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Davis takes Jay Sigel Match Play Championship

Match play tree
Day 1 Results
Day 2 Results

  NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.-Kyle Davis got off to a fast start and never looked back.

  Davis, 18, a plus 4 handicapper from Kennett Square G&CC, nailed a 300-yard drive on the par 4, 430-yard first hole at Aronimink GC on Wednesday, drained a 25-foot birdie putt, and went on to beat Greg Pieczynski, 21, of Kingston, Pa., 5&4, to win the Pennsylvania Golf Association’s inaugural R. Jay Sigel Match Play Championship.

  Davis, a junior at Unionville High School, was seeded 15th in the select field of 32 players from throughout the state. Pieczynski, a junior who plays No. 2 on the Penn State golf team, with a handicap of plus .3, was seeded 17th. He’s a member of Irem Temple CC.

  It was a battle of Unionville vs. Penn State, with both players’ golf bags emblazoned with their school names and colors; Davis toting his own bag, and Pieczynski’s dad, Ron, carrying his.

  Davis, a left hander, quickly went 2-up in the match with a par on the 446-yard, par 4 third, after a trap shot from a greenside bunker to three feet. Pieczynski hit his approach over the green and failed to get up and down. It was one of four greens he overshot on the day.

  Both players, consistently driving the ball 290 yards or more off the tee, parred holes 4 and 5, bogeyed 6, and parred 7, before coming to the pivotal 8th and 9th.

  On the par 3, 237-yard 8th, Davis hit a five iron into a right greenside bunker, bladed the ball over the green, chipped back to 8 feet, where his putt went in and then out of the hole, bringing him to his knees. Pieczynski hit the green and parred the hole, cutting the deficit to 1-down.

  But Davis quickly regained the advantage on No. 9, an uphill, 556-yard par 5. He hit his drive 290, smoked a 260-yard 3-wood to just off the front of the green, chipped to 3 feet and birdied the hole to go 2-up.

  Both scrambled and bogeyed the long, 454-yard, par 4 10th hole, as Davis hit his drive into trees on the right and lipped out an 8-foot par putt. Pieczynski again hit an approach on the flag but over the green.

  On the 11th, a 413-yard par 4, Davis again hit his drive 290, and was outdriven by Pieczynsky by 30 yards. Both parred, with Davis lipping out, again, a 10-footer for bird.

  The match turned on the 12th, a 465-yard par 4. Both players missed the green left after drives of 295 yards. After Pieczynsky missed an 8-footer, Davis rolled his putt in from 5 feet to go 3-up.

  On the 13th, a short, 393-yard par 4, Davis, conservatively, hit the fairway with a rescue club, and Pieczynski, using a driver, buried his drive under the lip of a left fairway bunker. Davis, with a par, went 4-up.

  Pieczynski had one last glimmer of hope on the 218-yard, par 3 14th, where he chipped to within three feet from the front fringe and watched Davis ram a 40-foot putt 12 feet past. But Davis holed the tough, down hill putt, and Pieczynski missed the 3-footer, ending the match.

  Davis’ medal score was 1-over par to that point, with the tees back at 7,152 yards and pins tucked into Sunday tour positions.

  Davis, who last year captured the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Junior Boys’ Championship and also advanced to match play at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, called the Sigel Championship "my best win ever, on an awesome golf course," which he had played for the first time during a practice round Sunday.

"I hit the ball well, made a lot of putts and the breaks seemed to go my way," he said.

He credited two people for his success in golf. One is his brother, Jonathan, a plus 1 handicapper who plays on the Oglethorp (Ga.) University golf team, who constantly challenged him. "Wanting to beat my brother, now those were my really important matches," he grinned.

The other is his coach, Mike Dynda, professional at Blue Bell CC and golf coach at Drexel University, who walked by his side throughout the tournament. "Mike’s been my coach since the sixth grade," he said. "But he’s more than a coach. He’s as much a friend as he is an awesome teacher."

Pieczynski, said hitting the ball over four greens hurt him. "I don’t know whether it was adrenalin or the warm air," he said. "I executed the shots the way I wanted to, but I just miscalculated, and you can’t make those kind of tactical, strategic mistakes, especially on this course.

"But," he added, "Kyle played great. It wasn’t like I lost it. Kyle just won it. I can’t have any regrets when Kyle played like that."

Pieczynski, who says he would like to play professional golf some day, has a sponsor’s exemption to play in Nationwide Tour’s Northeast Pennsylvania Classic in two weeks in Scranton.

For Davis, it’s back to high school and homework for another year, and thoughts of playing golf in college, "somewhere where it’s warm."

Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 OUT 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 IN TOTAL
Par 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 3 5 35 4 4 4 4 3 4 5 3 4 35 70
PIECZYNSKI, Greg 4 4 5 4 3 5 4 3 5 37 5 4 5 4 4  
Fairway Hit X X X X NA   X NA         X   NA
Green Hit X X     X   X X X     X     X
DAVIS, Kyle 3 4 4 4 3 5 4 5 4 36 5 4 4 3 3  
Fairway Hit X   X   NA   X NA X     X X X NA
Green Hit X X   X     X   X     X X X X
  1up 1up 2up 2up 2up 2up 2up 1up 2up   2up 2up 3up 4up 5up
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