HORSESHOE BAY – Boerne Champion senior Zach Heffernan became the first golfer in 25 years and just the third in the Texas Junior Amateur’s 94-year history to win back-to-back titles. And how he did it is just as impressive: after leading the first day, Zach didn’t play quite as well day two and found himself with a challenge on the last day of competition.
“After the first day playing good, being in the lead and then the second day – it’s nice being in the lead I guess after the first day but not really. I kinda like coming from behind,” Heffernan said.
It’s a good thing the 17-year-old Baylor commit likes playing from behind as he was tied for third and two strokes back on the final day of Texas Junior Amateur competition. Zach was confident in his ability to close the gap in the homestretch.
“If I just play the same way I’ve been playing all week I knew I could get something going and drop a putt and get within one or two,” he said. “And then went from there.”
By the 18th hole, Zach had not only drawn even, but was one stroke up. He credits his ability to remain calm and even thriving under pressure in his come-from-behind victory, an attribute his high school golf coach, Jason Sweatman, can attest to.
“Pressure doesn’t bother him,” Sweatman said. “He wants it. He looks for it. He loves it. Whenever there’s someone he’s chasing and whenever there’s an obstacle to overcome, he’s a gamer.”
After hitting a 25-footer onto the green at the final hole, Zach just needed to make par to hold onto the lead.
“When I tapped in on the last hole, my whole family was there – which was nice – they all started cheering,” said Zach. “It was really cool just to have all my family there and pretty much everyone that supports me just watch me and it’s nice.”
Zach carded rounds of 66, 73 and 70 to finish four under par and one stroke ahead of those finishing in a three-way tie for second. After saving par on the par-5 ninth hole on the last day of the tournament, Zach had a feeling he was going to pull out the come-from-behind win.
“When I have the confidence and feel like I’m going to win, I just always play good golf.”