Country Club, defeated Whitford Country Club’s Ryan Conners, the District One Class AAA runnerup for Bishop Shanahan last fall, 3 and 1. Montgomery claimed a 2 and 1 victory over Saucon Valley Country Club’s Drew Warner.
The feature match in the first flight quarterfinals will pit Kyle Vance, the recent Methacton graduate who was a two-time District One champion, and Kevin Scherr of Woodstone Country Club.
Vance, who is headed for Kansas State, knocked off Matt Graeff of Manufacturers Golf & Country Club, 6 and 4, while Scherr rolled to an 8 and 7 win over Matthew Thomas of Medford Village Country Club.
Spring-Ford’s Ryan Tall, the Central League champion at Conestoga last fall, was one of the casualties of the 6-for-2 playoff for the championship flight, but he bounced back with a 3 and 2 win over Richie Kline of Kennett Square Golf & Country Club in a first flight match.
Tall’s quarterfinal opponent will be Bobby Beck of Lehigh Country Club, who ousted Waynesborough Country Club’s Jon Nolan Perry, who led Episcopal Academy to the Inter-Ac League title last fall, 1-up.
While it was a tough day for the host course’s entries with Pochet, Lumley and Golland all falling in their matches, Spring-Ford got a nice consolation prize with a convincing win in the Junior Team Championship.
Pochet’s 4-under 68, Lumley’s 73 and Golland’s 74 gave Spring-Ford a 1-under 215 total, 16 shots clear of runnerup Waynesborough, which had a 231 total. Spring-Ford was able to toss Connor Boham’s 81 in the 4-for-3 scoring.
Pochet, Lumley, who is moving to Florida this summer, and Boham helped Spring-Ford High claim the District One Class AAA team title last fall.