Team Georgia, based out of TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, claimed its second national title in the eighth annual PGA Junior League Championship, held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The team topped undefeated Team California to win the Wanamaker Division, then captured the national title with a 7-5 victory over Team Texas.
Georgia’s Brody McQueen, 11, clinched the championship with a 25-foot eagle putt on the par-4, 325-yard eighth hole. Paired with teammate and Duluth resident Sahish Reddy, 12, McQueen drove the green, setting up a putt he will remember forever.
“After the drive, I was so pumped,” said McQueen, a Kennesaw resident. “Sahish’s putt didn’t go in. I needed a little bit of extra line, and it was the perfect speed. That was one of the best putts I made in my life. The atmosphere was so crazy.”
Team Georgia captain Patrick McCrary announced over the radio to coach Greg Powers that all they needed was a half-point to claim the title.
“Little did I know, that Brody McQueen would slam dunk his drive and knock his 25-foot eagle putt right in the middle of the hole,” said Powers.
Georgia and Texas were neck-and-neck at the start of the day, finishing up their first flag (Hole Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the 9-hole game) with Texas holding the cards in a one point lead. This was thanks in part to a monster 40-foot putt by Marek Fleming, 12, that took a hard bounce on the back of the cup and miraculously dropped in.
However, Georgia began breaking away in the second flag, taking the team up 5-3, as McQueen outdrove his Texas counterparts Austin Hofferkamp and Fleming by 100 yards, followed by a seven-foot birdie to get Georgia’s momentum going.
Duluth resident Billy Abdow, the only returning player from Team Georgia’s 2017 national title team, is the Player Captain of his team. And he has some simple advice for his teammates as he ages out of contention for the next postseason.
“I’m going to tell them to go out and do it again,” said Abdow.
Monday morning’s critical head-to-head matchup in the Wanamaker Division determined whether Team Georgia and 2014 national champion Team California (San Ramon) would advance to the finals. Bogart resident Freddy Chappell, 14, rolled in a 15-foot putt to clinch Georgia’s championship berth.
Other members of the winning Georgia team are Parth Kumar (Suwanee resident), John Brady Knight (Kennesaw), Anthony Purcea (Buford), Patmon Malcolm (Alpharetta), Joseph Canitano (Milton) and Richard Yang (Duluth).