MAMARONECK, NY (June 9, 2013) — Somewhere in the mess the final group made on the last hole, Max Christiana lost count.
He calmly rolled in a short putt for double-bogey on Sunday not knowing it clinched the Anderson Memorial at Winged Foot. The spike of adrenaline didn’t come until playing partner Max Buckley picked up his mark and took off his cap.
Most of the players and members who gathered around the 18th green on the West Course had lost count, too.
“I was thinking my putt really wasn’t going to matter for much,” said Christiana, a Boston College junior. “To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was for the win. And when Max reached to pick up his ball mark, I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ I thought he was putting for bogey. You don’t want to win a tournament like that.”
It came down to wiggle room.
Buckley and Christiana, who play out of Westchester Country Club, were two shots behind Steve and Scott Smyers, a father-and-son team out of Old Memorial Golf Club in Florida, when the final round started.
Four inches of rain on Friday turned the Anderson into a 54-hole medal tournament.
Buckley, who recently graduated from Southern Methodist University, hit a clutch 5-iron to within six feet on the 13th hole, a long par 3, and rolled in the birdie to get the Westchester duo in front by a stroke at 12-under.
“We played the par 3s in 3-under today and that was huge,” said Buckley.
Christiana somehow converted a roller-coaster putt for par from nearly 30 feet on the 15th green to maintain the lead.
“That won the tournament,” he said. “I really just listened to the caddie on that one. I closed my eyes, hit the putt and when I opened them, it was right in the heart of the hole. It was good for our confidence.”
A pair of bogeys at the next hole left Buckley and Christiana tied for the lead.
They had room to breathe again when Steve and Scott Smyers both failed to get up and down for par at the 17th. And then it got really interesting.
Christiana and Steve Smyers both got themselves into big trouble on the last.
Buckley was in the first cut on the right side and his approach came up short and rolled back down the false front. He pitched to 7 feet above the hole. Scott Smyers reached in two, and then five-putted.
“The last time we came up here, Scott was a 7-year-old watching the U.S. Open,” said Steve Smyers, a golf course architect who is on the USGA’s executive board. “We were thrilled to death, coming back to play the Anderson. … Scott just had an unfortunate circumstance there at the end.”
Buckley somehow missed a two-foot bogey putt, then stepped back and gave Christiana a chance to finish out.
They posted a 3-under 69, one stroke in front of defending champions Parker Smith and Dan Crockett of the Country Club (Tenn.) and Matthew Rosen and Jeremy Defalco of Tuscon (Ariz.) C.C.
A triple-bogey left Steve and Scott Smyers in fourth.
“I thought I made the par putt,” Buckley said. “And that bogey putt was a serious lack of concentration after watching (Scott) whack it around. … When you look at the list of winners on the board in the grill room, it’s pretty impressive. I think it’s the first time a team from Westchester has won, so it’s pretty special. The format was different, no match play, but I don’t care. We still won the Anderson.”
The John G. Anderson Memorial Four-Ball Invitational was initiated in 1933 to honor Winged Foot founding member and two time U.S. Amateur runner-up John G. Anderson.
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