Team Georgia’s journey through the 8th PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental can be summed up in four words — rally in the valley.
The now two-time National Champions Team Georgia (Duluth/Atlanta, 2017, ’19) came back from a stunning Divisional loss to then winless Team New York to defeat undefeated Team California to first capture the Wanamaker Division title; and then the National Championship over Team Texas (Houston/Montgomery) 7-5.
Georgia’s Brody McQueen, 11, clinched the Championship with an unthinkable 25-foot eagle putt on par-4, 325-yard Hole No. 8. Paired with teammate Sahish Reddy, 12, McQueen drove the green, setting up a putt he will remember forever.
“After the drive, I was so pumped,” said McQueen. “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.”
It was Team Georgia Captain Patrick McCrary, PGA, who came over the radio to tell his 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.
It was glory, glory to ol’ Georgia.
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 set Georgia’s wheels in motion.
“They put it out there,” said Team Texas Captain Ben Willman, PGA. “They didn’t leave anything behind. We made a couple of mistakes, but I am proud of how hard the kids played. They just came up short. We have finished the last three years in 4th, 3rd and 2nd place… Maybe next year is our year.”
Billy Abdow, the only returning player from the 2017 National Champion Team Georgia, 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,” declared Abdow.