TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Brandon’s Austin Dobrescu watches his drive after teeing off at the Clear Lake Golf Course earlier this week. Dobrescu fell 5 and 4 to top-seeded junior Steven Young on Thursday.
WASAGAMING — Austin Dobrescu may have been an underdog going into Thursday’s junior boys’ match play semifinal at the 80th annual Tamarack golf tournament, but he didn’t feel like one.
Steven Young has won back-to-back titles.
(TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
The 16-year-old Brandonite had a solid season — including a Maple Leaf Junior Tour event championship — coming into the eight-day tournament at the Clear Lake Golf Course. He thought he had a chance to dethrone the two-time defending junior boys’ champion Steven Young, but it was not to be as Young pulled out a 5 and 4 victory.
"I felt if I played well and gave myself a chance, I could have took him, but I didn’t give myself a chance on the front nine," Dobrescu said. "I started off hitting a few in the bushes and I just didn’t give myself a chance."
The match started on the 10th tee and Young took control early. After halving the first hole, he made a great shot out of the bunker for a birdie to win the 11th. He went 4 up before Dobrescu won his only hole of the match, which was the 12th they played.
Dobrescu missed some putts he felt he should have made on the last two holes and lost both of them, forcing the pair to shake hands.
While the second hole of the match may have given Young the early advantage, his work ethic earned him the match.
Normally, the 17-year-old from LaSalle is out at Clear Lake for most of the summer and would have played the course 30 to 40 times by now.
However, he was busy this year working with the provincial golf team that went on to a sixth place finish at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
Since Thursday’s round was only his fifth on the course, Young spent a lot of time preparing for the match. He practised his chips on the putting green for two and a half hours on Wednesday, and spent another hour working on his putts.
"I try to be as best prepared as I can for a tournament," said Young, who fired a sizzling 66 in Monday’s qualifying round. "I don’t want that to be a reason why I don’t play well. I want to take that factor out of it and give myself the best chance I can."
Young plans to practise on the putting green again today as he prepares to take on Brandonite Colton Willms in Saturday’s final.
Willms, a 17-year-old who turned to golf a year ago after his hockey career ended because of a heart condition, birdied three straight holes to defeat Elkhorn’s Tanner Kyle 4 and 2 in the other semifinal.
Saturday’s battle between the top two seeds will be a chance for Young to make history as no player has ever won three junior boys’ titles, let alone three in a row. Josh Wytinck, Dave Scinocca and Chris Craddock all won two junior titles in a row. Jared Jacobson also has two junior titles, but he didn’t win them in back-to-back years.
Young would love to enter the Tamarack record books with a win on Saturday, but he’s going to try to not let that get into his head when he takes on Willms.
"It would mean a lot, but I’m here to have fun," he said. "I just want to make the best of my experience and try not to put too much pressure on myself. We’ll see what happens. If I win, great. If I don’t it’s not the end of the world."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 23, 2013