Long, straight drives gave James Farrah the opportunity to score well in yesterday's final round of the Frank Emmet Schoolboy. But it was a little bit of luck that allowed him to win the 66th championship for high school golf team members at Montgomery Country Club in Laytonsville.
Farrah and Georgetown Prep teammate Kevin O'Connell caught leader JohnScott Rattan, who began the day with a five-stroke advantage over Farrah, at the 10th hole. They passed him at the 11th and shared the lead at the 15th green when Farrah holed a 20-yard chip. O'Connell made his first bogey of the day on the same hole, and the two-shot swing carried Farrah to his first local victory.
"I was looking to get the ball up there, have it check up and leave myself an uphill putt," said the senior, who shot a 1-under-par 71 to finish with a three-day total of 222, 6 over par. "But I caught it more than I wanted to, it didn't check up, but it hit the flag and rolled in."
O'Connell finished three shots behind at 225. Michael Bobys, a junior varsity golfer from Landon, shot a 71 and was the only player besides Farrah to break par in either the second or third round. He finished third at 227.
DeMatha's Matt Mondorff and Rattan finished at 229, but Mondorff birdied the first playoff hole to finish fourth.
The 6,697-yard course usually plays at par 73, but it was laid out as a par 72 for this tournament.
Two-round leader Rattan, the only public school player to survive the cut after the second day, parred the first three holes. But the Watkins Mill High senior began slicing his tee shots, lost confidence and was 11 over on the final 15 holes.
"I don't think it was the pressure of playing a final round with a lead," Rattan said. "I just played bad. I would hit fairway and green and then three-putt. The next hole I'd hit a fairway and miss a green. And then I'd miss the next fairway. You can't play like that and win."
Farrah and O'Connell erased five- and six-shot deficits, respectively. Through 14 holes, Farrah was 1 over; O'Connell was even.
"We were able to keep each other in check," Farrah said. "We said to each other before the match if we could do that, we'd have a shot."
On No. 16, O'Connell hit his second shot to within three feet of the hole and threatened to trim Farrah's lead to one. Farrah responded by making a 10-foot birdie putt that broke hard from right to left, effectively winning the tournament.
"Starting on number one, I just told myself to just stay focused," Farrah said. "I played each shot like it was the most important shot I'd hit all day. That allowed me to tune everything out. I hit my drives straight, gave myself a chance to score and finally did."
Notes: In USGA Junior Amateur regional qualifying at Congressional Country Club, Hunter Mahan, the top-ranked junior player in the country, shot a 3-over-par 145 over 36 holes. Sam Spikes and Chris Noll each shot 149 to qualify. Potomac's Ryan Tindall shot a 150 and is the region's first alternate for the Junior Amateur championship beginning July 27 in York, Pa.
1, Farrah 74-77-71 -- 222; 2, O'Connell 74-78-73 -- 225; 3, Bobys 79-77-71 -- 227; 4, Mondorff 76-77-76 -- 229; 5, Rattan 71-75-83 -- 229; 6 (tie), Ed Bowie 80-74-82 -- 236; Tyler Cralle 78-81-77 -- 236; 8, Ted Kimmel 79-77-78 -- 237; 9, Chris Oosterhuis 80-79-82 -- 241; 10, Jimmy Mackey 80-79-83 -- 242; 11, Brian Chappell 78-81-85 -- 244.
Note: Mondorff took fourth place by winning playoff.