NHGA Jr. Golf: McKee has a little extra, tops Gillis in playoff
James Mckee of Windham Country Club chips onto the green while in a playoff with Brandon Gillis of Souhegan Woods during the Junior Championship in Salem on Wednesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
It seemed much longer.
“It felt like 20 feet,” McKee said later with a smile. “Downhill. A little slider, right to left.”
“Losing on a birdie is a great way to lose,” Gillis said. “I give him a lot of credit for that birdie.”
Hixon lost in the first round of match play on Monday afternoon.
The match was all even with three holes left in regulation.
McKee won hole No. 4 with a birdie and Gillis got the match back to all-square with his par on No. 6.
McKee won No. 17 with a par and quickly it was all-square again.
“That was disappointing, but you have to forget about it and go on to 18,” Gillis said.
Both golfers were on the par 5 hole in two shots and they were both 30 or so feet from the hole.
Gillis went first and slid his putt some 12 feet past the hole. McKee, who will be a sophomore at Windham High School and plays out of Windham Country Club, got his putt close and was going to be able to tap in for his birdie.
“It was do or die, just go for it all the way,” Gillis said. “I hit a good putt and it broke three or four inches. It was the best putt I hit all day.
Each had a par as they played No. 17 again as the No. 1 playoff hole.
They had pars again at No. 18.
Then it was on to what turned out to be the final hole, a third look a No. 17 in the span of about half an hour.
“I knew it was going to be tight going into the first hole,” he said.
“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes. It was sort of like I did the first two matches. I waited for kids to make mistakes. Brandon didn’t make any mistakes today. There was nothing wrong with his game today.” Nor was there with McKee’s.
Early next week, each will try to qualify for the United States Junior Amateur. McKee plays his 36-hole qualifier at Tashua Knolls Golf Course in Trumbull, Conn., on Monday, and Gillis is at Colonie Country Club just outside Albany, N.Y., on Tuesday.