Mike Ryan Memorial: Final Recap
Three long days, UV waves beaming down, late-July heat, not to mention walking, walking, and more walking. Some would think it was miserable based on that description, but the players who competed in this year’s Mike Ryan Memorial Championship would beg to differ. Every member of the JTour that we interacted with was in high spirits every step of the way. Even with defeat we saw laughs, respect, and camaraderie among the community of young golfers that we are lucky enough to be a part of. With all that being said, congratulations to all twelve of our Finalists that grinded out a range of 26-90 holes of golf this week (depending on your flight). Let’s take a dive into how everything played out at Derryfield Country Club!
In the Elite Champ Flight, there was never a doubt from current points favorite in the NHGA’s Junior Player of the Year race, Andrew Surprenant. After being disappointed in his stroke play performance on Day 1, Surprenant went into the Round of 16 with a fire to him. Throughout the bracket, it seemed as though Surprenant and his opponent were always so evenly matched through the front nine. The scores were always within one, if not tied. But the difference for Surprenant came through his ability to outlast his opponent late in the round, when things tend to get sloppy. The same goes for his Finals match against 2022 Mike Ryan champion, Jascha Johnston. The boys were tied through nine when Surprenant turned on the jets and won three of the next four, eventually winning 4&2. When asked about his success in match play, Surprenant responded, “I don’t make a lot of birdies, but I make a lot of pars. In match play, that’s the key- to play consistent golf better than your opponent.” Surprenant has now won two Junior Tour Championships this year, qualified for the State Amateur, and has established himself as a player worth watching, not just in the Junior Tour, but the state of New Hampshire as well.
On the girls side in the Girls Champ Flight, 1-and-2-seeds Taylor Barry and Maddy Giampa dominated the field until they ended up facing off in the Finals. It felt like a game of tug-of-war getting score updates from these two talented golfers. Every two holes or so, the lead would switch, or suddenly it would be even again, and so on. This lasted all the way through the full eighteen so a playoff was in order. Playing the first hole as the 19th of the match, Barry had a troublesome chip following her drive but managed to set her up for a potential par opportunity with a redemption chip. Giampa then came up short of the hole on her par attempt, leaving the door open for Barry. With her parents watching from the cart path, Barry hit the game-winning, tournament-ending putt from the edge of the green. Congratulations to both Taylor and Maddy for giving us quite the exciting Finals matchup!
In the Birdie Champ Flight, we had a victory from last year’s Mike Ryan Birdie Flight champion, 3-seed Marc Giampa. Giampa has been putting up impressive numbers all year in JTour events, and this week was no different. His work ethic was on true display when his semifinal opponent conceded after just a few holes yet Giampa finished the round as a practice of sorts with his mom by his side. In the Finals, he struggled against 4-seed Braeden McCoil off the bat but ended up crawling his way back one hole at a time. “I played bad at first,” Giampa said after the round, “But I came back… It feels good.” Congratulations to two-time Mike Ryan Champion, Marc Giampa!
In the Boys Prep Championship, it was a showdown between Jackson Jodoin and Grey Gagnon, two favorites to win it all. Jodoin had just come off of a fantastic Semifinal showdown between himself and top seed Zach Nelson, a back and forth matchup that went all the way to the eighteenth hole before a winner emerged. But Gagnon was unphased by this, and quietly stacked up a few holes in his favor to reach a 4&2 victory after the 16th hole. Congratulations, Grey!
Other notable wins came from the mullet-wielding Ace Chancey (out of the Elite 2nd Flight bracket) and Roy Shapard (out of the Elite 1st Flight). These boys, along with their Finals opponents, Sean Toscano and Wade Thompson, enjoyed their round more than anybody. It reminded us that sports are supposed to be a good time, especially golf, even during a championship tournament. Thanks for that, boys.
Thank you to Derryfield Country Club for hosting us for all three busy days of this tournament. The JTour train will keep rolling tomorrow for the Hoodcroft Junior Open. See you then!
Mike Ryan Memorial