Pennsylvania Amateur: Hughes pulls away to win by five
J.D. Hughes, the 2017 Pennsylvania Amateur champion<br>(Penn GA photo)
J.D. Hughes, the 2017 Pennsylvania Amateur champion
(Penn GA photo)

MALVERN, PA (August 2) - J.D. Hughes saved his best performance for the final round - cruising to a five-shot victory at White Manor Country Club in the 104th Pennsylvania State Amateur. After opening with a tidy pair of 3-under 68s, Hughes went one better - shooting 67 on Wednesday.

Hughes began the day tied for the lead at 6-under par 136 with Rutgers' Senior Matt Holuta (the 2017 Western Pennsylvania Amateur champ). The Penn State golfer quickly separated himself from his fellow Big Ten collegiate player by carding six birdies to only a pair of bogeys. A crucial play was his savvy shot from the greenside bunker on the 330-yard 14th that gave Hughes a much-needed bounce back birdie to hold a three-shot lead with four to play.

In winning the title, Hughes held off his Penn State teammate - and the defending champion - Cole Miller. This proved an easy task since Miller matched his opening round with an uneventful even-par round of 71 that included one birdie and one bogey.

Hughes also had to battle Mother Nature, which tested not just his - but all the players' patience - on Wednesday. A storm cell quickly moved into the area and forced the stoppage of play at 12:30 p.m. There wasn’t a lot of rain with the lingering system, but lightning flashed often enough to prompt event officials to keep everyone inside. Finally, the all-clear was given and competition resumed at 5:32 p.m.

Hughes did his best to say loose during this five-hour delay. As he told Philly.com, “I just hung out. I had a lot of my close buddies, two of my teammates, my close friend who caddied for me, where I could just sit and chill out with them, got some food. It was definitely long but everyone had to deal with it.”

Putting was another key to Hughes' victory. "I was confident," he told Philly.com. "When I got on the greens, I said to myself, 'There isn't anything else I co do to prepare myself to putt.' So that kind of helped me stay relaxed."

Christopher Ault from Yardley Country Club made the biggest move of the day, firing a 2-under 69 and a three-day total of -5 that was good enough to secure a share of second place with Miller.

Cole Berman of the Philadelphia Cricket Club fhinsed alone in fourth place at 4-under; after two rounds in the 60s that put him into position to win, Holuta shot a 4-over par (75) in the final 18 holes, leaving him alone in fifth place at -2 under for the tournament.

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ABOUT THE Pennsylvania Amateur

First played in 1909, the Pennsylvania Amateur is 54- hole stroke play event open to any male amateur golfer who is a member of a club belonging to the Pennsylvania Golf Association. Non exempt players must qualify through a sectional qualifying event a month prior. There will be a cut to the low 40 and ties after the second round.

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