LONGMEADOW, MA (July 22, 2005) -- Kevin Tway closed out two opponents Friday by making birdies from close range to advance to Saturday’s 36-hole final of the U.S. Junior Amateur at Longmeadow Country Club.
The 16-year-old Tway, of Edmond, Okla., birdied the 18th hole from five feet to win his semifinal match against Arnond Vongvanij, 16, of Bradenton, Fla. In the morning quarterfinal, Tway stuck a wedge to 3 feet on the par-3 third extra hole to defeat Tim McKenney, 17, of Scottsdale, Ariz.
Tway will face Brad Johnson, 16, of Birmingham, Ala., in the final set for 8 a.m. Johnson edged last year’s runner-up David Chung, 15, of Fayetteville, N.C., in his semifinal match, 1 up. He won his quarterfinal match against Ryan Thomas, 17, of Alameda, Calif., by the same margin.
“I didn’t really have any expectations coming into this week,” said the younger Tway, who had his proud father, PGA Tour player Bob Tway watching with approval. “My dad just told me to have a good attitude and good things will happen.”
They have. And a win Saturday would be a great way to celebrate the young Tway's 17th birthday.
The only shortcoming for the family this week was in packing the suitcases.
“We’ve been buying clothes for two days,” said the elder Tway with a big smile. “It’s unbelievable!”
Johnson liked the idea of reaching the final for a couple of reasons, too. For one, he’s now qualified for the U.S. Amateur in mid-August at Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia. Secondly, he’ll miss a week of high school classes to get there.
“I’m excited to get here,” said Johnson of playing for the Junior trophy. “I’m still kind of in shock. I knew I had to play one of my best rounds. I putted the best I putted all week.”
The putt he’ll remember most was his 15-footer for birdie on the 14th hole that gave him a lead he held the rest of the way. He two-putted from 20 feet on the final hole to close the deal.
Tway has already advanced farther than his father did in two Junior Amateurs. And he gets to play at Merion, an historic golf course his dad has never played.
But while he’s accomplished a lot, the younger Tway hasn’t beaten his dad on the golf course yet.
“He hasn’t beaten me so far,” said Bob, who finished tied for 41st at last week’s British Open. “He’s come close, but I don’t let him win. That’s for sure.”