VIENNA, Va. — Much of the excitement in the all-Maryland title match was crammed into the last five holes and when Mike Blasey, from Potomac, won 16 and 17 (the 34th and 35th holes), he had a 2-and-1 victory over Bennett Buch, of West Friendship, in the 96th Washington Metropolitan Amateur championship at Westwood Country Club in Vienna, August 2.
The triumph did not come easily for Blasey, even though he held the upper hand throughout, as Buch was never ahead and able to square the match only three times. The last one was in the stretch run on No.15 when Buch won a second straight hole to erase a 2-down deficit. Earlier, at No. 12, Blasey ran in a 15-foot putt to go 2-up. They halved 13, but Buch got one back when Blasey got entangled with trees on three successive shots on the 14th.
Tied after 15, each was in the rough on opposite sides of the fairway, but Buch was blocked by trees, could only chip out, then hit a shot on the green, 40 feet from the flagstick. With Blasey in the collar 35 feet from home in two, Buch went next and slid by the hole to three feet. Blasey duplicated the superb shot with one of his own - both making up for some earlier wayward putting -- getting to five feet and making it for a par-4. Buch's finish left him with a bogey and back to 1-down.
Blasey put an end to it at the par-3 17th, when he hit to 10 feet and made the putt.
I knew I couldn't rest on my laurels [with his leads], but at the same time I could make a mistake and not have it cost me," Blasey, 19, said. Both players declared they had played much better in the afternoon and Blasey pointed out that events such as the Met Am, with all its good players, provides a high level of competition. Last year's was his first start in the event and he missed the cut.
"I'm just trying to get more competition because I know it will make me a better player," he said.
Although Buch, 17, a senior at Marriott's Ridge High School, launched drives in the 300-yard range, often times they were off-line and prevented him from getting in a "fairways and greens" mode.
A 4-up lead for Blasey starting the afternoon was dented when Buch birdied 1-2, but his opponent won 3-4 with pars to restore a 4-up margin. Buch got it to 2 with with pars at 8-9, and to 1 with a birdie at 10. Officials moved the tee markers to the forward position, giving the players a 300-yard shot at the green. In two trips, Blasey was the only one to convert, hitting short of the green and pitching on to set up his birdie.
In the morning, the players scattered 5's and 6's over the landscape, as they found water, out of bounds and errant shots of all kinds. It wasn't until near the end that Blasey was able to win the last three holes and fashion that 4-up lead. For his rounds, Blasey had 75 and 3-over, while Buch had 77 and was even for the 17 holes.
In reaching the final, Blasey defeated Mason Carmel, Joe Scheffres, Michael Meyer, and Eric Dulik, while Buch dispatched Mac Bradley, Tom Adrounie, defender Addison Coll, and Connor Tendall.
View results for Washington Metropolitan Amateur Golf Championship