It has been quite a week for McDermott, 38, of Bryn Mawr, who plays out of Merion and Pine Valley. None of his four matches has gone beyond the 16th hole. He is on a streak of not having lost a hole in his last 36. He also is 3 under par for 55 holes over the rugged Aronimink layout, which is playing close to its 7,190-yard maximum.
McDermott, a five-time Golf Association of Philadelphia player of the year, said his strategy this week has been to get the honors on the tee, put the ball in play, and force his opponent to do the same. The key Friday was back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh to expand a 1-up lead to 3-up, and he rolled from there.
"That was when I started to feel like I was in control of the match," McDermott said. "Then I started hitting it pretty well from that point. I think that was tough to come back from because my bad shots were mostly over by that point and I started hitting it pretty well."
McDermott, who did not touch a club last summer for six weeks while battling a digestive illness, went 4-up at the par-3 eighth with a par, then closed out the match with wins on the first three holes of the back nine. The clincher came at No. 12, on which he rolled in a 40-foot putt from the left fringe for birdie.
"It was sort of hit and hope because you're going through the fringe," McDermott said. "When that went in, you're thinking, that's just one of those days when you have somebody's number. It's crazy."
Hicks, of Cape May Court House, N.J., took control of his match with wins on the sixth, seventh, and eighth holes. He went 2-under for that stretch, putting him 3-up. Kania, a 2010 finalist who just completed a stellar career at Villanova, was unable to cut into the advantage the rest of the way.
"I played really well today," said Hicks, who was 3 under for 15 holes. "I hit it well, drove it well, and it just happened to work out great. So I'm excited, can't wait for" Saturday.
Alexander Hicks, Wildwood, def. Michael Kania, Overbrook, 4 and 3; Michael McDermott, Merion, def. Conrad Von Borsig, White Manor, 7 and 6.
Contact Joe Juliano at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @JoeJulesInq.