JUPITER, Fla. - Irishman Eoghan O'Connell matched par 72 for the second day in a row and it was just enough Sunday to win the 31st annual Palm Beach County Kennel Club/County Amateur Championship.
O'Connell, 38, of Palm Beach Gardens rescued a lackluster round by holing a 60-foot wedge shot from behind the 11th green for birdie, then turned up the intensity on the last four holes with three pars and a clinching birdie at 16 for the victory.
At 213, three under par for the distance on the Fazio course at the Jonathan's Landing Golf Club at Old Trail, O'Connell finished a stroke ahead of former champion R.J. Nakashian, 38, of Palm Beach Gardens and Chappell Brown, 19, of West Palm Beach.
Brown, playing in the group in front of O'Connell and Nakashian, also shot par the final round and had the lead before making bogey at the par-3 16th hole. "I just 'flared' an 8-iron and got careless and hit a poor chip shot," Brown said.
Moments later, O'Connell birdied the 16th for the lead. Nakashian posted a 73 on two birdies and three bogies. He won the County Amateur two years ago.
"I played well the first two days but I was awful this morning," O'Connell said. "I only hit maybe five of six of the first 14 greens but my short game saved me. I feel fortunate I was able to hang in there," on a day when no one broke par on the hard and crusty greens.
After he missed another green at the 13th and made his second bogey of the day, O'Connell saved up-and-down pars at the 14th and 15th holes, sank a 10 footer for birdie at 16, made a routine two-putt par at 17, then hit the shot of the day at 18.
After his drive landed on the top edge of a grass swale left of the fairway, O'Connell hit the next shot with his feet below the ball. The ball landed on the front portion of the green, released and rolled less than 10 feet past the hole for an easy two-putt par and the win.
O'Connell is the first former Walker Cup player to compete in the Palm Beach County Amateur Championship. He represented Great Britain & Ireland in 1989, contributing to a 12 ½ to 11 ½ victory over the U.S. at Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta.
"I'm delighted to win this tournament," added O'Connell, the managing general partner of The Fox Club in Palm City for the past two and a half years. "It's one of the most competitive golf counties in the country, a lot of very good players."
The prize list:
Palm Beach Kennel Club/County Amateur Championship
Jonathan's Landing GC at Old Trail, Jupiter, Fla.
Fazio course, 6,900 yards, par 72
Eoghan O'Connell, Palm Beach Gardens, $750 69-72-72-213
Chappell Brown, West Palm Beach, $450 69-73-72-214
R.J. Nakashian, Palm Beach Gardens, $450 70-71-73-214
Greg O'Mahony, Tequesta, $300 72-72-72-216
Robbie Wight, West Palm Beach, $250 71-70-77-218
Jimmy Lytle, Ocean Ridge, $225 75-70-76-221
Brian Fragakis, Royal Palm Beach, $200 75-75-72-222
Brooks Koepka, Lake Worth, $170 74-74-75-223
Artie Scott, Tequesta, $170 71-75-77-223
Gabriel Costa, Tequesta, $130 78-72-74-224
Brad Ball, Tequesta, $130 75-73-76-224
Scott Turner, Palm City, $130 73-75-76-224
Matt Ribakoff, Jupiter, $95 75-75-75-225
Ryan Konkus, Tequesta, $95 71-79-75-225
Ryan LeFevre, Boca Raton, $95 73-76-76-225
Rick Othmer, West Palm Beach, $95 77-71-77-225
Michael Leone, Lake Worth, $60 75-75-76-226
Bill Griffith, Stuart, $60 73-76-77-226
John Arrigo, West Palm Beach, $60 73-75-78-226
Jason Dollard, Delray Beach, $60 73-72-81-226
Steve Earsley, Hobe Sound, $40 72-79-76-227
Ben Adelberg, Coral Springs, $40 72-77-78-227
Brett Rendina, Palm Beach Gardens, $40 74-72-81-227
Pat McCabe, West Palm Beach, $15 78-76-74-228
Payne McIntosh, West Palm Beach, $15 73-77-78-228
Andy Johncke, Palm Beach Gardens, $15 73-77-78-228
Mike Nealy, Stuart, $15 77-73-78-228