British Amateur: USA's Weaver Wins Title
LYTHAM, ST. ANNES, England (June 23, 2007) -- Six up with six to play, Drew Weaver had to go to the 35th hole before overcoming a determined fight-back by Tim Stewart in the final of the Amateur Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes, finally claiming the title by holing a vital seven-foot putt to win by 2 and 1.
He became the first American to win the championship since Jay Sigel in 1979.
"At six up with six to play I didn't feel that my game had slipped, I was still controlling the match," commented Weaver after his victory. "The 17th was by far the most intense hole I have ever played. When I saw his putt go by said to myself 'don't let it slip away, don't let it go to the 18th'. I got a good read on the putt and just concentrated on making a good stroke.
"I played great for 12 holes this afternoon and felt I was in control. I just concentrated on making pars so that he would have to win with birdies.
"Getting into the Walker Cup would be fantastic, but I just came here to experience links golf and it is up to the captain to decide whether I've done enough to get into the team. There are some areas of my game that need to be improved and I'll be working on those."
Stewart said: "I guess if you had told me at the beginning of the week that I would be runner-up I would have been delighted. Some you win and some you don't."
Weaver had established a two-hole lead after the first 18 holes and at the start of the afternoon round Stewart pitched to six feet and saved his par for a half at the first but lost the second when Weaver birdied from close range. In a strange turn of events at the 457-yard third hole Weaver putted off the green into a bunker to lose the hole, then made amends when he holed from a bunker at the next for a winning birdie to remain three up.
Although both players were through the back of the short fifth they got up and down for a half in threes, but Weaver went further ahead when he reached the green in two at the par-five sixth and two-putted for a winning birdie. At Lytham's longest hole, the 555-yard seventh, Weaver missed the green with an eight-iron second shot after a massive drive, but pitched to eight feet and holed out for another birdie to take a five hole lead.
The American increased his advantage to six up with a two at the 196-yard 12th before Stewart began a remarkable come-back. Weaver dropped a shot to lose the 13th, Stewart holed from 30 feet at the next and took the 15th with a par four when Weaver blocked his tee shot into the right rough and could not make the green in two.
In the space of three holes the Australian had halved the deficit from six holes to three, and there was more to come. At the 16th Stewart holed from 18 feet for a birdie that kept the match alive, but Weaver gained a half in four at the 17th to claim his title.
ABOUT THE British Amateur
The first stage of the Championship involves
288 players each of whom plays two rounds of
18 holes, one to be played on each of the two
courses. The 64 lowest scores over the 36
holes and ties for 64th place will compete in
the match play stage of the Championship.
Each match will consist of one round of 18
holes except the Final which will be over 36
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