Clarkston’s Patrick Deardorff Wins 2019 Michigan Junior State Amateur
BATTLE CREEK – Patrick Deardorff of Clarkston knew it was his last Michigan Junior State Amateur so he gave it everything he had.
It turned out everything he had was a championship effort as the 18-year-old lefty turned back Tommy Sullivan of Grosse Pointe 3 and 2 in the final match to win the 41st edition of the championship presented by Pepsi Thursday at Bedford Valley Golf Course
“I’m extremely happy about this win,” he said. “I’ve wanted to win this tournament since I was 15 and it happened. It was a lot of fun and it’s the biggest win I’ve ever had without a doubt.”
Deardorff, undecided about his college or golf plans as a recent high school graduate, got the lead in the middle of the back nine in the final match and then made clutch putts.
“I made a lot of key putts when I needed to make them,” he said. “Tommy played well all day and he contested all day. I did the best I possibly could and that was good enough today.”
Deardorff was not the only champion crowned Thursday. The GAM presented a 15-and-under competition in the championship for the first time and Ryan O’Rourke of West Bloomfield took the title with a 2 and 1 win over Joe Murdock of Ada in the final match.
“It’s the biggest win I’ve had,” said the 14-year-old O’Rourke, who stands 6-foot-2. “I had a lot of fun this week and today I was making birdies and not making bogeys – mainly not making bogeys was the most important part. Once I had the lead I just put the ball in the middle of the green and two-putted for pars.”
Deardorff said having played the Bedford Valley course previously in a PGA Junior tournament was helpful.
“I worked on my wedges for a week and a half, prepared, knew my spots and it worked out well,” he said.
His game has been at a high level since last fall, Deardorff said.
“I just kept grinding and stayed patient. It’s great to win and know it paid off.”
O’Rourke, who will be a freshman at Walled Lake Northern this fall, said he practiced a lot on driving the ball before the tournament and it ended up working well.
“I didn’t need it that much, but when I did need it, I hit it good,” he said.
Deardorff reached the final match with a 4 and 3 morning semifinal win over August Meekhof of Eastmanville. Sullivan, whose brother Patrick won the championship a year ago, reached the final by topping Cameron Cowland of Dexter 1-up.
In the 15-and-under bracket, O’Rourke topped Rylan Marontate of Harrow 4 and 2 in the morning semifinal while Murdock turned back Robert Burns of Grand Blanc 1-up.
The Michigan Junior State Amateur featured the top junior boy golfers in the state as determined by past performance or via sectional qualifiers presented earlier this summer across the state. Stroke play qualifying set up a 32-golfer bracket to determine the champion. Sullivan was the stroke play medalist and top seed. Deardorff was the No. 3 seed.
The list of champions in the history of the tournament is impressive and includes tour players Ryan Brehm, Joey Garber, Michael Harris and Jeff Roth.
via Greg Johnson