Playing in the first group of his division, Wytanis was the clubhouse leader with an 18-hole round of 77. After each ensuing group turned in their scores, he listened closely to see if anyone beat him. No one did, and Wytanis’ 77 was good enough to win the 18-hole Open Boys 15-18 division of the Atlanta Junior Golf tournament on Monday at Chattahoochee Golf Course.
With an 18-hole 73, Ross Ward of Gainesville took the win in the Club Boys 15-18 division.
Carson Brown of Gainesville won the Open Boys 13-14 division with an 81, Pep Brown of Gainesville won the Club Boys 13-14 division with a 76, edging Taylor Martin of Braselton, who shot a 76, and Grant Lasseter of Gainesville won the Boys 12-and-under division with an 81.
"I really didn’t think I would win at all," said Wytanis, whose win Monday was his first of the season. "The course was set up that you could have scored well if you putted well, and I didn’t.
"I’ve been playing well lately," the rising North Gwinnett junior added. "It’s a relief to finally get that first win."
But that win didn’t come without having to overcome a few obstacles — from a player in his group, and from something not normally seen on the golf course.
While Wytanis’ group of four were walking up the fairway of No. 16, they heard a helicopter, looked up, and noticed that a medical helicopter was landing on the fairway of No. 15.
"It was cool to see, but I’m glad it wasn’t that distracting," said John Licata, who was in the same group as Wytanis, and finished tied for second with Mitchel Konkle of Dacula with a score of 78. Licata was awarded second place on a scorecard playoff. His back-nine score of 38 was three strokes better than Konkle, who was awarded the third-place medal.
The helicopter landed in order to fly a 9-year-old boy to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite after the boy was seriously injured after falling 12 feet from a treehouse at his Fairway Drive home Monday morning.
The ordeal landing briefly halted the tournament.
Once the helicopter was off the ground and out of the area, Wytanis still had to deal with fending off Licata.
"Coming off of No. 16 we were tied," said Licata, a rising senior at Alpharetta High.
The ensuing hole proved to be the difference in the tournament.
On the 193-yard, par-3 No. 17, Wytanis put his tee shot right in the middle of the green. Licata’s shot landed in the green-sided bunker.
"If I would have hit it on the green we would have tied," Licata said. "That 4-iron on No. 17, I wish I could have that back."
With a one-stroke lead heading to the final hole, Wytanis and Licata went shot-for-shot on No. 18. After struggling all day making putts, Wytanis stared down a par putt on the final hole with only one thought on his mind.
"No way I was missing that putt," the 16-year-old Suwanee resident said. "All day I was missing putts low. I was more aggressive with that one, I wasn’t going to lag it. I was going to jam it in there."
Jam it in he did, and while he didn’t know it at the time, making that final putt won him the tournament.