Mike Gordon began yesterday's championship final in the seventh Bobby Bowers Memorial junior golf tournament the same way he started all of his matches in this week's competition at Springfield Country Club: he fell behind quickly.
But the Richmond youngster recovered after a shaky opening five holes and defeated Billy Baker of Hampton, Va., 3 and 2, for his first junior title.
Gordon, 17, rallied after dropping two of the first three holes and managed to go 1 up after nine. He was tied momentarily when Baker chipped from 50 yards to within two feet to save par. Thereafter, Gordon had no trouble.
He went up by two on the 12th hole after a 120-yard approach shot from under a pine tree. The ball sheared a branch on the way to its resting spot, 12 feet from the pin, from where his two-putt par produced a winner. Then he birdied 14 to virtually secure the title.
Gordon's drives and approaches were accurate, although neither he nor Baker putted very well; the longest putt of the day was Gordon's 12-footer, uphill, on the 14th.
"I haven't been putting very well at all lately," said Gordon. "But the greens are in pretty bad shape."
Debbie Zahand of Vienna was taken to two extra holes in her championship match with Clare Dolan of Gaithersburg before a birdie locked up the girls title. Zahand had been up by three holes going into the 12th hole, at which point her game disintegrated.