RUMFORD, R.I. — Hunter Stewart has won the 54th Northeast Invitational at Wannamoisett Country Club.
Entering the final round tied for the lead with Michael Johnson, Stewart was nearly flawless. The Vanderbilt standout picked up a pair of birdies on holes 6 and 7 to go up three shots on Johnson. Stewart closed the door with birdies on 13, 14, and 15, making his first bogey of the day on hole 18 insignificant.
“I won the Players (Amateur) a couple years ago. I’ve won a couple big college events, but this is right there at the top with them,’’ Stewart told the Rhode Island Golf Association (RIGA). “It's definitely one of the majors of amateurs golf. It’s a privilege to win this event. It’s a great honor.’’
Johnson, who hadn’t made a bogey since the first round, struggled to find the same consistency in the final round. He made an uncharacteristic four bogeys and a double bogey along with a pair of birdies for a final round 73 (4 over). The rising senior at Auburn golfer finished in a tie for 5th at 2-under par total.
Kyle Jones shot the lowest round of the tournament on Friday, a final round 63 that vaulted him from 12th place to a solo second place finish. Jones, who played in this year’s US Open, made 3 birdies on each nine and never surrendered a bogey in his final round. Even with the 63, Jones was not able to catch Stewart, finishing four shots behind.
“I knew with Hunter out front, he’s such a solid player, he was going to have a good day today,’’ Jones said to the RIGA.
Both Stewart and Jones were members of this year’s U.S. Palmer Cup team and hope to continue to play for their country in the Walker Cup, taking place at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England, Sept. 12-13. In fact, Stewart has delayed turning professional in pursuit of such an honor.
“It’s kind of what I’ve been working for two years now. Any time you have an opportunity (to represent your country) it’s truly an honor. To do it at the Palmer Cup was pretty special. People have told me that the Walker Cup is even more special than that. It’s one of the highest honors in amateur golf. It’s the culmination of two solid years of play. It would be a validation of the last year and a half or two years,’’ Stewart told RIGA.
With their play this week, it would be not surprising if both Stewart and Jones were in England come September.