Michael Carrig defeated 2013 WNY Open champion Dan Yustin in the final bout of the BDGA Match Play Invitational on Saturday, May 18th, at Niagara Falls Country Club. The winner defeated Mike McNulty, Brian Rajczak, John Edwards and Matt Stasiak on his way to the final match. Carrig walks you through his match with Yustin, a former high school foe when Carrig was at Timon and Yustin played for Canisius.
1. Describe your matches through the semifinals. Were there any moments when you felt you might be headed home? You defeated McNulty, Rajczak, Edwards and Stasiak. That’s quite a mix of young, middle and older.
Golf is a great game in that age doesn’t matter, so each opponent presented an equally difficult challenge. The match against Stasiak I thought I might be headed home as he was 3 up through 4 holes. I knew I was in a heap of trouble but I just tried to just take it hole by hole and get myself back into it. I finally drew even on 14 and then won it in the end. All of the other matches I was tied or up by the 10th hole and I played the back nine well all week so it saved me.
2. Yustin had just won the WNY Open on the same course. Were you aware of this? How did you handle the match leading up to the first tee?
I was aware of it but I didn’t let it bother me. Match play is an entire different animal than stroke play and when it’s mano a mano anything can happen. Leading up to the match I knew he was playing well but I just tried to remind myself that I was also playing well. I tried to stick to my game plan and make him beat me.
3. Turning points in the match? Were you up early? Down early? Even until a certain hole on the back?
A major turning point was the 4th hole. At that point I was up 1 and I hit my tee shot in the right bunker. Danny stuck his to about ten feet. So I knew at worst he was going to make par. I said to myself just try to make him make birdie to beat me. I hit a poor sand shot to about 25 feet so I was still away. I then made the putt and he missed his so I remained 1 up and then never relinquished the lead.
4. What part of your game was there for you this week? Any specific skill that helped you through the tough spots?
My short game saved me all week, especially my chipping. It was very windy at certain points this week so it was difficult to hit some of the small greens at NFCC. So I just made alot of up and downs to keep momentum going in my matches. I also had a a few chip ins at key moments which propelled me.
5. You’ve finished your college years at Canisius. What does the future hold, both in terms of career and golf?
As of right now I am finishing my masters in forensic accounting at Canisius and I’m trying to figure out what direction to take after my academic career is finished. I have some job decisions to make in the very near future. As far as golf goes, I will play in the Porter Cup later on this summer and try to get better each day for the rest of my life and see where that leads me. Ultimately I hope to have a very rewarding amateur career.
6. What is your home course? What about it helps you prepare for top-tier amateur events?
My home course is Springville CC where I have been a member since 2004. Springville isn’t a very long course but it is by no means easy. It can come out and bite you at any point. Being a short course it puts your wedge in your hand a lot so it has really molded me into a good wedge player and a strong short game, which I consider my strengths. It is also narrow in certain spots which has helped me to become a fairly accurate driver of the golf ball.
7. Back to Niagara Falls. Do you feel that the NFCC course sets up well for your game? Do you have an affinity for the course?
I definitely have an affinity for the course. I have now played a multitude of events there including the 2006 bdga championship, 2010 porter cup, 2010 and 2011 little three’s and a couple WNY opens, so I definitely have a lot of experience on the course. I feel like I know where to miss when I play there and I feel very comfortable out there.