Georgetown Prep golfer Denny McCarthy falls in U.S. Amateur semifinals
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Denny McCarthy, a rising senior at Georgetown Prep, lost in a sudden-death playoff in the semifinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship on Friday at Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, Mich.
McCarthy, a three-time All-Met and The Post's Player of the Year this past spring, had been on a spectacular run this summer, racking up tournament victories and establishing himself as one of the region's top juniors.
Last month, McCarthy won the Maryland Junior Amateur. He followed that last week by becoming the youngest player by two years ever to win the Maryland Open and recently ascended to No. 1 in the world in Golfweek magazine's junior rankings.
For a while, it seemed like McCarthy's roll would continue into Saturday's U.S. Amateur final.
McCarthy won a quarterfinal match in a playoff on Friday morning, then led Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., for much of their semifinal in the afternoon.
Thomas pulled even when McCarthy made his lone bogey in regulation on the 464-yard, par-4 15th hole. Then Thomas bogeyed the par-3 16th hole as McCarthy went back in front, before Thomas birdied the par-5 17th to again tie the match. Both players birdied the 18th hole, forcing a playoff to decide the winner as well as the berth in the U.S. Amateur Championship next month that goes to each finalist.
On the first playoff hole, McCarthy's approach shot landed just over the green in heavy rough. He chipped up, but a seven-foot par attempt lipped out and Thomas's par was good for the victory.
"Obviously, it's a little disappointing," said McCarthy, who has committed to play at Virginia. "But there are a lot of positives to take from this. I'm pleased with the way I played all week."
McCarthy had advanced to the semifinals by winning a playoff over Canadian Richard Jung in another scintillating match in Friday morning's quarterfinals.
Both McCarthy and Jung shot 6-under par 66, with McCarthy squaring the match on the 16th hole after Jung made his only bogey. Both players then birdied the final two holes in regulation.
McCarthy nearly holed his 160-yard approach on the first playoff hole and a short putt for his third consecutive birdie won the match.
"I would have liked to have gone a little farther and I had the opportunity to," McCarthy said. "But it's an honor to be in that spot in the first place, so I can't complain too much."
McCarthy was one of three local players to fare well at the U.S. Junior Amateur. Three-time All-Met Ben Warnquist of DeMatha and Battlefield All-Met Andrew Lister each advanced to the round of 16 in match play.