Rockville senior beats top seed on 19th hole
In the finals of the 38th Bobby Bowers Memorial Junior Golf Tournament, all that stood between Ian Hildebrand and history was Patrick Moriarty.
With a win Thursday afternoon, Hildebrand, a junior at Loudoun Valley, would become the first medalist and No. 1 seed in the boys' 16-17 division to win the grueling seven-round event.
But after shooting a 5-under 67 in Monday's qualifying and dominating five opponents, Hildebrand couldn't solve the medalist curse. Despite an inspired rally on the back nine, Hildebrand lost in 19 holes to the steady Moriarty, a senior at Rockville who was seeded 38th.
"It's probably the biggest thing I've won, just a huge tournament with so many good players," said Moriarty, who captured the Maryland Class 4A-3A District II title in the fall but had been mired in a slump until this week.
In other championship matches Thursday at Springfield Country Club, Steven Segrist of Glenwood, Md., got past Adam Szwed of Woodbridge 3 and 2 to capture the boys' 14-15 division; Otto Voettiner of Haymarket defeated Riley Hollembaek of Crofton, Md., 3 and 2 to win the boys' 10-13 division; and Rachel Lee of Woodstock, Md., edged Stephanie Bosdosh of Clarksburg 2 and 1 to claim the girls' division.
The most was at stake in the boys' 16-17 division, in which Hildebrand, a member at Stoneleigh, nearly completed an historic week.
"I feel like I didn't play terrible," Hildebrand said. "But I had a lot of bad first putts, too many three-putts and left a few on the lip and had some lip-outs -- a combination of bad putting and not much luck."
The players were even through eight holes before Hildebrand hit balls through the green on Nos. 9 and 10 and failed to save par, falling 2 down. His comeback appeared to begin at No. 12 with a 12-foot birdie putt, but he gave it right back with a three-putt bogey at No. 13.
The rally began in earnest at No.?15, a par 5, where Hildebrand made a 3-foot birdie putt. On No.?16, Moriarty made a rare mistake, hitting his approach into a pond on his way to a double bogey, and the match was even. At No. 17, Hildebrand left another birdie putt on the lip, but on No. 18 he made a clutch 4-footer for par to keep the match alive.
Ultimately it was decided by a putting contest. On the first playoff hole, both players were on the back of the green, 40 feet away. After Hildebrand stroked his putt short and left of the hole, leaving himself five feet, Moriarty got his within a foot for a conceded par. Hildebrand then missed. It was his third three-putt green in the final 11 holes.
Hildebrand had been dominant. Only one of his five matches on the way to the finals lasted more than 15 holes. But Moriarty's steady work -- fairways, greens and solid putting -- was too much to overcome.
"He was definitely the toughest opponent I faced," Hildebrand said. "He put more pressure on me, and my putting wasn't spot-on."