By Mike Zacchio
PURCHASE — Just when it looked like his fortune was starting to turn, 20-year-old Colin McDade was given a gift that ultimately aided his win at the 94th annual Westchester Golf Association Amateur tournament.
McDade, a Rye Country Day graduate, was 3-up on John Moore of Pelham after the first 18 holes at Brae Burn Country Club on Wednesday. By the fifth hole of the second 18, Moore had tied it.
“I was a little bit worried,” McDade said. “I just kept thinking, ‘There’s a lot of golf to be played.’ ”
McDade won the next two holes, but by the 11th Moore had pulled within one hole of the University of Richmond sophomore. The two halved the next two holes before it happened.
Moore was given a one-hole penalty through no fault of his own.
Moore’s caddy had taken a cart up to the 13th green, a violation of rule 33-1/9.5 in the USGA handbook.
While Moore and McDade went on to halve the hole, the one-hole penalty had now put the 46-year-old two holes down with five to go.
McDade, unaware of the situation, continued playing his game.
“I was pretty shocked,” he said. “I didn’t know what was happening. … I guess it worked out in my favor though. I’ve never heard of that (rule) before.”
Both McDade and Moore halved the next two holes before Moore conceded the 16th after a couple of bad shots. McDade took the title, 3 and 2.
It is the first major title for McDade, who said he was not intimidated being one of the youngest golfers in the field.
“I was trying to win it,” he said. “I’ve played well in this tournament before, so I knew that I could play with everyone here.”
McDade, who had previously made the quarterfinals in each of the last two years, was the medalist during qualifying for this year’s tournament after shooting a 2-over 73 at Ardsley Country Club.
Several big names were missing, making this a slightly weaker field than that of year’s past.
Defending champion Mike Miller (Knollwood), who defeated McDade last year, withdrew from this year’s tournament due to a scheduling conflict with the U.S. Open qualifier at Century Country Club on Monday.
Max Buckley (Westchester), the 2008 champ and second qualifier in this year’s field, withdrew for the same reason. Fordham Prep phenom Cameron Young (Sleepy Hollow), who won the event two years ago as an eighth-grader, missed the event due to final exams.
Jim Graham (Winged Foot) edged Peter Rymer of Minisceongo in the senior division, 1-up, while Frank Ciulla (Wykagyl) defeated Hugh Shevlin of Scarsdale handily in the super senior division, 6 and 5.