ZACHARY — It was just four years ago that B.J. Rogillio’s interest in golf was piqued with a strong showing in a junior tournament at Beaver Creek.
On Saturday morning, the 15-year-old took things a step further as he won the final two rounds of match play to take the championship at the Baton Rouge Amateur.
The championship match, between Rogillio and Jordan Hollingsworth, was all square through four holes. Rogillio won the next five holes to take control, and closed a 7-and-6 win on the 12th hole after Hollingsworth’s drive found the water.
“I felt like I practiced harder than anyone in the field, and I think I earned it,” Rogillio said.
The match concluded five rounds of match play for Rogillio, who shot 76 in last Saturday’s qualifying round to make the round of 32. His semifinal match against Crosby Lyman proved to be the most competitive of the day.
Lyman was 3-down at the turn, but birdied 10, 11, 12 and 16. Both players were 4-under par through 18 holes with the match all square. Rogillio won it on the first extra hole, the 10th, with a birdie after knocking his approach to two feet.
“I thought the (championship match) would be the hardest match I played in the whole tournament,” said Rogillio, who made 11 birdies in 31 holes Saturday. “(The semifinal) was definitely the toughest. It's the only match I played that got past Hole 14.”
For Rogillio, a home-schooled high school sophomore, the win caps a productive summer in which he tied for seventh at the LGA State Amateur, and tied for second at the LGA Junior Amateur.
Hollingsworth rode a hot putter as he started the day with a 6-and-5 win over Dustin Miller. As smooth as his putting was in the semifinals, it was a liability in the championship. Hollingsworth missed putts of six feet or less at holes five, six, eight and 11 that would have halved holes with Rogillio.
At the 12th, Hollingsworth pulled his drive left into a water hazard. He hit his third shot up to 25 feet but missed a par putt that would have extended the match.
“The first match I couldn’t miss a putt, and then it did a 180 on me,” Hollingsworth said. “I couldn’t touch the hole, let alone make a putt (in the championship). I was pushing, pulling. My speed was off. It just wasn’t my time.”
For Hollingsworth, a former Denham Springs High golfer who will play for Louisiana College this fall, the disappointment of losing the final match was tempered by his overall success in the tournament.
“It was a step in the right direction," he said. “I need a little more repetition before I can compete for a championship. I’m actually surprised I did so well.”
Results from the Baton Rouge Amateur golf tournament at Beaver Creek golf course
Jordan Hollingsworth def. Dustin Miller 6&5
B.J. Rogillio def. Crosby Lyman 19 holes
Rogillio def. Hollingsworth 7&6