Finigan Tilly drives on No. 16 (AmateurGolf.com photo)
SEASIDE, California (August 2, 2017) -- Cal Bear sophomore Finigan Tilly recorded his first amateur win today at the Bayonet Black Horse Amateur, posting a final round 68 to edge Noah Woolsey of Pleasanton by a single shot.
Tilly, who has the benefit of playing with top amateurs Colin Morikawa and K.K. Limbhasut during the school year, grinded out a total of seven birdies at Bayonet -- including three in a row from close range on Nos. 10, 11, and 12 -- to post 4-under 68 in the final round. At a course where par is a good score on any hole, that's impressive.
Beginning the day a shot back of the three 36-hole leaders, his 5-under total would be just enough to edge out the other forty golfers who progressed through Tuesday’s 36-hole cut.
“It was great. Just had to stick to the game plan the whole round," he said. "I knew that Bayonet would put up a big fight. It’s a tough course.”
San Jose State’s Kevin Velo, 19, and University of Oregon commit, Craig Ronne, 17, were grouped as a twosome in the final pairing, but dug themselves holes early. Despite hitting the ball well for most of the day and making birdies on his final two holes, Velo turned at 3-over, falling out of contention.
“I was honestly playing pretty well,” explained Velo, who finished runner-up in last year's event after falling to Robbie Salomon in a playoff. “I didn’t chip my best though, and I left a couple out there for sure. I was putting well actually, just didn’t make anything.”
Of the three leaders to open the day, Ronne, a high school player from Oregon, produced the most interesting scorecard, recovering from his rough start to make a run at the title.
He drove into the trees on his first two holes, making par on the first by way of a perfect 4-iron fade from the wood-chips on the right. But he would not be as lucky with his lie after again missing his tee shot right on the second. With a restricted backswing, Ronne was forced to chip out and made bogey on the hole, following by another bogey on the par-3 4th to fall to even-par on the tournament.
After finding the "Grenade Bunker" at the former military course with his tee-shot on the short par-4 5th, Ronne would hoist a perfect pitch that would settle two-feet from the pin, setting up his first birdie of the day. Back in the red numbers, the 17-year-old Oregon State Champion had his sights on the trophy. Ronne would go on to make birdies on Nos. 8, 10, and 16 to reach 4-under-par for the tournament.
“I knew I would make some bogeys today, especially because this course is tough out of the gate," he said. "But I definitely ended up getting it back. That was nice.”
Playing a group ahead of Ronne was the Cal Bear sophomore, Tilly, and on the downhill par-3 17th, Ronne would have a stage-like vantage point as he watched Tilly make birdie on the hole to take the outright lead at 5-under-par.
Ronne, seemingly unfazed, proceeded to stuff his tee-shot close into a tucked back-right pin on the par-3. Unfortunately, the 17-year old was not able to convert his birdie putt.
Ronne was fully aware of the score was at that point, and he knew that a birdie on No. 17 would have been good enough to tie Tilly, who was hitting his second shot on the finishing par-5 as he reached the 18th tee.
“I really wanted to get my drive into an area from which I could get on the green [in two]," Ronne explained. "But it didn’t kick forward, so I was further back than I had anticipated. After that shot, I was really looking to roll one up, just short to the neck of the green.”
Ronne’s second ended up considerably left of where he would have hoped, finding a cart-path that propelled his ball even further from his target, short-sided, and in resting in a one inch divot. Instead of making the birdie he needed to force a playoff, Ronne took a bogey on the hole and dropped into a tie for third place with Connor Blick of Alamo.
Blick, a frequent competitor on the AmateurGolf.com Tour, birdied the last hole to post a fine 68 in the final round, which tied Tilly for the low round of the tournament.
Finishing runner-up was Noah Woolsey, a University of Washington commit. Woolsey, who began the day in a tie with Tilly, made a late run at the trophy with birdies on Nos. 15, 17, and 18 to post 69 on the day and finish a shot back, at 4-under-par.
ABOUT THE Bayonet Black Horse Amateur
54-hole tournament with a 36-hole cut hosted
always-tough Bayonet course at Bayonet Black
Seaside, California. In a relatively short amount
time since the tournament was founded in
has turned into one of the top amateur events
west coast, drawing top collegiate and mid-am
to the Monterey Peninsula. Open to amateur
with an official and verified handicap index not
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