Tuesday, December 10, 2013
By TRAVIS LAZARCZYK Morning Sentinel
VASSALBORO - Johnny Hayes IV of Prouts Neck Country Club thought his title hopes in the Match Play Invitational were over in the semifinals Friday.
Johnny Hayes IV of Prouts Neck Country Club watches a drive Friday during his victory in the final round of the Match Play Championship.
Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal
Curt Jordan, lining up a putt during the final round of the Match Play Invitational on Friday, advanced by beating Joe Walp before running into a hot opponent in Johnny Hayes IV.
Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal
They weren't, and by the end of the day, the championship was his.
Hayes defeated Curtis Jordan 6 and 4 in the final, but it was the semifinal against Jack Wyman that caused him the most consternation.
Hayes pulled his tee shot on No. 18 into the woods and thought one thing.
"I was like, 'The match is over,' " Hayes said.
Not quite. Hayes punched out of the woods, then hit his next shot to within a few feet of the pin. Wyman had his approach shot roll off the front of the green, and his follow-up was too hard and went off the back side of the green. With that, Wyman conceded the 1-up win to Hayes.
"I definitely thought the match was over, then it completely flip-flopped," Hayes said.
Hayes used that momentum to steamroll through the final, shooting 7 under par on the front nine to build an insurmountable lead. The match ended on the 14th hole of Natanis Golf Course's Tomahawk course.
It was the first Match Play Invitational win for Hayes, who entered as the No. 3 seed.
"I was playing real well. I just slowed my tempo down a little bit and that was really key," Hayes said. "I didn't putt well against (Wyman), but I did a little stuff before the match against (Jordan) on the putting green and it helped out."
In the final, Hayes never trailed. He took the lead on the first hole, and after winning holes 5 through 9 he had a 6-up advantage. Hayes had seven birdies and two pars on the front nine, and Jordan could only shake his head in admiration.
"It's fun watching. You watched it, he was lights out," said Jordan, who defeated Joe Walp in the semis, 1 up. "I just try to play my game. In all reality I can't play golf like that. That's just, that's pretty special."
Hayes' two most impressive shots came on holes 7 and 8. On the par-3 seventh, Hayes sank a long downhill putt to go 4 up, playing the slope perfectly and getting the putt to curl in.
"I hit it and I was like, 'Oh, no. It's off the green.' But I had the right line, hit the pin and it went in. That was a big momentum boost," Hayes said.
On No. 8, Hayes hit his approach shot over the pin, and his excellent backspin pulled the ball within a few feet of the hole. Jordan conceded the hole and Hayes was 5 up.
"Eight, I hit a really good shot. I knew there was a little hill in back of the pin so I tried to bank it off that," Hayes said.
Jordan won hole 11 to cut Hayes' lead to 5 up before the match ended on No. 14. Jordan's second shot went left into an opening in the woods. When Jordan's next shot landed in a puddle in a sand trap left and short of the green, he conceded.
"I just tried to take my pars, and hopefully a few putts fall and make some (birdies) when they come," Jordan said. "That's what got me here, and when someone comes out and shoots scores like that I'm going to lose every time."