Met Amateur: Josh German wins prestigious title at Friar's Head
Josh German (Metropolitan G.A. photo)
Josh German (Metropolitan G.A. photo)

Josh German of Sewane is the newest name to be added to MGA championship history after capturing the 121st Met Amateur Championship at Friar's Head. German, a rising junior at Sam Houston State University and intern at Sewane, defeated Christian Cavaliere of Hudson National 2 and 1 in the 36-hole championship match. German closed out the match with a par putt on the 35th hole Sunday afternoon.

German and Cavaliere ended the morning 18 tied after both players won three holes. Cavaliere went 2 up through the first five holes thanks to birdies on Nos. 3 and 5. German won the par-3 eighth to cut into the deficit and give Cavaliere his first hole lost since No. 13 of the quarterfinal round.

German added wins with pars on Nos. 13 and 16 to turn the deficit into an advantage. However, after German's chip from a collection area short of the par-4 18th came back past him, another pitch onto the green and a putt led to a conceded birdie for Cavaliere to return the match to tied.

"I knew going in that I was playing an extremeley talented and extremely good player in Christian, and I knew I was going to have to have my best stuff today to get it done," German, 20, said. "Three through six I played a little shaky in the morning and he was able to take advantage of that, but I'm really happy with the way I settled in toward the middle of that opening 18 and really played well in the middle and toward the end."

In the afternoon, German took the lead on the third and was able to hold on to it throughout the front nine despite a back-and-forth match. On the par-3 fourth, German went 2-up after a par, but Cavaliere fought back on five, making a birdie three to win the hole just as he did in the morning. After his second landed in a greenside bunker on the par-5 seventh, German's next shot finished short of the green on the right side.

He quickly recovered, chipping in to save par, while Cavaliere responded with a par of his own. German made a par on the par-3 eighth while Cavaliere missed his putt and carded a bogey, putting German back at 2-up. Cavaliere answered that with another birdie on the ninth to win the hole, but made a bogey on 10 after finding a bunker while German made a par to get to 2-up.

"After the break I think we both played much better in the second round with a lot more birdies and a lot more par saves," said German. "I think we both really played some exciting golf. I chipped in on seven, he hit a phenomonal bunker shot on 11 for eagle that went in as well, so we both had moments where we took the holes back from each other and got away with stuff and it was just a grind all day."

On the par-5 11th, Cavaliere found a bunker once again, but recovered with a tremendous hole-out eagle to trim the deficit. Cavaliere won the 13th with a par after German's approach went over the green, making the match tied heading to the 14th. German won 14 with an up and down for birdie from behind the green and the duo tied 15 after both missed birdie putts.

"On 14, I hit two phendomal shots," said German. "The 3-wood I hit from the fairway was hit just perfect, and where the pin was, it was just impossible to hold the green, but I knew just getting up there I could get it up by the hole and then trust my short game. I had a really difficult chip, I had to land it in the rough, which is really scary to do especailly at that point in the day. But I had the shot that I knew I could pull off, and just open up the 58 degree and hit it like a putt, and I was able to do it. I thought I made it but it just snuck by the edge and I made the comebacker and he kind of gave me one after he missed his for birdie after hitting a great lag putt."

Then on the par-4 16th, Cavaliere's drive went to the far right, ending up in a sandy area. German's drive was safely in the fairway and he was able to make a birdie to get his lead to 2-up with two holes to play. "On 16 I was able to see that he missed the green, and I knew that If I could get it on the green I'd have a good chance to take control of that hole," he said. "I hit a great wedge, my caddie was very important on that shot. I was trying to hit a different shot and he told me that was the shot to hit, and I pulled it off."

German closed out the match on the par-3 17th, despite his tee shot rolling across the green and ending up just off the front. Cavaliere's birdie attempt slid past the hole, and German saved par to tie that hole and win the championship, 2 and 1.

"Especially once I went 2-up in the early afternoon, its impossible to not think 'what if I win this' but you can't not think about it because it always creeps up in your mind that you're just one step closer to getitng it done" German said post-round. "Especially when I was dormie, it was the only thing I could think of, and I just really had to calm myself down and stick to what I was doing. The first putt [on 17] I absolutely hammered by the hole, I was barely inside of Christian, and once he missed his birdie putt I knew I had a putt to win the Met Am. My caddie gave me a great line and I hit a perfect roll, probably my best roll all day, and I could tell it was going in from two or three feet out and just the relief when I saw it go in, to know it was over and I was the champion, I've never felt anything like it."

"I think it's going to take a while for it to settle in that I went all the way this week, all the way to the finish line and won the Met Am," said German. "I'm just super proud of the way I handled myself on the course for not just stroke play, but for match play as well. I think I did a really good job of staying in it every hole and handling my negative self talk this week. I did a lot better with pumping myself up when I needed to, hitting the right shots when I needed to, and staying in position as much as possible. It's just really special to get it done and be a Met Am champion."

German's journey to the Met Amateur began during qualifying, in which 847 hopefuls participated in seven qualifying rounds throughout the Met Area. From there, he was one of 75 competitors to advance to on-site stroke play qualifying on Thursday, and then one of 16 who advanced to match play. German defeated Stephen Nicholas in the Round of 16, then met 2022 Ike champion Luke Sample, where the two needed extra holes to decide their match. On Saturday, he defeated Inwood's Will Knauth before meeting

Cavaliere, the 2016 Met Junior champion, a three-time Westchester Amateur champion and the 2018 Met Amateur runner-up Cavaliere. Cavaliere had a strong match play performance at Friar's Head, first defeating New York State Open champion Peicheng Chen of Rock Hill, then taking down Will Lodge of the Country Club of Darien on Friday. In the semifinal round he defeated Spring Brook's Will O'Neil 4 and 3 to earn his spot in the final.

Cavaliere has had a strong season thus far, competing in the U.S. Open and finishing as runner-up in the Ike. German, a Texas native, is coming off a solid sophomore campaign in which he logged a pair of top-10 finishes and earned first team All Western Athletic Conference honors.

This is the fourth MGA championship hosted by the spectacular Coore & Crenshaw layout that sprawls across 350 acres of old farmlands and towering dunes along the Long Island Sound. It first hosted the Met Amateur in 2008, with Tommy McDonagh capturing the title, while Cameron Young won the Ike in 2015 and Chris DeJohn was victorious in the 2021 MGA Mid-Am at the course.

"Not only is it an incredible honor to win the Met Am itself, to do it at a place like Friar's Head, you can't beat it," the champion said. "There's nothing like it in the world and it's by far the best golf course I've ever played in my life. It's something that I'll cherish forever. I barely snuck through my qualifier and here I am now with the trophy, it's just an unbelievable feeling."

The 122nd Met Amateur heads to New Jersey in 2023 and will be played at Somerset Hills Country Club in Bernardsville, N.J.

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The competition is open to male Amateur members of MGA Member Clubs who have a current USGA Handicap Index of 5.0 or less and to those exempted by the MGA Committee. All entrants are subject to the MGA Rules and Regulations. Format of play: 18 hole sectional qualifying round. Qualifiers play 36 hole on-site qualifying round, determining 16 players for match play.

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