Golfer Steve Maddalena watches his shot head toward the green during the Jackson City Golf Championship at the Country Club of Jackson on Thursday. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Seven-time Jackson City Golf Championship winner Steve Maddalena said he expects to be outdriven from the tee.
But when he gets a short iron in his hands – especially a wedge – the tables are turned.
Maddalena was outdriven by Evan Brzyski on nearly every hole by 40-plus yards, but Maddalena earned a 3-2 win in the City Championship at the Country Club of Jackson on Thursday.
He advances to the semifinal match against Riley Hestwood on Friday. Maddalena defeated Hestwood 6-and-5 in the 2019 City Championship final.
Two-time champion Mike Brockie will face Cody Lysher in the other semifinal on Friday. Brockie defeated Conor Spencer 2-1 and Lysher made short work of Henry Hitt, 8-7, in quarterfinal matches.
Maddalena said he has seen the long-driving young guys for years in area tournaments.
“I have already accepted that I will be outdriven before I tee off,” Maddalena said. “The funny thing is I am longer (off the tee) than I have ever been.
“For a senior (player), I am out there.”
Maddalena had 13 pars, two bogeys and a birdie in his match against Brzyski.
“I just have to be better with my short game and wedges,” Maddalena said. “I spend a lot of time practicing those shots.”
Brockie also won a match of veteran player against up-and-coming player Spencer in his quarterfinal match.
“I just told someone it is good to see these young guys coming back year after year,” Brockie said. “For a while it was a bunch of us old guys trying to beat on one another (every golf season).”
As the days get warmer, so does Brockie’s swing.
“My swing is homemade … it takes some time to figure out all of the idiosyncrasies in it,” Brockie said. “Once I commit to what I do, it just works.”
Brockie said the younger generation of players are good for the game.
“I enjoy all these young kids,” Brockie said. “They are all so respectful of the game of golf.”
Lysher was 4-under-par through 11 holes in his match against Hitt – a co-medalist in the tournament.
“I won the first three holes and was 4-up through six holes,” Lysher said. “I need to bring the same kind of game tomorrow.”
Lysher will face Brockie in a semifinal match tomorrow.
Hestwood defeated Brett Casto 4-2 in the other quarterfinal. He will face Maddalena in the semifinals on Friday.
Hestwood won the Spring Thaw Tournament at Cascades Golf Course to begin the season.
He was 2-down after four holes in his quarterfinal match on Thursday.
“I haven’t been down that often,” Hestwood said. “I stayed calm because I knew there were a lot more holes to play.”
Hestwood said he played against Maddalena for the first time in the 2019 City Championship match.
“One thing you learn is how precise he is,” Hestwood said of Maddalena. “Nothing seems to bother him.
“I will have to bring my A-game tomorrow.”
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