DeMatha senior wins with two late birdies

Even with the lead in the closing holes of the 51st Bobby Gorin Memorial, there was no lay up in Jordan Sweet.

After firing one good approach and one bad one, Sweet took advantage of a fortuitous bounce and made a brilliant recovery shot. His aggression paid off for two birdies on the final three holes of a 2-up victory over Ralph Blasey on Wednesday at Woodmont Country Club.

Bobby Gorin notes┬╗ In the 14-15 division, Randall Herriott blew a 3-up lead with three holes left but recovered to defeat Andrew Barth in 20 holes.┬╗ In the 13-and-under division, Kyle Berkshire defeated Tyler Olmsted 2 and 1.

It was the second Gorin title for the 16-year-old Sweet, a senior this fall at DeMatha, who won the 12-13 division three years ago. It culminated three long days in the heat: a qualifying round Monday followed by four match-play victories Tuesday and Wednesday.

"It means a lot," said Sweet, who also won the Middle Atlantic Junior last month. "You put a lot of work into these. To go 36 holes two days and lose, you don't want that to happen."

The first of Sweet's bold strokes came at No. 16, a 484-yard par 5. Leading 1 up and lying in the rough, 228 yards from the hole, Sweet selected his 21-degree hybrid to fire at the green, guarded on the left by a pond. His shot landed softly, 20 feet short of the pin.

"I'm really confident with my hybrid," said Sweet, who has committed to play at Maryland. "And I'm just sort of confident with that hole in general. When I won the 12-13 division, I hit a 3-wood in there that pretty much decided the match."

Sweet's two-putt birdie boosted his advantage to 2 up with two holes remaining. While Sweet three-putted at No. 17, Blasey, a senior at Landon, responded with a par to stay alive.

Sweet's second bold decision came at No. 18, a 561-yard par 5, and could have proved costly. Electing to go for the green in two after Blasey laid up, Sweet pushed his 3-wood right. It hit a tree root, scooted up the tree, came back down and landed in a good spot.

"It was almost like teed up in the grass," Sweet said. "There was like an inch under the ball, like it was suspended in the air. I was a little bit worried about fluffing it. I just needed to keep still. It ended up being a great lie."

Sweet took advantage of his good fortune, hitting a spectacular flop shot over a bunker to a tight pin. The shot stopped quickly, six feet from the hole. When Blasey missed his birdie putt, he conceded to Sweet.

"I thought if I got it down there close, I could get up and down," Sweet said. "I thought the risk was worth the reward."

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com