Gruninger, Saroney, and Avotins Win at the 2020 Junior Match Play
This year’s Junior District Match Play provided plenty of excitement throughout the three days of competition at Drumlins Country Club. In the end Johnny Gruninger won the Championship flight, Jackson Saroney won the Sub Junior flight, Solomia Avotins won the Girls flight, and Velton Perry won the first flight.
Gruninger (Bellevue) went an impressive 20 holes against the 14 seed, Gavin Poyer (Seven Oaks), before winning the match in the round of 16. In the afternoon matches, he beat Alex Moesch (Cazenovia Golf Club) 3&2 to advance to the semifinals, then won 3&2 over Tynan Jones (Skaneateles) to advance to the championship match against Gabe Williams (Seven Oaks).
In the championship match, Williams took a 4 up lead over Gruninger through 11 holes. Gruninger rallied and won the next 4 holes in a row to put the match back to all square through 15 holes. Williams would go on to win the 16th hole to take the lead in the match, however, Gruninger would quickly respond by putting his approach shot on 17 to a few feet to win the hole and square the match again. Both parred the last to force the match into a sudden death playoff. On the first playoff hole, Gruninger put his second shot into the par 5 first hole to an impressive 20 feet for a look at eagle. He would just miss his eagle attempt but the hole was conceded by Williams giving Gruninger a 1 up victory through 19 holes.
In the Sub Junior Division, the champion Saroney (Drumlins) went 9&7 against Ethan Harris (Lakeshore 1860) to advance to the championship match. In the championship match, Saroney faced Braedon Smith (Cavalry Club) and won 7&5 to win the title for boys’ 14 & under.
Solomia Avotins outlasted her sister, Nataly, by winning the 18th hole of their match. The next morning, on Drumlins’ East course, Solomia beat Nataly 3&2 to win her Division in the best of 2 out of 3.
Stroke play qualifying was conducted during the first day on Drumlins’ West course to seed the field.
In the Boy’s Junior Division, Peter Hatton (Links at Erie Village) and Jones both shot 64 (-6), respectively. Only one stroke behind was Gruninger who shot 65 (-5).
Saroney was the Sub-Junior medalist by shooting an impressive 73 (+3). 8 strokes behind was Smith who shot 81 (+11), respectively.
Nataly Avotins (Links at Erie Village) was the Girls’ Junior medalist by shooting 73 (+3) over her sister Solomia, who shot 79 (+9).