Bortis finishes 1-up in final showdown for match play title

Saturday, June 21, 2003

The Missouri Junior Match Play Championships ended in dramatic fashion with Matthew Bortis of Springfield, Mo., being crowned the state champion Friday at Bent Creek Golf Course in Jackson.

Bortis, seeded second, needed all 36 holes of the title match, defeating fourth-seeded Ryan Blechle of O'Fallon, Mo., 1-up.

The two waged a see-saw battle throughout and entered the final hole even. However, the match swung in Bortis' favor when Blechle drove his tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 18th hole.

Blechle managed to scramble for bogey on the hole, but Bortis won the match with par.

It was the second 1-up victory for Bortis, who finished match play with a 5-0 record. He entered as the second seed after shooting an even-par 72 in the medal play portion of the tournament Tuesday. The top 32 scorers in the medal round advanced to match play.

The tournament, which started with 65 competitors, was the first Missouri Golf Association event hosted by Bent Creek since a Missouri men's amateur qualifying round almost 10 years ago.

"The Missouri Golf Association historically likes to move around, but if they wanted to have the junior match play here every year, we'd like to do it," club co-owner Mike Litzelfelner said. "The kids have been incredibly polite, and there's been a lot of great sportsmanship."

Greg Doss, the junior chairman for the MGA, got his first look at the course and said he was impressed.

"It's not my decision, but honestly and truly, I'd like to have the stroke play down here," Doss said, referring to an even bigger MGA event that attracts 154 youths. "It's a great golf course. There's a lot of holes with a little bit of risk that you get a whole lot of reward if you pull it off."

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