Isaiah Williams, Heron Glen Golf Course
RED BANK, N.J. – At the conclusion of the 101st W.Y. Dear Junior Championship at Navesink Country Club, it was Isaiah Williams who hoisted the Lichtenwalter Trophy after a pair of impressive semifinal and final victories on Wednesday.
Williams, of Heron Glen Golf Course won his semifinals match 2-up in 18 holes against Alex Menges of Jumping Brook Country Club.
🏌️♂️ Earned the 16 seed in a 14-for-10 playoff— NJSGA (@NJSGA1900) August 10, 2022
🥇 Defeated the 1 seed in the Round of 16
🏆 Clinches the win 2&1 against Reed Greyserman
Congratulations to our 101st W.Y. Dear Junior Champion, Isaiah Williams! pic.twitter.com/E575EzPdRC
“I played with Alex last year, and he got a lot better if I remember correctly,” said Williams.
Williams found himself 1-down through 9 holes against Menges before battling back on the back 9 to eventually seal his victory on No. 18.
“My wedges were probably what kept me going.” Williams reflected on the day. “I hit a lot of wedge shots pretty close and if they weren't close, they were in the right spot to give me a solid two putt. Just making sure that I kept the ball in a good spot to put myself in the right spots to make birdie or par. I knew either of those scores would be fine on this course. Just definitely just trying to keep calm for sure was a huge thing.”
Williams, the 16 seed in the match play bracket almost didn’t qualify for match play after an extensive playoff that led into the following day after stroke play. He made it through a 14-for-10 playoff to earn a berth into the bracket.
“It definitely gave me a bit of an underdog mentality, but it also gave me kind of a notion that I can do it when the pressure's on,” explained Williams. “That definitely helped me throughout the end of each match because pretty much every match was tight. I knew I had to hit the right shot at the right time coming down the last four holes and I made sure I did that.”
In the final match against Reed Greyserman, Williams took an early lead and never looked back, holding at least a one hole lead throughout the remainder of the round. Greyserman was searching to be the third in his family to claim this championship.
“I knew he was really good, Williams said of Greyserman. "I played with him a while back and he's gotten a ton better. He's just a great player. I knew I needed to really bring my A-game. That's why I just made sure that I made really smart decisions and I was 100% confident on every shot because that's what I needed to do in order to beat him.”
Greyserman continuously tried to close the gap, but Williams was able to keep him at a distance, due in part to an amazing save on No. 14, landing his third shot just inches from the hole to save par and keep the round from being tied before closing it out shortly after.
Williams had a large support gallery with his parents, best friend Isaiah, and high school coach from Hunterdon Central Regional High School all in attendance.
“First off my dad and my mom, they're always with me at these tournaments. My mom even takes off some work hours to come and watch me.” Williams said, “I'm just so thankful for them because they sacrifice so much for me. I'm going to continue to grind and continue to put their sacrifice to good use.”
“[Isaiah Marsielle] had a feeling he was going to see something special and thankfully he was right. I'm so, so thankful for him.” Williams said of his best friend.
With the victory, Williams secures himself a place in history with many big names. He is only the second African American to win the W.Y. Dear Junior Championship, joining 2022 New Jersey Open Champion Louis Kelly, who won in 2010.
“It's amazing. I mean, I saw the name Louis Kelly, who just won the State Open, on there from 2010. To see him win the State Open and the fact that my name is going to be up there with him and Max Greyserman and Dean Greyserman, and a lot of other great players from New Jersey, is an honor for sure.”
After a long and humid three days, Williams still looks forward to his upcoming events including the Golf Performance Juniors next Monday,
“I’ll probably get a little rest today, maybe a little rest late tomorrow, and then grind and trying to gear up for that.”
Final Match Result
Isaiah Williams, Heron Glen Golf Course d. Reed Greyserman, Hamilton Farm Golf Club, 2&1
Isaiah Williams, Heron Glen Golf Course d. Alex Menges, Jumping Brook Country Club, 2-up
Reed Greyserman, Hamilton Farm Golf Club d. Ethan Lee, Colts Neck Golf Club, 1-up
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