Myles Vlachos, a rising senior and the top golfer at Urbana High, says he generally enjoys match-play tournaments because no matter how poorly he performs on one hole, the next one presents a clear chance to regain his composure.
Yesterday in the 30th annual Bobby Bowers Memorial Junior tournament at Springfield Golf and Country Club, however, Vlachos could not recover from a damaging loss on the 15th hole that gave Allain Blanchard of Williamsburg a one-hole advantage and eventually lifted him to a 2-up victory in the 16-17 boys' title match.
"I like the whole mind-set of playing match play, because it gives you more of an immediate goal to shoot for," Vlachos said. "Once I [dropped the 15th hole], I was determined to do everything I could to get it back."
Vlachos nearly tied the match on the par-4 16th hole, when his approach shot stuck six yards from the pin. But the ensuing birdie putt fell short and the golfers tied the hole. Blanchard wrapped things up by winning the 18th hole.
"On 16 I put myself where I had to be," Vlachos said, "but that was a hard pin and I had to make the putt."
There were nearly 240 youth golfers participating in the tournament, which started on Monday. Winners in other divisions were Cory Amory of Crozet, Va., (boys' 14-15), Daniel Walker of Earlysville, Va., (boys' 10-13) and Victoria Kasza of Roanoke (girls).