By Mike Dudurich, Golfweek contributor
JOHNSTOWN, PA (June 13, 2010)--Bobby Hudson is no stranger to winning.
So he wasn’t totally surprised when he was handed the winner’s crystal early Sunday afternoon at the Sunnehanna Amateur. What thrilled him, however, was the path he took to getting from 1-under par to 5 under in the pressure cooker of this elite championship.
“This was one of the best rounds I’ve ever played in my life,” he said after shooting 66, passing six players on the leaderboard to win the 57th Sunnehanna Amateur.
Hudson was a couple groups ahead of the leaders Sunday morning and quietly went about the business of moving up the leaderboard, while most of the attention was focused Will Collins, Eric Mina and overnight leader Brad Benjamin.
But Hudson made three birdies on the front nine and quickly was back in the hunt.
“I left a putt on the lip on No. 9 for eagle and when I did that, I figured I was playing well enough that I had a chance to win,” said Hudson, who has won the Tennessee Amateur, the Mauna Lani Invitational and Morris Williams Intercollegiate. “I felt like I was in good position. I don’t normally look at scoreboards, but I did take a couple peeks on the way in.”
He made birdie at No. 11 at Sunnehanna Country Club to get to 5 under for the championship and wrench the lead from Benjamin, who was never able to get anything going in his round.
Benjamin, the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, made five bogeys and two birdies. He bogeyed the 18th to tie for third.
“I was mediocre all day,” Benjamin said. “I made a nice birdie on 11, but just keep waiting for something good to happen and it never did. I knew somebody was going to shoot 65 or 66, and I had to play a good round and it didn’t happen. I came to the 17th knowing that if I birdied 17 and 18, I could catch him, but I didn’t.”
Nathan Smith, the second-ranked amateur in the United States, posted 66, but didn’t expect to move up to second.
“I eagled No. 11 and thought if I could make a couple coming in, I’d have a chance,” said Smith, the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion. “But it was too much to make up.”
Hudson just completed his junior season at Texas and had seven top-20 finishes in 12 events, including a victory at the Mauna Lani Invitational in the fall. He plans to play at the Northeast Amateur, Southern Amateur, Porter Cup and, hopefully, the U.S. Amateur later this summer.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer, playing again at Texas and then coming back here,” he said.
Joining Benjamin in a tie for third were Collins (Salisbury, N.C.), Mina (Freemont, Calif.) and Jordan Russell (College Station, Texas).
NOTES: The prodigious driving continued on Sunday. Nick Delio, the long drive contest champion at Sunnehanna, hit the green on the 386-yard par-4 third hole Sunday morning. That was topped by top-ranked amateur Peter Uihlein, who became the first player to hit all three par 5s at Sunnehanna Country Club. In doing so, he reached the 617-yard, uphill ninth, a green that’s rarely been threatened in two shots. Delio also accomplished that feat. … Uihlein tied for seventh. . . . Amory Davis of Chads Ford, Pa., provided a statistical anomaly by shooting 34 on the back nine all four days. He had some trouble with the front, however, finishing the tournament at 8-over par.
ABOUT THE Sunnehanna Amateur
The Sunnehanna Amateur was inaugurated in July of
1954 -- it was the first country club
sponsored 72-hole stroke play competition for
in the United States. The
tournament is played on a classic A.W. Tillinghast
design. Only one other amateur
tournament in the United States can list the likes of
Chick Evans, Arnold Palmer, Julius
Boros, Art Wall, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger
Woods, and Rickie Fowler as
contestants: the United States Amateur. Its medal
format has been emulated by
countless amateur tournaments across the country.
View Complete Tournament Information