Andrew Novak defeated Jonathan Hardee 3&2 to win the CGA South Carolina Match Play championship. (CGA Picture)
Wofford golfer Andrew Novak is the owner of a golfing semi-slam in South Carolina. The Terrier golfer is the current SCGA Amateur champion and added the CGA South Carolina Match Play championship to his resume.
Novak continued his outstanding play at the Carolinas Golf Association’s South Carolina Match Play championship by defeating Alabama golfer Jonathan Hardee, from Greer, 3&2 in the final match.
Novak won the 2014 SCGA Amateur and now becomes one of four golfers to have held the titles in these two major events in the same year. Novak joins Todd White (1990) Bert Atkinson (1995) and Jim Holmes (1977) as the only golfers to win the two tournaments in a year.
“Those three are South Carolina golfing royalty,” said Novak. “It is a real honor to be a in group with those guys,” he said.
Novak played what he considered some boring golf during the week. None of his matches went beyond the 16th hole. He did not get into much trouble as he stuck to his game plan.
“The course wasn’t really difficult, but it is narrow. I thought if I could keep the ball in the fairway that it would actually narrow the course for my opponents,” he said.
Novak was able to stick to his game plan through the final match. In the last match he had to do a little more scrambling than he would have liked.
“I kept it in play for the most part. I hit a few loose tee shots. I played within myself and I was able to hit fairways and greens. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked,” said Novak.
The rising junior at Wofford and Hardee played the front side even. Novak caught up with Hardee by winning the ninth hole and then won the tenth hole to go 1up.
“Most of my matches this week have been like the final. I would get even by the turn and then turned it on to win four or five holes,” he said.
After finding the fairway on most of his tee shots, Novak hit his worst drive of the week on the 11th hole.
“I hit something that was a drop kick slice that went about 20 yards into the woods. I managed to get it back in the fairway and then get up and down to save a par. It probably was the turning point in the match,” he added.
The fourteenth hole gave Novak another win when he drove the 288 yard par 4 from the tee. Hardee had bunker trouble and conceded a birdie to Novak. It put the Mt. Pleasant golfer 2 up.
A win on number 15 made the match dormie and when the 16th hole was halved Novak had claimed his second major title.
“Jonathan is a very good ball striker and there never are any guarantees. I’m just glad things worked out today the way it did all week,” said the new champion.
Novak now has bookend trophies the SCGA Am and CGA Match Play trophies are both impressive reminders of his outstanding play.
“I hadn’t won anything in almost a year. Golf isn’t a game like baseball or football where you win a lot of games. Good players sometimes go years in between wins. It is pretty cool when you get a chance to win,” Novak said.
The state am trophy is at the Country Club of Spartanburg and I’ve got this one with me here at home. I’m going to have to figure out what to do with it,” he added.
Novak has a full summer of golf ahead of him. He will miss the Carolinas Am because he received an invitation to the Players Championship at Bluffton. He will play the North-South and hope to qualify for the US Amateur.
“Hopefully I can keep my golf at this level and it will continue into some of the other tournaments I’m going to play this summer,” concluded Novak.