MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Patrick Martin has achieved a great deal in his relatively young golf career, but he had yet to win an Alabama Golf Association State Championship.
He rectified that by claiming the 15th State Match Play Championship at Montgomery Country Club on Saturday afternoon in a well-contested match with Lee Hodges.
Martin will be an incoming freshman at Vanderbilt and this marked his last tournament of the summer before heading off to start his college career.
Saturday morning saw him see off former Vanderbilt golfer Richard Douglas of Trussville in the semifinal, going two extra holes to the 20th hole, before edging Douglas.
In the other semifinal current UAB golfer Hodges of Elkmont took down Jake DeZoort, 17, of Tuscaloosa, who will be a freshman on the University of Alabama golf team in the fall of 2016, by a score of 2 up.
In the final, after a brief break for lunch, Martin was always ahead and staked himself to a 3 up lead through 13 holes over Hodges. The match and championship looked to be his in a stroll, but Hodges had other ideas rolling in birdie putts on Nos. 14 and 17 to take the match to the final hole.
Both players hit the 18th green in regulation, but Martin was close to 50 feet above the hole, while Hodges had around 10 feet left for birdie. Martin’s putt gathered pace and ended up six feet below the cup. Hodges could not hole his putt to force extra holes and Martin made his uphill come-backer to claim the title.
“Those (the semifinal and final) were two very good matches,” Martin, who graduated from Spain Park High School in May, said.
“I had to play well in both. Lots of good shots, from all players, were on display.”
Martin, who finished second in the State Amateur earlier this summer to two-time champion Will Cannon, had to dig deep to close out the win.
“I’ve learned a lot this summer and in this championship about staying in the moment with every shot. I’ve been wanting to win a golf tournament for a while and it was my week to do it.”
He thanked his swing instructor, Wayne Flint, and his Dad, Greg Martin, for helping him work on his game.
The championship was a true test of endurance as Martin had to survive six matches over three days to lift the trophy.
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