SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (August 6, 2006) –- In a seesaw battle over the Lower and Upper Courses at Baltusrol, 17-year-old Tommy McDonagh edged Kevin Foley, one-up, in the finals of the Met Amateur Championship to become the youngest champion in the event’s 104 year history. After twice being five-up during the 36-hole final match, McDonagh lost four of the last eight holes to a charging Foley, and led one-up after 35 holes. The 36th hole was the famous par-five 18th on the Lower Course, and McDonagh hit a clutch third shot to within 10 feet of the hole to secure his second amateur title of the season.
McDonagh began the morning round on the Upper Course today the same way he had against Giuliani in the semifinals, by jumping out to an early lead. He coasted through the front nine, making the turn at 3-up. However, after playing 36 holes four of the last five days, McDonagh seemed to wear down. Foley jumped at the opportunity, winning the 14th, 16th and 17th holes to stand at two-down at the end of the morning round.
In the afternoon round on the famed Lower Course, McDonagh once again extended his lead early in the match when Foley missed a seven-footer for par. Foley stumbled again on the eighth and ninth holes, and McDonagh regained his five-hole lead.
Foley, who reached the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links in July, was all but out of it at this point. He was five down with nine holes to play, but he staged the most exciting comeback in the Met Amateur in recent memory. Foley won the 11th, 12th and 14th holes with pars to draw within striking distance of McDonagh, who looked visibly frustrated after he missed a short par putt that would have halved the par-four 14th.
The players halved the 15th and 16th holes before moving on to Baltusrol’s 612-yard 17th hole. Both players hit solid drives, Foley in the fairway and McDonagh with a nice lie in the rough. However, McDonagh hit his worst shot of the championship, pushing an iron onto the adjacent 6th hole. His went on to make bogey, while Foley made a routine par, and that led to the final-hole dramatics.
For complete match tree results, click on the tournament link above.