Jon Hurst saved his best for last in the Frank Emmet Schoolboy tournament, defeating Craig Antonucci, 4 and 3, in the final of the age 16-18 division at Manor Country Club yesterday.
"I played real well and hit the ball right where I wanted to," said Hurst, 16, a rising senior at Potomac High School in Prince William County who won the first three holes and never was headed during the championship match. "It was the best I had played all week."
After Antonucci had three-putted the 15th hole from 50 feet, Hurst tapped in for par 5 to win the 53rd staging of the tournament. That quelled a comeback by Antonucci, who had just birdied two straight holes to cut Hurst's lead to three.
Continuing his consistent play in the tournament, Hurst had one birdie to Antonucci's three, two bogeys to Antonucci's seven bogeys and one double bogey. Hurst hit 12 of 15 greens in regulation and played the match at 1 over par.
"My short game was really working the whole week," said Hurst, who was medalist in Monday's qualifying before clearing four rounds of match play. "I got up and down from a lot of tough places."
Antonucci, who never had made it past the second round of a match play tournament before, started slowly today. He missed the green on No. 1 and bogeyed, lost a ball on No. 2 and double-bogeyed and missed the green on No. 3 for another bogey. Hurst parred the three holes and was 3 up.
"I don't know why, but the first three holes I wasn't taking it seriously," said Antonucci, who just graduated from Magruder High School and will attend Elon College. "Then I got three down and said, 'Oh, my gosh, I better do something.' "
Antonucci didn't win a hole until the par-5 ninth, when he reached the green in two and two-putted. "I thought I was going to make some sort of comeback then, but then Jon birdied No. 11," Antonucci said.
That par-3 hole was the key to the match. Both players reached the green, about 30 feet from the pin. Antonucci missed right, but Hurst ran in his putt and pumped his fist.
Hurst went 5 up by winning the 12th with a par, and seemed to have the match wrapped up at the 13th, a par 4, when he hit an 8-iron second shot to seven feet from the hole. But Antonucci rolled in a 40-footer for birdie and Hurst missed.
Antonucci sank a 10-footer for birdie on the 14th hole, but his putting magic ran out on the 15th as he missed a six-footer to save par. Hurst nearly birdied the hole after his third shot, out of the rough, bounced within 10 feet of the cup, but settled for a tap-in and his first tournament win in a 16-and-over division.
Northern Virginia Amateur: Mike Matthews of Woodlawn, Steve Coniglio of Army Navy and Fred Glumsic of Penderbrook shot par 70s to share the lead at Woodlawn. Defending champion Ken Newlin took 79 and just missed the cut in the three-day, 54-hole event.