Updike Holds Off Rush to Win Junior Boys' Championship
HERSHEY, Pa. - A steady and solid performance over 36 holes meant victory for Aronimink Golf Club's John Updike at the 2016 Pennsylvania Junior Boys' Championship, presented by Allegheny Health Network, at Hershey Country Club. Updike shot matching rounds of even par 71 to claim the title by one shot over PAGA Individual Member Karsen Rush.
Updike entered the final day of the competition tied for the lead. He quickly established his position at the top of the leaderboard with a birdie on the par-5 first hole, and followed that up with another birdie on No. 5. After a bogey on the seventh hole, he stuck his tee shot on the par-3 eighth hole to about two feet, just as a storm moved through and caused the horn to blow for a weather delay. After waiting about 90 minutes, Updike calmly stepped back onto the green at No. 8 and sank the birdie putt. Despite bogeying two of the next three holes, he was able to make pars the rest of the way to finish with a 36 hole total of 142. Heading into his 18th hole of the second round, Updike needed a par to win over Rush. However, after hitting his drive into the right rough, that outcome was in doubt.
"I was way right, short of the bunker, and I was a little blocked off," Updike said. "But I had the same kind of shot yesterday, and I knew that if I hit a cut and hit it hard, I could get it to the front of the green."
And that's exactly what he did, taking his 6-iron from 202 yards out and hitting that cut to the front of the green, where he left his birdie try about 3.5 feet away before making the par putt to win the title over Rush.
That Updike needed to make par on 18 was a testament to the round put together by Rush, who shot the low round of the event with his second round 69. After opening with a 74, Rush knew he needed to go low to have a chance.
"I wanted to be aggressive, yet conservative at the same time," said Rush of his game plan entering day two. "I wanted to be in position to make birdies but not put myself in a spot where I'd make bogeys."
On 18, knowing that he was a stroke behind Updike, who was a few groups behind him on the course, Rush smashed his driver nearly 340 yards and hit his approach shot to 10 feet, looking for his seventh birdie on the round. However, he could not convert the birdie putt and settled for par and the score of 69.
"I got in a little rough stretch in the middle part of my round but I kept it together," Rush said. "I'm proud of the way I played today."
In the Junior-Junior Boys' Championship at nearby Spring Creek Golf Club, PAGA Individual Member Joshua Ryan won the title with a convincing two-round score of 129 (-3). Ryan followed up an opening round 65 with a 64 in day two. He was responsible for two of the three under par rounds in the event.
Ryan finished five shots ahead of Huntingdon Valley Country Club's Patrick Isztwan, who shot 64-70 and finished two shots ahead of fellow HVCC member Brett McGrath.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Hershey Country Club for their hospitality during the championship.