CINNAMINSON, N.J. — Mariano Medico penned his name in the Golf Association of Philadelphia record books Thursday. The Fox Hill Country Club youngster defeated a determined Nicolas McCook of Applecross Country Club, 3&2, to capture the Junior Boys’ Championship at a pleasant Riverton Country Club. In doing so, Medico became only the eighth player in the tournament’s 100-year history to earn multiple titles. He also won in 2012 at Torresdale-Frankford Country Club.
“It’s pretty cool to put my name up there as the 100th champion. It’s going to be awesome when someone wins the 200th and they look back and say, ‘Who’s that Medico kid?’” Medico, 18, of Shavertown, Pa., said. “It was so heartbreaking for me in the semifinals last year. I had it wrapped up on the 19th hole [against Roland Massimino, the eventual champion in 2013]; I just needed to two-putt from 15 feet. It just feels great to be in this position where I am now.”
“This was a really big week for me because I hadn’t been playing good golf until here,” McCook, 17, of Chester Springs, said. “This was just reaffirming of all of the hard work I’ve put in for a long time. It was really nice to come out to a wonderful course, shoot as well as I did the first day and stick around until now.”
Odd occurrences at the match’s outset clouded Medico’s hopes for a second Peg Burnett Trophy; A drive that settled on a sewer grate in the parking lot on No. 1 (par 4, 360 yards), a siren blare during his backswing on No. 3 (par 4, 403 yards) and tee shots that darted into divots on Nos. 5 (par 4, 302 yards) and 7 (par 5, 525 yards). The divots, though, provided Medico with the mettle he needed to make a move. He hit a 50-degree wedge 112 yards to six feet for a 3 on No. 5, and a pitching wedge 120 yards to a foot for a conceded birdie on No. 7. Medico also won No. 6 (par 3, 213 yards) after McCook toed a 25-footer for birdie and proceeded to three-putt.
McCook miscues continued to collide with Medico magnificence as the match unfolded. Both players missed the No. 8 (par 4, 330 yards) green, but McCook failed to get up-and-down for bogey after sending a chip across the sprawling surface. Medico, a recent Holy Redeemer High School graduate, stuffed a 30-yard pitch to four feet for a birdie on No. 9 (par 5, 476 yards) and a 4-up advantage. A typically levelheaded McCook unchained a bit on the par 4, 425-yard 10th hole when he steered his drive into the right tree-line and crashed his second shot into the obstacle.
“It was tough for me at points to keep my emotions in check,” McCook, an incoming senior at Downingtown Stem Academy, said. “He stayed a lot more consistent through the middle portion of the match when I started to fall behind. I wasn’t attacking the pins as much. I also didn’t make great decisions with club choices, and that cost me a couple shots here and there.”
Medico stood dormie on the par 3, 152-yard 16th hole when visions of 2012 danced in his head. He flashed back to Torresdale-Frankford Country Club’s 17th hole, when Medico, facing an uphill lie in the front bunker, blasted out to 20 feet but missed the putt to make the contest All-Square. Medico didn’t permit any drama this time, easing a chip to four feet to close McCook out on No. 16 at Riverton.
“The one thing that really kept my match going today was my four-to-eight footers,” Medico, who will attend Monmouth University in the fall, said. “If I didn’t make those, it could have been real close down the stretch.”
Medico and McCook posted 4&3 victories against Burlington Country Club’s Blaine Lafferty and Plymouth Country Club’s Erik Reisner, respectively, in the semifinals.
View results for Philadelphia Junior Boys Golf Championship