Bob Black of Army Navy overcame a five-hole deficit and defeated George Andre of host International with a birdie on the 37th hole for the District Amateur golf championship yesterday.
Black, the tall, blond Virginia Open champion from Vienna, lost to Wayne DeFrancesco in last year's District final.
"I had to play hard," Black said. "Last year I paid my dues. I felt I was due this year. Every day in this tournament I played the afternoon matches better than I did in the morning."
On the decisive extra hole, Andre drove into the right rough and hit his second shot into a bunker, 40 yards short of par-5 hole. Black drove down the middle and reached the green with his second shot.
Andre knocked his sand shot over the green; Black putted to within three feet. Andre chipped up and missed the ensuing four-foot putt. Black sent his putt in for a birdie, to win the match.
"I need a beer," said Andre, who had eliminated toughies Larry Rentz, Mike Manders, medalist Tony DeLuca and Henri deLozier in his first attempt at this tournament.
"You cannot find a better competitor than George," Black said.
Black and Andre waged an epic struggle. Andre, the unflappable 41-year-old airline pilot, won the 18th hole with par for a two-under-par morning round and a five-hole advantage.
That sent the determined Black to the practice putting green and he came out smoking in the afternoon.
The 20-year-old University of Florida golfer greened the par-5 first hole (the match's 19th) in two and two-putted for a winning birdie to pull within four holes of Andre.
Black pumped his tee shot 280 yards on the following par-4, wedged to within 10 feet and holed the putt for his second straight birdie and another deficit reduction.
After halving the next three holes, Black rammed in a 20-foot birdie putt on the sixth and was only two down.
Black continued his charge with a 10-foot birdie on the par-3 No. 11 hole, and was one behind.
They halved the next four holes before Black squared the match with his fifth birdie of the afternoon on the 16th hole, a par-5. After half-topping his second shot, Black nailed his iron approach shot five feet past the hole and made the putt.
Andre double-bogeyed the diabolical par-3 No. 17 and fell behind for the first time, 1 down.
The 17th hole is an uphill, woodlined par-3 with a green shaped like an hourglass. Black pushed his tee shot into the woods, hit his second shot onto the green and made bogey. Andre pushed his tee shot into a trap to the right of the green. With little green to work with, Andre hit his sand shot just over the green. He chipped past the hole, missed a two-foot putt and took 5.
On the par-4 No. 18, Black struck his approach shot over the green, chipped back past the hole, missed the putt and took bogey. Andre hit his second shot 10 feet from the pin. When Black made bogey, he conceded Andre his 10-foot birdie putt, sending the match to sudden death.