Davis Harrison with the Florida Junior Match Play trophy
BRADENTON, FL (July 20, 2017) - Mother Nature put up a good fight this week as some of Florida's top junior male golfers with ages ranging from 16 to 18 years old came out to compete at Lakewood National Golf Club for the Junior Amateur Match Play Championship. With long days filled with what seemed like never-ending rain delays, after four days of fierce competition, it was Davis Harrison of Belleair who took down Carson Moran to win his first FSGA title.
The first round of competition brought not only over a two hour rain delay, but low scores as well. Fifteen golfers shot under par in the first round with eleven of those rounds being in the 60's. Leading the field was Zachary Kalia of Longwood after opening up with a seven-under par, 65. Closely behind Kalia, however, was Brett Schell of Saint Augustine. Schell carded a FSGA season-low round of six-under par, 66 to sit alone in second heading into the second round of stroke play. With a large number of players under par, it was going to take multiple birdies and few mistakes to move on to match play.
Scores in the second round of stroke play were not as low, yet the leaderboard shuffled, bringing Brett Schell and Carson Moran to the top of the leaderboard. Schell carded a second round score of 72, good enough for a six-under par finish to claim the top seed along with Moran. Moran, just one of two players who shot consecutive under-par rounds, followed up his first round 65 with a one-under par round of 71. Finishing the stroke play rounds at 6-under par, Schell and Moran would earn co-medalist honors and head into the Round of 32 as the championship's top seeds. Five players were on the cut line and had to go into a five for three spots playoff. After the 30th and 31st seed were secured, Chad Tracy and Ryder Sutcliffe battled it out for nine holes to figure out who would get the final spot in match play. Chad Tracy prevailed and took the final spot, finalizing the match play bracket for the 16-18 division.
With Mother Nature taking over control of the championship, the second weather delay occurred as the Round of 32 matches began to commence. Top-seeds, Moran and Schell, both won their Round of 32 matches 6 & 5 and 2 & 1 respectively. The biggest upset of the day came when 29th seed, James Nieporte of Boca Raton out lasted fourth seed, Erik Souchak of Sarasota, 1 up to move on in the championship. First round leader, Zachary Kalia, drew the third seed in match play and took on 30th seed, Jed Durda of Tampa. Kalia proved he could play Lakewood National extremely well after earning the largest margin of victory in the Round of 32 matches with a 4 & 3 victory over Durda.
Beginning promptly at 7:30 A.M., the Round of 16 matches featured some intense matches. The most interesting match of the morning was top-seed Moran's match against Grayson Maddox. The 16th seed never backed down as him and Moran went back and forth throughout the entire morning before Moran secured his quarterfinal spot on the final hole with a 1 up victory. The quickest match of the morning featured 13th seed, Seth Wright and 29th seed, James Nieporte. Wright dominated from the gate and defeated Neporte 6 and 5 to move onto the quarterfinals and face fifth seed, Joseph Pinel who defeated Enrique Vila 2 and 1. Three matches in the morning needed more than 18 holes to find a winner. Jordan Sarhaddi, needed 20 holes to beat Charles Collings while Jacob Penny went 19 holes en route to a victory against second-seed, Brett Schell. The longest match of the championship came from third seed, Zachary Kalia and 19th seed, Davis Harrison's match. With it difficult to figure out who had the upper hand, after 22 holes, it was Davis Harrison who took down the first round leader and third-seed, Zachary Kalia to advance to the quarterfinal matches.
Another lengthy rain delay caused the quarterfinal matches to begin late in the afternoon. Cutting it close, once again, was top-seed Carson Moran who won just 1 up over 25th seed, John Dubois of Windermere. Finishing with just minutes of daylight left, Joseph Pinel defeated Seth Wright 4 and 3 to face Moran in the semifinals. Nearly needing more than 18 holes again, Jacob Penny and Jordan Sarhaddi's match made it to the final hole where Penny would remain 1 up and claim victory over Sarhaddi. Behind them, Davis Harrison took control over his match with Jack O'Hara and won 4 and 3, advancing to the semifinals.
The semifinal matches exemplified strong outings for all four of these golfers. With putters hot and drives nothing less than straight, Moran took on Pinel while Penny attempted to defeat Harrison. After needing all 18 holes to secure victories in the past two matches, Moran did not need to see Lakewood National's finishing hole as he defeated Joseph Pinel of Orlando, 2 and 1. Things were a little different, however for Jacob Penny of Valrico and Davis Harrison. Needing not only 18 holes, but 20, Harrison defeated Jacob Penny in 20 holes to advance to the final match and take on top-seed, Carson Moran for the title of Junior Amateur Match Play Champion.
The final match of the 2017 Junior Amateur Match Play Championship featured top-seed Carson Moran and 19th seed, Davis Harrison. Both had difficult paths to get to the final, yet they each prevailed and were ready to battle on the course to become the champion. Harrison took an early lead in the match by winning the second hole and remaining 1 up through seven. With another win on the eighth hole, Harrison moved to 2 up with nine holes to play. Not giving up though, Carson Moran fired back with a win on the 10th to move back to one down. With another birdie on the 12th, Harrison would increase his lead again to 2 up and took control of the round with a par on the 15th hole to get to 3 up and 3 to play. Putting all the pressure on Moran, he showed his toughness by winning the 16th hole to go dormi 2 up. However, with matching pars on the 17th, it was Davis Harrison who prevailed to win the 2017 Junior Amateur Match Play Championship 2 & 1 over stroke play medalist, Carson Moran.
Steady play was key to Harrison's success and with his only hiccup coming on the 16th with a bogey on the par-three, he was able to clinch the victory on not only his father's birthday but his grandfather's birthday as well.
And how will Davis Harrison celebrate his Junior Amateur Match Play victory and first FSGA victory? By getting his wisdom teeth out tomorrow...
View results for Florida Junior Match Play
ABOUT THE Florida Junior Match Play
This match play invitation-only
event features the top junior golfers ages
13-18. Boys 16-18 play on one course, and boys 13-
and all girls play on another. Invitations are based
the Junior Championship and Florida Junior Tour
View Complete Tournament Information